Ghost Hunters International: Kronborg Castle 1/5/11

In the season premier, Britt Griffith rejoined the “Ghost Hunters” franchise as the “Ghost Hunters International” team explored massive Kronborg Castle in Helsingor, Denmark. Kris Williams of TAPS fame also transferred to GHI.

Kronborg Castle not only housed generations of Danish royalty but was best known for its role in fiction, as the inspiration for William Shakespeaere’s “Hamlet”.

 Built in the 15th century by Fredrick II, Kronborg Castle was financed by strategic placement at the mouth of the Baltic Sea. The castle’s cannon enforced a toll on seafaring traffic. Like many royal matches Fredrick II was not allowed his first choice in brides. The Danish Council wanted the King to marry and decided 14 year-old Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow would be an appropriate choice. Despite the 23-year difference between him and his bride the marriage was reportedly an amicable union.

I didn’t hear from Fredrick during GHI’s investigation, but Sophie was frequently present.

 Shane Eno, founder of the Paranormal Institute of Denmark walked GHI through the hotspots in Kronborg Castle. Additional information was provided by Historian Bo Hamilton-Wittendorff. Shane told GHI the dungeons and the Grand Hall ballroom was frequently active. Bo added that Queen Sophie’s rooms also had a history of unexplained activity.

Both Shane and Bo talked about people feeling watched by unseen presences, had heard disembodied footsteps and seen odd shadows that flitted across walls. Shane took GHI down to an intensely active torture chamber in the dungeons of the castle. The empty room started as a wide corridor that gradually tapered off into a rounded corner barely large enough to contain a man. Shane said prisoners would be tortured by pushing them into further into the tightening walls each day. Eventually many subjected to this treatment went mad. I saw the ghosts of both individual prisoners and entire families, including children driven insane in that torture room.

Bo talked about how many former inhabitants of Kronborg Castle “…lived miserable lives,” where violence, rape and murder were common events.

GHI set up both thermal and full spectrum cameras in the dungeon. Since Shane’s team had often experienced power failure of their equipment in the dungeon Tech Manager Paul set up an experiment to see if GHI batteries would also be drained. He had a DVR filming the unattended experiment. A 360 degree camera was set up in the castle courtyard to try to capture an image of a commonly reported figure walking the walls of the castle. (I think that figure was a ghost of a solider who once served at Kronborg Castle.)

Team Leader Barry and Kris started the investigation in the second floor ballroom. Barry asked any spirits in the castle to come forward. Something seemed to comply as Kris saw movement in a corner of the ballroom. Then she heard a noise left of the entrance door and shortly thereafter saw a tall, fast-moving shadow move from the fireplace to a door along the back wall of the ballroom. She said it didn’t look like a human form.

I saw the fast-moving mass as a male human ghost. A closer psychic look at the mass showed a tall, agitated former Chancellor rushing from the ballroom headed to inform the monarch of some urgent news. A bit of post-episode research revealed that Fredrick II’s first choice in a bride had been his Chancellor’s daughter. Was that the topic that had the Chancellor moving so fast?

I had two glimpses of Queen Sophie as the center of attention in the ballroom. The first image showed a young and pretty Sophie on the arm of King Fredrick II dancing between two lines of beautifully dressed nobility. She was wearing a light blue watered silk dress and had an elaborate towering headdress added to her own locks. Smiling and laughing Sophie glowed with health and happiness. Fredrick was wearing a dark formal military uniform. The occasion may have been a celebration of her engagement to Fredrick. They married in July of 1572.

The second glimpse of Queen Sophie was a similar formal setting, but this time she was much older and alone. Fredrick died in 1588. She looked to be in her 60’s the second time I saw her in the ballroom, so likely about 30 years after she was widowed. When Kris asked how many spirits were around her and Barry in the ballroom the answer I heard from my guides was, “hundreds”.

The most prominent ghosts around Kris were former royal guards. I have noted in past blogs that Kris was a male ghost magnet. Change of continents didn’t alter that a bit. She was surrounded and followed by an admiring ghostly mob of young soldiers. As usual, she seemed unaware of the close proximity of her spectral admirers.

