Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Murder of History: Kildare Castle to Be Destroyed

One of my most popular blog posts and chapters in my book, Haunted North Alabama, tells the tale of the Kildare Castle or McCormick House.  This beautiful, haunted, historic home has fought a long battle with its current owner.  The owner hates anyone looking at their home.   Now, they've decided to gut it as a kind of punishment to all who ever tried to look at this brilliant piece of history.  It is funny to me because in the below news story on WSFA the owners' were upset because people cussed at them and called them names driving by.  I drove by there one time with my children just to look at the house I did nothing harmful.  I just drove by with my children and looked at the house and took a couple of photographs.   I was squirted with the hose and cussed at by the owner.  The things they yelled in front of my children (6 and 8) made my ears bleed.  Maybe if they didn't curse at everyone that passed and throw things at them, people wouldn't treat them with the same disrespect.   Their odd behavior has lead directly to the number of people that drive by causing problems hoping to view this insane behavior.   Click the link below to see the full story.

Kildare Mansion to be gutted and the pieces sold - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

My Original Story on the House:

  The Kildare Mansion was first famous for it's ghosts.  It was built in 1886 by a wealthy Irishman named O'Shaughnessy.   He built the castle as a reminder of his homeland, Ireland.   He put a fortune into making it the most extravagant house in the area and he did a good job of it.  This giant of a house overshadows everything around it. It has over 40 rooms and is over 17,000 square feet including the massive basement.   In 1900, MR. O'Shaughnessy went blind and his wife Anna sold Kildare to the trust fund established for Mary McCormick who inherited a multi million dollar fortune from her father

Unfortunately, Mary McCormick was mentally ill and suffered greatly during certain periods.  At the time,  treatment options were limited so they kept her locked in the house and had several nurses and staff to take care of her.  During her lucid periods,  Mary a wonderful woman who was known for her kindness and generosity.   For her entire life, she needed nurses to help her care for her mental illness.  Finally she had to retire to a sanitarium,  leaving her beautiful house behind.

From 1932- 1975, the Kildare Mansion fell into disrepair.   It decayed slowly as slums and lesser buildings slowly surrounded it hiding it's beauty in their sullen shadows.  In 1975, the house was purchased by the Reeves, who lovingly restored the house to its original splendor  It was during this time that the house was shown in the tour of historic homes and became a popular visit for haunt jaunters.   The house's basement was notoriously haunted by the ghost of  Mary McCormick.   Still tormented by her madness, she apparently made quite a ruckus at night.

In 2005 the house was bought by a family whose name I won't mention.  Since that time, the ghosts have become the least interesting part of this house.   The house has always been a favorite site for anyone visiting Huntsville because of its historic significance, its beauty, and its haunted history.  Many people drive by the house and photograph it.   Since 2005, however, the new owners have spent a considerable amount of time watching out for anyone lingering near the house.  If you drive by slowly or stop in front of the house,  a woman will emerge screaming at you.  Sometimes she'll curse and sometimes she'll use the garden hose to spray your car.  Other times she'll shine a spotlight on you and others she'll take pictures of you with her cell phone.  No matter what the new owner does, it is always hostile and she seems to always be watching.  She sits day and night waiting for those that linger to long, which might make one wonder if  Mary McCormick's mental illness might not be spreading?   Perhaps the house and its dark secrets have driven the new owner mad?  Perhaps madness is part of the curse of the house?

No matter what the case. Sadly,  the reason most drive by these days is to see the new owner run out and start screaming.  Her wild antics have become a fun attraction for locals who stop by just to see her jump around and scream  Few remember the ghost stories or the house's beautiful history.

2 comments:

Gatekeeper said...

Wow the owners sounds like an old neighbour of mine.

SassyMe said...

You know, it wouldn't surprise me if the owners were just a bit off their rocker. I mean clearly they are, LOL, but you have to wonder if it is because of what is still in that gorgeous old house. Truly beautiful. But if what is there died in madness, I believe it can spread that madness on if who is living there is susceptible to it and doesn't understand what is happening to them.