The Elemental

 The Elemental is one of the most interesting spirits that reside at Leap Castle.  It is an entity that is shrouded in mystery and intrigue.  The first encounter, origin and exact nature of the Elemental are unknown but there are many theories that have circulated over the years. 

As mentioned the time of its appearance is not certain but there have been vague mentions of a troublesome spirit at Leap Castle since very early times.

 One early belief is that the Elemental was put there by druids long before the castle was built to protect the sacred site used for initiations and druidic magick. 

 Another theory is that the Elemental was placed there by an invading force to burn the castle from the inside.  The person responsible is thought to be Gerald Fitzgerald Earl of Kildare.  He was a renowned magick practitioner and had attempted to take over the castle on several occasions.

 Local myths say that the Elemental is the spirit of an ancient O’Carroll who died in the castle from Leprosy.  This is said to be the reasoning for the decomposing facial features and appalling stench that accompanies the presence of the spirit.

 Mildred Darby was said to have dabbled in the occult.  Her activities focused on séances and automatic writing.  Some think that it was her dabbling that either awoke or summoned the Elemental.  It was around this time that the horrific discovery in the Oubliette; three cartloads of bones, approximately 150 bodies.  The huge release of emotional energy linked to the spirits in the Oubliette upon their discovery may have been enough to wake up the dormant spirit.  It was shortly after this that Mildred Darby would have her terrifying encounter with the Elemental.

 Whatever this entity is, it only seems to make its presence known when people begin to provoke it.  The current owners, the Ryans have lived at Leap since 1991 and have never felt its sinister presence.  Mildred Darby was (unknowingly) provoking the Elemental by her occult dabbling.  Other individuals on the brunt of the Elementals fury have also been looking for it and have attempted to study the entity. 

 There are few personal accounts of an encounter with the Elemental so an accurate description is quite hard to formulate.  It may even appear different depending on how gifted an individual is at ‘seeing’ spirits. 

The best descriptions we have are those given by Mildred Darby and an associate staying at Leap.  This is the description as written in The Occult Review article –

Kilman Castle, The House of Horror.

Suddenly, two hands were laid on my shoulders. I turned round sharply and saw, as clearly as Isee you now-a grey ‘Thing’, standing a couple of feet from me, with it’s bent arms raised as if it were cursing me. I cannot describe in words how utterly aweful the ‘Thing’ was, it’s very undefinableness rendering the horrible shadow more gruesome. Human in shape, a little shorter than I am, I could just make out the shape of big black holes like great eyes and sharp features, but the whole figure-head, face, hands and all-was grey-unclean, blueish grey, something of the colour and appearance of common cotton wool. But, oh! so sinister, repulsive and devilish. My friends who are clever about occult things say it is what they call an “Elemental”.

The thing was about the size of a sheep, thin, gaunt and shadowy in parts. It’s face was human, or to be more accurate, inhuman, in it’s vileness, with large holes of blackness for eyes, loose slobbery lips, and a thick saliva-dripping jaw, sloping back suddenly into its neck! Nose it had none, only spreading, cancerous cavities, the whole face being a uniform tint of grey. This too, was the colour of the dark coarse hair covering its head, neck and body. It’s forearms were thickly coated with the same hair, so were its paws, large, loose and hand-shaped; and it sat on it’s hind legs, one hand or paw was raised, and a claw-like finger was extended ready to scratch the paint.  It’s lustreless eyes, which seemed half decomposed, and looked incredibly foul, stared into mine, and the horrible smell which had before offended my nostrils, only a hundred times intensified, came up to my face, filling me with a deadly nausea. I noticed the lower half of the creature was indefinite and seemed semi-transparent-at least, I could see the framework of the door that led into the gallery through its body.

A letter in response to ‘Kilman Castle’ article also relates a personal encounter whilst staying at the castle. 