Barry and Kris heard indistinct disembodied voices Barry described as “chitter-chatter.” The complex and echoing acoustics of the Grand Hall made it impossible for them to determine what direction the voices came from.

Britt and Joe were assigned the Royal Living Space that had generated reports of ghostly footsteps. Both guys found the area creepy. I was a little surprised by that because the moment Britt walked into the room the ghost of a little girl came up to him and wanted to play. She was one of Sophie’s daughters.

Joe heard a sound to the right of where he and Britt were standing and told Britt, “Something was moving.” Joe was on the right track, he asked any ghosts nearby, “Why are you playing games?” and insisted, “Show yourself.” The reason none of the ghosts presented themselves was Joe and Britt were dealing with the ghosts of children who thought it would be fun to hide.

Joe heard another noise and asked Britt what it was. Britt didn’t know, but he heard it too. Then Britt heard footsteps from the doorway. It was the ghost of Sophie as she entered the room to visit the royal nursery. Online reading confirmed this would have been in character for her. She was known as a devoted royal mother in a time when noble and royal ladies did not raise their own children.

Paul and “Ghost Hunters Academy” investigator-in-training Susan were the first team to check out the dungeon. Susan was talking when Paul hushed her because, “I just heard a voice.” They followed the voice when abruptly Susan saw a shadow figure pass by a nearby archway. She saw it as a gray mass in the pitch-black of the dungeon and commented on how odd that was, to see a lighter color in an unlit room without windows or artificial lights.

I heard plenty of ghostly voices in the dungeons tapered torture room. There were screams, moans, keening, crying and groaning. The ghost of a tortured female prisoner in gray rags rocked herself back and forth in agony. The prisoners starved. Only starvation could have made them so gaunt and skeletally thin. They were dirty, crawled with lice and died by inches.

The lucky prisoners were repeatedly branded with a simplified version of the King’s crest. If they survived the dungeons such marks were cause for shame for the rest of their lives. I smelled hot metal and seared flesh.

The voice Paul and Susan followed belonged to the spirit of a former jailer. I don’t know what the word would be in Danish, but I got the impression he was a warden or head of the dungeon guards. His ghost still walked his rounds as he chanted or employed a tuneless singing to himself. The head jailer was aware of Paul and Susan’s presence. When Paul asked, “Are you afraid of us,” the response was “No!” followed by a glob of spittle aimed at Paul’s shoes.

Susan followed Paul’s question with one of her own. She asked, “Are you imprisoned here against your will?” The head jailer seemed to be a bit of a fatalist as he replied, “Aren’t we all?” Unfortunately neither Paul nor Susan was aware of the answers they got from the voice they followed.

Since I don’t speak Danish, let along an archaic form of it, I asked my guides why I was hearing ghost’s responses in modern English. I was told the intent of the words was being translated for me. That was a first. I know more than simple mind-to-mind communication was going on because I got words, not just images, intent and emotions during the episode.

Kris and Barry took a turn in Queen Sophie’s room where shadows had been frequently seen in the windows of her chamber. Barry’s full spectrum camera didn’t pick anything up, but Kris saw shadow play across a window to the left of the door. Barry made his standard request for any spirits in the castle to come into the room he and Kris were in. Barry and Kris both heard what Kris described as, “little noises” in response. They were probably frustrated as Kris mentioned, “We couldn’t tell if they were in the room or outside in the courtyard.” Something was playing games because right after she said that, both heard noises in the room.

Joe and Britt tried to engage the ghosts in the dungeon by making promises they couldn’t keep. Britt said, “If you are a prisoner here we can help you escape, to get out.” Joe added that they would even help the prisoner’s overthrow the king. Both comments were met the unheard gales of bitter ghostly laughter. I don’t think those who ended up in Kronborg’s dungeons held out much hope of escape or survival.

