From Chillingham Castle’s website: “Visit Britain’s Most Haunted Historic Castle.” One of the first links offers more information about ghosts haunting their grounds.
When excavating a wall in the 1920s, workers found the remains of a boy with his fingers worn down. Remember Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado?
Additionally, one of the last remaining herds of wild cattle inhabits the grounds around the castle. They have roamed free without human interference for over 800 years.
Instead of domesticating the cattle, the residents let them roam free, where they became a large game animal for hunting. In addition, because of the lack of selective breeding, the bulls weigh much less than their domesticated counterparts.
Something I find hard to picture—cows’ udders are small because they produce milk for one calf at a time.
There are only 130 cattle on the property, and extensive inbreeding over the years has led to limited genetic diversity. Yet, despite the entire population being effectively genetic clones, there aren’t any harmful mutations.
Turning this into a horror story—what if a group of friends all book a week-long stay at Chillingham Castle?
On the first day, they explore the grounds and the castle. Because they don’t respect the wild cattle, one group member gets gored through the arm by a bull he was messing with. He doesn’t want the week to end prematurely, so he wraps the arm and insists he’s okay.
After dinner, the shaken visitors encounter the castle’s caretaker, who tells them about the ghosts. In particular, he relays how the ghosts and cattle look out for each other.
The following day, they discover the man who antagonized the bull is murdered. They try calling the cops and realize the phones have been disconnected. When they try to leave, they find that the car doesn’t start.
The group begins experiencing numerous strange events that lead them to believe in the ghosts, despite the scientist insisting there’s no such thing. Doors open and close, cold spots appear, and paintings fall from the walls.
That night, the boy’s ghost encased in the wall chases a couple from the castle, where the herd of cattle waits and trample them to death.
The remaining guests are frantic in their escape attempts, but the other ghosts on the property attack them, killing most guests. Finally, the last two remaining guests are chased from the castle by a rogue ghost, encountering a solitary cow outside the castle walls. They run from the cow, letting it inside, where the ghost takes up residence in the animal’s body.
They realize their only hope of escape is getting all of the ghosts into the cattle. So, they open the gates and allow the animals into the castle, and the ghosts present all merge with their beastly counterparts. The boy takes up residence in the largest bull when he can’t leave the castle to chase the last remaining guests. They double back and go back in the castle, driving out the cattle and leaving the castle ghost-free for the first time in centuries.