I saw your eyes fixed upon something above our heads, and the next minute my own eyes were filled by the sight of a Thing in the gallery looking down at us.  There was plenty of light from the lamps in the hall and the one above on the wall at the corner of the gallery, for every one of us to see quite plainly the grey-coloured figure about the height of a small grown-up person looking down at us.  I wish I thought I could ever forget the sight of that grey figure with dark spots like holes in its head instead of eyes, standing with grey arms folded on the gallery railing looking down at us……………………Then just as he put foot on the gallery, the Thing that he saw there, that we were watching, suddenly faded out of sight.  The Thing did not move, only became less and less visible until it vanished.   

The above account is a good cross reference to the letter Mildred Darby sent to Sydney Carroll.

The last appearance of the Elemental were on Nov 25th 1915 and I deduct again last November from the gait of my husband really wild with rage? fright? coming into my room at Midnight to let fly at me for “again dressing up things to try and frighten me.”  On the 25th Nov 1915 two of our servants knowing the “master” would be late and that I was driving that afternoon had invited “friends” two soldiers from the Barracks at Birr distant the other side 6 miles.  They came rather late and my husband came home early so the visitors had to be kept out of his sight in the lower regions of one of the wings (the Priests House) and were unable to be shown the centre tower – the very lofty hall.  At 7.15 my husband and I went up to dress for dinner, my room in extremity of house from kitchens, his dressing room next door to me.  Whilst dressing I was startled by a loud yell of terror stricken male and female voices coming apparently from the hall – and ran out to see the cause.  My husband was out ahead of me at his heels I passed through corridor of wing and onto the gallery wing rounds two sides of hall. Two lamps on gallery two more in hall below.  On the gallery leaning with “hands” resting on its rail I saw the Thing – the Elemental and smelt it only too well.  At the same moment my husband pulled up sharply about 10 feet from the Thing, and half turning let fly a volley of abuse at me ending up “Dressing up a thing like that to try and make a fool of me.  And now you’ll say I’ve seen something and I have not seen anything and there is nothing to see, or ever was.  This last speech without a pause, begun waving one hand at the Thing end up by stalking back to his dressing room still abusing me for trying to give him a fright.  As he was speaking the Elemental grew fainter and fainter in its outlines until it disappeared.  By the sounds from my husband’s room I judged he was employed as I was myself in preparing an empty spot for our coming dinner.  He never made any enquiry as to the yell that called us both out, and from that day to this has not mentioned the incident to me.  I heard from our servants that when we went to dress for dinner they had brought their friends just to show them the hall, when all four has suddenly seen and smelt the Elemental looking down at them from the gallery.  We all got such a turn, we couldn’t help letting out a bawl then fled to servants quarters where all 4 were very sick.  The two maids had letters necessity their going home next day – and they did not return.

 The account below describes an encounter with the Elemental.  The individual has the unfortunate experience to have been attacked during their investigation.

18th June 2002

I travelled to Leap Castle in order to make a show for a local TV network and this was my first time in the notorious castle I had heard so much about.  So the show went well but I wanted to try the UV on the camcorder whilst still shooting.  I had sensed something down the old access to the battlements earlier and never went down.  I climbed the stairs with the camcorder in front, the light from the UV allowed me to see about 6 ft ahead and no more so I climbed slowly.  I opened the gothic style door and made my way slowly down the narrow passage, about 10ft in I thought I saw something move and I lifted my head, I could feel something was wrong but I had no idea what. This time with the camera dropped I thought I saw a glow come from around the corner and then it went back in.  I stood and studied this for a while and thought it may be a side effect of the UV which can be common, a few steps more and my body was weakening fast, it was a strange sensation.  Suddenly this mass of white like mist raced around the corner like a bull, even the rubbish on the floor scattered as it approached at speed.  The passage was tight and I turned to my left to try and get out but it was too late, I felt the pain as if something had just pierced under my right rib cage and went all the way through to the back.  This startled me a little and we proceeded to arrange shooting in the cellars.  The audio refused to tape again in the cellars and I felt really odd, I was sweating heavily and was becoming very weak and drowned in dread.  Right after the incident in the tunnel it felt as if a hole in my chest had been punctured on a spiritual level and my life was seeping into the stones.  In order to describe it and let the reader understand they would have had to experience a large blood loss sometime in their lives.  As they felt the blood drain this weakness would become prominent, other words they were experiencing the onset of death……I was dying.