The guys noticed an odd-looking plate bolted into the ceiling of the room. The plate was connected to a long metal strut that ended in the wall. My guides gave a grisly reason for the rusted metal. I was told at one time the plate and strut had been part of an apparatus that allowed prisoners to ring a bell when one of them expired. Dungeon guards would hear the bell and collect the dead body. The people who controlled the dungeons removed bodies so that decomposition would not prematurely sicken and kill the remaining prisoners. This was no act of mercy. Germs and disease were not well understood in 15th century Europe, but rotting corpses were known to cause illness. The prisoners were supposed to suffer as long as possible. Any mess a dying body left behind was forcibly cleaned up by the remaining prisoners.

As he tried to engage nearby ghosts Joe heard the sound of a rock thrown followed by a disembodied voice and then pebble was launched at him. The thrower of rocks was the ghost of a former teenaged prisoner. He called out to Joe to, “Come here.” Joe didn’t hear him. Britt asked, “You want us out of here?” I heard the same teen ghost reply, “No. Want you to FIND me!” None of the equipment picked up on this.

Britt’s instincts were good. He said he felt something (or someone) was in the dungeon with him and Joe and they were possibly being watched. He was right.

At this point Barry called Britt and Joe back to command central to review some DVR evidence. The DVR that Paul had set up to record his unmanned experiment to measure possible battery drainage had picked up a flaring light where no light should have been. Barry and Kris were sent back down to the dungeon to investigate. They tried an EVP session but didn’t have much luck. By this time in the episode Kris had asked how many ghosts were around them many times. I hope that won’t become her stock line. It became too frequent a question, reminiscent of Lt. Uhura’s “Hailing frequencies open Captain!” in the original Star Trek series. Come on GHI, give Kris something worthwhile to say!

Kris, Britt and Joe are the natural ghost magnets on the team. GHI should leverage that for all it is worth.

Kris and Barry decided things had gone dead and left the area. Joe and Britt got some of the best evidence of the episode when they investigated the castle chapel. First they saw a quick flash of light from the altar area. Then Britt noticed one of two chandeliers was moving by itself.

Britt walked over to the chandelier to try to figure out how it was moving. No logical explanation came to mind. As Joe said there was no wind in the chapel and the second chandelier was not moving. Britt mentioned that all the windows in the chapel were closed. This bit of evidence was clearly recorded.

I saw a couple different ceremonies that took place in the chapel during the time of Sophie and Fredrick. First I saw the christening of Sophie’s second born son. I looked up her children and her second boy would have been Duke Ulrik. I found it interesting she decided to show me the christening of her fourth child and not Fredrick’s heir. In later years Ulrik had a hard time securing some sort of position or title that would provide a living for him. As a second son, he didn’t even get the designation of prince under Danish law of his time. Sophia spent many years fighting for him to get a position that would befit his royal blood and the style of the son of a king. I suspect she had a soft spot for him his entire life.

I asked Queen Sophia’s ghost why the chandelier was moving while Joe and Britt watched. She told me it was moving because of the vibration of thunderous applause that met her at her coronation in the chapel. This threw me for a loop at first because her husband Fredrick, the real ruler of the couple, was crowned in 1559 at The Church of Our Lady, which was and remains Copenhagen’s Cathedral.

Sophie was essentially queen by marriage with no real power. When I asked her ghost about this, she insisted that Fredrick had held a separate coronation for her shortly after they married. I doubled checked this claim with my guides who backed her up. My guides told me Frederick held a separate symbolic coronation for his young bride to help her feel more included in they life they had started to build together.

According to Sophia’s ghost the chandelier Joe and Britt saw moving by itself was subject to more imprinted clapping motion because she was standing closer to the moving fixture than its mate at the end of her coronation ceremony.

Regardless of what the Danish Council thought, she saw herself as an equal ruler to her husband. That attitude was borne out in her later years as she unofficially seized the regency of her underage son King Christian II from 1590-1594 against the wishes of the government and her teenaged son’s Regency Council. Christian didn’t get to claim his throne until he was 18-years old because his mother wouldn’t let him.

