Loftus Hall on 'Ghost Adventures' TV show
Loftus Hall is to become the spooky centrepiece of a major American Hallowe'en TV special which will be viewed by millions of people around the world.
Owner Aidan Quigley told how filming by two separate camera crews comprising 25 people began on Tuesday last week and continued 'round the clock' until Thursday night.
Mr Quigley said the international TV exposure will provide a great boost to tourism in the area, which he believes will witness a 'tourism explosion' in years to come.
The owner of the imposing mansion along the Hook peninsula rejected several film companies' attempts to use the house as a film location previously, despite large sums of money being offered.
When the makers of American television show 'The Ghost Adventures' from the American Travel Channel contacted him earlier this year, he agreed on the strict condition that he could use some of the content of the show on site and all rights and brands would remain with the owner.
'We waived any fees from the start because we wanted to be part of what they were doing and to have use of the footage. When I asked them why they were coming to Ireland they said this is where Hallowe'en started.'
An initial scepticism about paranormal investigations on site gave way to a commercial realisation of the potential growth of the business due to media and the Hallowe'en special exposure.
He allowed the crew upstairs, to which no one has been given access before.
Mr Quigley said over 100,000 people visit Loftus Hall each year and almost half of these take the tour.
Last Wednesday, 20 visitors got to take a tour which will feature in the TV special.
The hall – which was built by the Marquis of Ely in 1870 on the ruins of Redmond Hall, which was in existence since 1350 and was purchased by the Loftus family in the 1600s – is reputed to be haunted.
During the 18th century, Charles Tottenham came to live in Loftus Hall and this is how the legend of Loftus Hall came to originate. According to legend a stranger who was looking for accommodation on a stormy night was invited in by the Tottenhams to play cards. During the card game a lady bent over to retrieve a fallen card and was shocked to discover a cloven foot. It is said that the stranger then vanished through the ceiling in a puff of smoke.
The show's paranormal investigators are said to have discovered a high level of activity on site with producer and host Zak Bagans saying it is the best location the show has visited.
'They said they have never had a location like this in the world,' Mr Quigley said. He hopes the area will attract many more tourists next year on the back of the show, saying tourist numbers are down 20 per cent on last year when The Gathering provided a great boost to the area.
'We have the lighthouse, Duncannon Fort, Tintern Abbey and more, all within a small area. People don't realise what we have hidden in this corner of the country. I think there will be a tourism explosion here.'
He said everyone wants him to start doing overnight stays at the house and this is being considered.
'It's tricky on health and safety grounds. Also we don't want to get distracted from the core product and get away from the history of the house which we are studying and trying to incorporate into the narrative we have here.'