 Another  first person account of an encounter with the Elemental:

Burnt out during the 1920s, Leap’s looks lived up to its reputation.  Narrow Gothic windows, ivy covered towers, bats and a barn owl; it was like a set from a Vincent Price movie.  We crept in through the gaping doorway.  Our flashlights revealed a huge hole in the stone floored front hall and we gingerly made our way around the edge, heading for the spiral staircase. No ghost would make us nervous – we were the Dublin Ghost Busters! Despite our confidence, we found ourselves talking in whispers.  A slight sound behind me and I spun like a ballerina to see the cause.  But as I spun around, I slipped and then dropped through the hole in the floor.  The flashlight hit a rock and went out. Just above me, just out of reach, I could see the jagged outline of the floor. I could hear friends coming to help me. And then, in the darkness, I could hear a sniffling snorkly sort of noise. There was a smell, too.  A horrid, rotten smell.  I am not athletic, but that night, terror put rockets into my heels. I shot upwards. Scrabbling madly I made the doorway and did not stop running till I was safely in the car.

Personal encounter with the Elemental  18th June 2006

I looked into the darkness of a corridor that exited the spiral stairway.  I became aware of the smell of sulphur.  It was as if boxes and boxes of matches had suddenly been lit at once.  I looked at my friend who had taken me to visit Leap Castle.  He could also smell the sulphur.  I stared into the darkness of the corridor and had the impression that a beast like a bear or lion was staring back at me .  The tension was rising like a ticking timebomb.  My friend then closed the door and said “To let sleeping dogs lie.”  Meaning sometimes you just have to leave things alone.  He was a friend of Sean Ryan and I certainly did not want to disrespect either of them by stirring up the Elemental.

The Elemental has the potential to cause great harm to anyone receiving the brunt of an attack.  One belief is that that the Elemental has the ability to alter the atmospheric pressure, generally lowering it.  The polarity of atmospheric ions fluctuates and triggers a condition known as serotonin hyperfunction syndrome.  This can cause symptoms such as heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, sweating/chills, tremor, dizziness and fatigue.  It has also been seen that skin and hair will have an electrical charge.  This theory has been generated over the last 10 years and it is interesting to note similarities between these symptoms to those described by Mildred Darby in the early 1900’s.

I felt every hair on my head separate and move.

For my flesh all over my body and scalp crept, and every hair on my head stood straight on end.

..the absolute weakness that came over me, the seeming cessation of the pulses of life, the grip in heart and brain, the deadly numbness which rendered me incapable of thought, word or action, when I first saw that awful beast.

76 Responses to “The Elemental”

  • Great post and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to get some professional writers? Thanks 🙂 Michael

  • leapcast:

    Thanks for the kind words Michael.
    Yes I can put you in contact with a great writer if you like.

  • Luke:

    Hi I was wondering if people are still allowed to visit the castle? There is some fantastic information on this site!!

  • leapcast:

    Yes you can certainly can visit Leap Castle and I certainly recommend that you do.
    I’m glad you like the site!

  • Xalle:

    I was just wondering what the sigils were that you have on the Home Page and what they represent? If it’s ok to ask! 🙂

  • leapcast:

    The sigils are important guardian energies to assist the castle and the spirits.

