Skip to main content

Dover Castle—One of England's Most Haunted Castles

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
That is the majestic Dover Castle based in southern England in Kent county.

That is the majestic Dover Castle based in southern England in Kent county.

Dover Castle

England is a country filled with many interesting castles. They are all known for their rich and captivating history, but some of them are also known as hot spots for the unknown world of the paranormal.

This time, we will head to south England, home to one of the most haunted castles in the whole of England—Kent's famous Dover Castle. Built in medieval times by none other than Henry II back in the 1180s, it has a lot of stories to tell. Here are some of the legends and tales surrounding this haunted castle.

The Tragic Fate of the Headless Drummer Boy

One of the most common tales surrounding Dover Castle is one about the so-called headless drummer boy. He seems to have been haunting the castle for more than 200 years. But why is he called the headless drummer boy? The story goes back to Napoleonic times when an Irish boy named Sean O'Flynn was brutally murdered.

In the TV program Most Haunted Live, which was broadcast from Dover Castle during Christmas time back in 2002, medium Derek Acorah came to the conclusion that the drummer boy was attacked and murdered by men from his regiment in the passages based beneath the castle. The reason for the murder itself? O'Flynn seems to have been on a mission carrying a lot of money with him, money that unfortunately cost him his life.

The reason he's called headless drummer boy is that when his body was found after the murder back in 1802, his head was gone. Weirdly enough, the boy's head has never been found.

That seems to be the main reason why people nowadays sometimes see a young headless boy appearing in the castle, more precisely in the battlements section. But why the boy has been seen and heard banging on a drum is still unclear.

Who knows how many ghosts roam around these walls?

Who knows how many ghosts roam around these walls?

The Underground Tunnels of the Castle

The section of the castle stationed underground played a key role during World War II. But the tunnels were built and used as a shelter for the troops over a hundred years earlier during the Napoleonic Wars. And there was a relevant reason for that. Being so close to France, Dover Castle was one of the most "exposed" targets for Napoleon and his notorious army.

But since Napoleon never invaded Dover, the tunnels remained abandoned for many years. They were, however, reused in 1938 and started to be used as an air raid shelter. Later, it would become a military command center, one that the famous Winston Churchill often visited during the war.

Played the Key Part During the Escape From Dunkirk

The massive tunnels underneath the castle played a huge part in the rescue mission from Dunkirk during World War II. The British forces found themself in a trap in Dunkirk by the Germans. They needed to defend themselves in a small area and were facing an uninterrupted attack.

Thanks to the escape over the sea to the tunnels, as many as 338,000 soldiers were rescued. But having played such an important part in one of the biggest and most terrifying events of World War II, many ghosts seem to have become attached to these large tunnels, where they have continued to roam long after their passing.

There have been several reports of people seeing ghosts of those that used the place during World War II. When an American couple was paying a visit to the tunnels, they heard screams and cries. They initially thought it was just a scary effect included in the tour to make it more atmospheric, but when the couple told the personnel about the screams and cries, they were told that nothing was arranged or was part of the tour itself.

Other Paranormal Experiences in the Castle

At nighttime, some people have reported hearing voices in the castle. The doors also seem to have lives of their own, as they can be seen opening and closing without any living person doing so. Paranormal temperature drops also occur in this castle.

Finally, there have been reports of a ghost that tends to look out from the window located in the castle's keep. Medium Derek Acorah thinks that it's the ghost of Anne of Cleves—one of King Henry VIII's wives. To this day, she seems to visit the keep wearing a red dress.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Jan Stepan