A GHOSTLY image of a girl and an old woman at Loftus Hall has gone viral on the Internet.
Loftus Hall is planning to extend its Hallowe'en season arising from the exposure it received online this week from a reported sighting of a ghost at the haunted house.
A young English man holidaying in Ireland posted a photograph of what appears to be the ghost of a young girl almost touching a window pane from inside the house as a tour group passes by.
Thomas Beavis, 21, said he made the chilling discovery while flicking through photos on his camera with his friends after visiting the ancient hall, where the devil is supposed to have appeared.
Mr Beavis said he was shocked to discover the figure that looks like a young girl as well as the head of an older woman in a window.
'We were all feeling a little edgy from the tour but when I showed the photo to my friends we freaked,' he said
'I zoomed in on all the windows to find this girl in the window. I had to take some time before I showed it to everyone just because I didn't really understand what I was looking at.'
Legend has it that the Tottenham family moved to the home around 1766 and a short time after the youngest child in the family, Anne, fell ill allegedly after an encounter with a demonic spirit.
The family then locked the child away in one of the mansion's many rooms until she died, according to the legend.
Mr Beavis said he initially thought the figures were a reflection of women standing outside the window but dismissed the idea after closer inspection.
'The girl could be the spirit of Anne Tottenham still walking around Loftus Hall. It could have been some strange occurrence because of a supernatural power, but I don't know," he said.
'Normally I am a guy that believes in what he sees, but with this, I still don't understand what's going on in that photo.'
Loftus Hall owner Aidan Quigley said he can't believe the response the story is getting internationally.
Mr Quigley said staff at Loftus Hall are often contacted by visitors who claim they saw a ghostly image at that corner of the building.
'We can see the online bookings coming in already. We do a lot of work with special effects but this wasn't one of them. There is no way I'm going to say it's the Tottenham's niece and it's absolutely of no benefit to me to say it was photo-shopped but this could really take Loftus Hall on to the next level as it has major international flavour to it and it has gone viral.'
Mr Quigley said the photo and story was shared 9,000 times in the space of a few hours of being released on Thursday and the exposure could make Loftus Hall the most visited haunted house in Ireland and further afield.
He now plans to open a Hallowe'en tour three weeks before spooky the festival night next year to accommodate all the visitors.
'Everything is happening at the right time coming into the Hallowe'en season. We're going to have to start developing our Hallowe'en offering earlier because as soon as summer's finished it's straight into Hallowe'en these days.'
New Ross Standard