  • Paula:

    Hi, I’m quite interested in visiting the castle and have been for quite some time now. You say you are allowed to, can you tell me how to go about this? Many thanks 🙂

  • Emma:

    do you need to arrange to visit the old buildngs and very much into the paranormal.Live in donegal so would be a nice day trip

  • […] You can find more information on Leap Castle and their Elemental here […]

  • Suzie Ashby:

    I am still a tad confused about elementals. I guess I need to be able to picture something in my mind before I can begin to fathom just exactly what it is. Would an elemental be considered evil, or just a bad tempered aspect of nature? Would they be considered demonic? I am very intrigued due to Karl’s Pig-Man. See, pigs/boars were not a natural part of northern Colorado’s native animal species. We did have whistle pigs, but those are just marmots which look nothing like an actual pig. I am truly confused and seeking answers, but only when you have time, if you get time. I want to understand these things. Thank you very much for your time. S.A.

  • leapcast:

    Elementals are a wide and vastly differing group of entities.
    As a basic principle they are formed of an Element be it Fire, Water etc; hence the root of their name.
    They are generally Neutral in regards to humans and human interaction, only lashing out when someone has stepped over a boundary.

    Some theories believe the Leap Castle Elemental is a Fire Elemental. This is linked to the sulphur smell and the 1922 burning of Leap.

    Personally I think this is not the case. My two current theories are as follows:

    1). The Leap Castle Elemental is more of a guardian of the site and does all can to protect it. This is why it only attacks when it is provoked or the castle put at risk. There is some proof that links the druids to the Elemental’s creation or calling. Before the castle was built it was the site of a druid initiation site.

    2). The Elemental was created from the concentrated suffering and death that occurred in and around the castle. Death can be considered an Element of sorts and perhaps it was this that served as an energetic source needed for the creation of the entity.

  • Shannon:

    Hi! I’m very interested in visiting the castle. Do you know if there are certain hours for visiting?

  • yes and I wont to go there and met whit the elemental.I now it sound crazy but i wont to met whit spirits.And I wont to be part of TAPS one they.

  • Suzie Ashby:


    Thank you so much for your input on the Pigman, and the general information that is helping me so much with other projects. If you ever get to facebook, look me up. I would love to stay in touch with you. Much Light and Many Blessings, Suzie Q.

  • lee:

    hi guys i would love to be able visit this wonderful castle i experience haunting in my Owen place my self to i am very interested in this field i bought a k 2 meter it picks up energy it lights up when or if there is something tin front of it i would love for people to meet up sometime swap and share stories and experiences to or if they have equipment we could arrange are Owen investigations.

  • Sean Brown:

    How can I make arrangements to visit the castel? Is it possible to book an overnight stay?
    Please let me know when you can. Thank you.

  • shaun chambers:

    this sounds very interesting. how do i come and visit the castle.

  • […] geográfico repetidas vezes. Alguns relatos sobre a presença do ELEMENTAL foram descritos no WEBSITE OFICIAL do […]

  • Todd Cole:

    Is there a price to enter the castle?

  • O'C:

    Im from New Zealand and am decended from the O’Carrolls of Leap. Ive heard the past tales of my family and would love to one day visit Castle Leap!

  • barbara:

    hi, we go in ireland in march and we want to visit your castle the 16th, what we can made? is necessary reserve the visit
    i wait for your answer
    thank you for your attention

  • john corrigan:

    hi sean just wondering about visiting the castle sometime in jan or feb wit 3 friends were all from birr were lookin to do this for charity and the restroation of the castle and we were thinkin whatever we raise we could give half to charity and half to the restroation of the castle we would really love to do this and it would be a very interesting experience for us all so if you could let us know wat you think that would be great thanks sean

  • elina:

    hi im very interested in the leap castle and would like to see it. Is there a price to pay when u go see it and is it during the day or can u stay over nite. I would like if u could write me back and let me know when and how i could go see it

  • Charlene Casey:

    Leapcast you have a very valid point as to how the Elemental was creatated if you have anymore information reguarding this subject you can email the information to

    Thanks Charlene Casey

  • James Joseph Mcdonough:

    I am a bit confused. You see I knew from an old book I had that the Elemental called It was in Ireland,
    but the first time I saw it was on a travel channel or such station show years ago about castles in Scotland.
    Could you please explain the difference.