Paul and Susan took their shot on the second floor where reports of disembodied footsteps and unexplained noises abounded. Paul used both his video and still cameras. At first Susan thought she saw a light anomaly but figured it was her eyes adjusting to the darkness. Paul asked any local spirits to join them. Shortly thereafter Susan saw the light anomaly again. She and Paul debunked it, as they decided the anomalies were caused by the new wide-angle lenses GHI had equipped their mini-DVR cameras with.

The final investigation of the night was a group event in the Grand Hall ballroom. A provoking method called the “Singapore theory” was used. It was not explained particularly well but seemed to involve using pre-recorded music from the 1600’s to engage the ghosts in the ballroom. To me it sounded like the Klinge brothers “era cues” approach used on “Ghost Lab”. GHI used all their equipment, full spectrum and DVR cameras, EVP recorders and of course the era appropriate music. Team members asked a number of good questions.

Britt and Joe saw shadow play moving from the fireplace to a nearby door. It traced the same path of the mass Kris saw in the ballroom at the beginning of the episode. I checked and it was the same hurried Chancellor I saw before moving quickly with urgent news for King Fredrick II.

I saw the ghosts of a number of formally dressed men and women lining the walls of the ballroom. It was a big crowd. However they didn’t seem to recognize the music. I saw a lot of puzzled looks exchanged among the ghosts in attendance. They didn’t move away from the walls or start to pair off and dance. There was a buzz of questions asked. Overall the entire ballroom of ghosts acted confused.

Barry and Kris handled the reveal with Shane. They shared the similar experiences Kris, Britt and Joe had with shadows and mist moving between the fireplace and the door of the ballroom and in the royal apartments. Personal experiences of barely heard voices and murmurs in the ballroom and the dungeon were recounted.

A soft EVP of a ghost mimicking or mocking Britt in the dungeon was played. Britt had just said “Ok” when an EVP captured voice nearly talked over him as it repeated the word “Ok”.

Shane said his group had similar experiences. He figured it was because the ghosts picked the questions investigators were prepared to ask out of their minds and responded to them before the investigators could ask them out loud. I agreed with Shane. Ghosts read the minds of the living on a regular basis.

The great footage of the chapel chandelier moving by itself got Shane’s attention. He commented it was odd that it was moving backward and forward yet vibrating at the same time. He couldn’t think of a logical explanation for it either.

The final piece of evidence was the result of Paul’s unmanned battery drain experiment in the dungeon. The unexplained pulse of light was shown. A heavy-duty lantern-style flashlight was recorded rocking to one side under no human or mechanical influence.

Interestingly in the same clip Paul’s DVR captured an EMF spike and a fast rise in temperature. Shane told GHI he had a lot of experience in that dungeon and the temperature never changed. He noted that the dungeon was not even wired for electricity. TAPS favorite debunk simply didn’t apply in an ancient dungeon.

Barry came to the conclusion that Kronborg Castle is indeed haunted. Shane was pleased with Paul’s experiment and resolved to try to duplicate it himself.

Since she showed up so frequently in this episode, I asked Queen Sophia’s ghost if there was anything she wanted the world at large to know about her or her life. She said, “I had a good life.” She probably did. Seven of her eight children lived to adulthood. She was a queen, a regent and then a dowager queen in her later years. Her much older husband died when she was 30 years-old so she didn’t die of the exhaustion of chronic child-bearing. She made good matches for all her children. The wedding of English King James I took place in Krongborg Castle’s ballroom because he married her firstborn, Princess Anne.

I was absolutely delighted to see Britt back with GHI. He gets results without taking crazy risks in his provocation methods. I suspect GHI will have a good season, in part because they have Britt, Joe and Kris on the team.

Anywhere a lot of men have lived and died, their ghosts will find Kris. Britt and Joe seem to be more general ghost magnets, but I like the respect they show the ghosts in the locations they investigate. From my perspective, ghosts are people too, just people without bodies.



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About Lynne Sutherland Olson

Professional Psychic Medium
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