  • leapcast:


    The Elemental at Leap Castle is known as ‘It’.
    This term was used often by Mildred Darby and suggests that they did not know exactly was the Elemental was.
    Many castles throughout the world have Elementals inhabiting them; Scotland would be no exception.

  • James Joseph McDonough:

    Thank you for your answer, Leapcast, I appreciate it. Sorry I didn’t respond earlier. I had practically totally forgotten I put an inquiry here.

  • Margaret Carroll Shannon:

    Hi Sean, I am now Margaret Shannon but was Margaret Carroll before marriage. I have 7 sisters and brothers and I so want to visit the 0’Carroll Castle. My father was Robert Carroll, he died young and lived a very tragic life. My Carroll family is so excited for me to go to Ireland and visiting the o’Carroll castle would be a dream come true that we could all experience through me. I long to hear the history and experience the castle.

    I will be in Ireland for the first time with the Shannon side of the family. There are 4 of us that want to visit in May of 2012. I will be there from May 20 – 26. I hope someone can make some time for us and let me know of the fees involved. I just feel that I need to see the castle I am a little afraid of a connection for me but feel drawn and hope you will contact me with some good news.

    Looking forward to hearing from someone.

  • Dear Mr. Ryan,
    My boyfriend Steve and I are planning a trip to Ireland for mid-October 2012. If possible, we would very much like to tour the castle. Feel free to contact me at the email address listed above or relay how we might get in contact with you.

    Best, Carol & Steve

  • Damien:

    when i was 17 i used to live in crinkle birr which is a three hour walk to leap castle, I never entered the castle, nor did my friends we were more interested in the apples in the nearby orchards and catching the odd rabbit. But personally i dont think its haunted, but the place has a strange energy, we camped out there on many a hot summers night. Once we even offered it some rabbit, and as nothing happend we kinda figured it didnt want some lol.

  • Sydney L:

    I cannot find much else about the Elemental on any other sites. But I would like to find out more about it.

  • Kyle Germann:

    To whomever runs this website, would it be okay if I borrowed the witness accounts for my blog? I’m writing up on the Elemental, and I can’t find these accounts anywhere else. Please email me or let me know.


  • Colm H:

    Hello Sean firstly i didnt know that you can visit the castle as i thought it was now your private dwelling its good to hear you can as it is a place of intrest and vast amount of history connected to the Castle ive passed by a few times but was too shy too ask to look around as i didnt want to disturb anyone or be intrusive in any way. intresting Post many thanks

  • leapcast:

    You are more than welcome to use some of the accounts for your blog, please just reference the website!
    I would love to read about your research on the Elemental. It is one of the most fascinating aspects of Leap and a large part of my interest in the castle.

  • Molly:


    I wonder if it would be possible to pay Leap Castle a visit at some point, and if so, how do I go about arranging this, please ?

    Kind Regards!

  • Damaris:

    Dear Mr Ryan,

    I have heard of your castle many times and yet did not realise how close it is to our family’s holiday home in Portumna. We shall be there this weekend and I would very much like to visit Leap Castle, however I appreciate that it is perhaps rather short notice at this stage. I would be most grateful if you could advise when you are in a position to welcome visitors during the year.

    I love your website; it has caused some spine tingling moments this evening!



  • Libby Phillips:


    I have always been fascinated by the paranormal I was wondering if you can send me everything you know about Leap Castle, I would like to go there someday when I’m older. And I have a question: Is it possible for the Elemental to travel to different places, you said that elementals are common in castles, but is it possible that the elemental hasn’t been seen as often is because it was at a different castle? It sounds far-fetched but it’s just a theory.


  • Alice Mulligan:

    Will be visiting Leap Castle on August 14. Thank you for your response and very much looking forward to meeting you, Sean.

  • Amy Lamphere:

    Hello I would love to visit the castle, will be in Ireland this august 2014 any chance of a tour…. I have been wanting to visit leap for years thank you

  • bridget r:

    Myself and my friend went to leap castle 8 June we both mediums and met the owner Sean Ryan which I will say is a very nice man and he left us go around most of the castle and we took lots of Foto and they were fab there is no evil spirits although I got a kick in the leg going down a stairs it is fab place well worth a visit

  • Lee:

    Hi do you go about visiting leap castle to investigate

  • Hello Sean Ryan –

    Myself and three others will be passing through on our way from Dublin to Kilmihil, Co. Clare and I was wondering if we might be able to have a tour in the early afternoon of Oct. 27th.

    I was thinking I’d keep it to myself and surprise them t first, … perhaps even give you a little information about them so you could scare them a little!

    If this is inconvenient or if you’re perhaps closed for the season, please just let me know.

    Best –

    Mick O’Gorman Koons

  • S.T. Darby:

    I have never been to the castle,nor do I ever care to go. but what I do know is that feeling of dying is the beast or as you call it the Elemental Feeding on your energy. You see we as humans are apart of the four elements one could almost say we are the fifth element{druid}.the sum of all four. It has been said that “IT” as we call the elemental has been their from the time of the druids and is tied to the druid site not to the castle itself. If the castle could be moved. It would stay with the land. That is why the castle was built there in the first place. A Castle with its own protector. And this is why there is so many deaths at the site and so many accidents when construction is done to the castle “It” thinks you are trying to destroy the site and in fact you are, by building the castle your destroying the druid site. this was not the original intent.The Klan’s that build the original tower were them self druid and of druid decent and every thing was fine. But then the purge of pagans and conformity to Christianity.This is the resin for the death of the young priest by his druid brother. Mildred Darby,infuriated it when she tried to vanquish it with witchcraft or wiccan magik. A stupid ideal.

  • what was the social status of the O’Carroll’s whaen they lived in this castle

  • Mary Y.:

    Hi Sean,
    You were kind enough to give me and a friend a tour of your home several years ago. We took many pics up in the chapel and when we left, we took nice little pics in front of the castle with the little Australian shepherd in front of the door. Very nice and unassuming pics. When I looked at the photos later, I noticed many orbs surrounding you in the chapel, many many orbs. The 2 pics in front of the castle showed a robed figure staring out of the window above the front door. I believe it was your bathroom and me and my friend had just been in there 10 minutes before. Have you or others also seen these orbs in the chapel and this figure staring out of that window? You were giving a tour to a few newcomers at that moment of the figure staring out, you were on the first floor and your family was not there that day.
    Thanks again for the tour, made my trip to Ireland even more special.

  • Deborah:

    Hi! I would really love to visit the castle. I am currently living in Galway, so I can go any weekend from now. I was wondering if I have to do an appoinment or if there are specific visit hours to go. Thank you!

  • David Carrell:

    I have traced my bloodline back to the O’Carrolls of Ireland and was wondering if anybody can give me some insight of the link between the O’Carrolls and certain hauntings of this castle. I would love to visit not only to learn more about my family history, but more about the supernatural properties of the castle.

  • Kim:

    How are yours of the castle set up? I’m a direct descendant of the O’bannons/Bannons, in the US, and would very much like to visit.

  • Sarah:

    When I was younger, studying faery lore was something of a hobby of mine, and it always struck me as interesting how thin the line could be between the world of the fae and the world of the dead. Many hills that were considered faery mounds were also burial mounds. The Banshee, which people mostly think of as a kind of ghost these days, was originally spelled Bean Sidhe, and meant “Faery woman”. In the old stories, they were considered beings to be feared as often as they were beings of wonder.

    So, what I’m curious about is: do you suppose the Elemental might be one of the more frightening kinds of faeries?

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