October’s Letter from the Curator (2018)

Dear Friends

Happy Halloween! Sorry that this letter is later than usual- it’s very busy here at the castle!
The leaves are falling from the trees and the castle grounds are feeling very autumnal! Whilst I am missing the company of visitors since we closed for winter, I am nevertheless filled with excitement at the month ahead!

October is of course the month of Halloween! Each year thousands of children across the world get dressed up as frightful characters and knock on neighbours’ doors, greeting them with the phrase “Trick of Treat!”. But why? Why do we dress up on 31st October and celebrate all things spooky? Halloween is often believed to be a modern tradition, but it is actually as old as time itself! The origins of Halloween stem from a traditional Celtic festival, known as Samhain. This festival was used to ward off the darkness, which was why bonfires were lit. Later, this morphed into All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saints Day (A Christian festival). Gradually this has evolved into the Halloween we celebrate today. Whatever you are doing- whether you’re planning on trick-or-treating, going to a Halloween party or just enjoying a scary movie, I hope you have a great time!

Many people believe that there is paranormal activity here at the castle. The castle is, after all, 950 years old! It has existed through devastating sieges and conflicts, Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned her on four occasions before her execution in 1587, and it was torn down after the Civil War, leaving the ruins you see today. Thousands of people have flocked to the castle in the hope of seeing the existence of supernatural in our walls. The castle has even been investigated as part of paranormal television shows! More recently, we have hosted a ghost hunt with Portal Paranormal- an enthusiastic team who use high-tech equipment to search for paranormal activity. We are very much looking forward to our next ghost hunt on Thursday 8th November- which is already sold out! Keep an eye on our website for future events.

We have also got our Vikings and Firework Spectacular on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November 2018! Voted as one of the best firework displays in the UK, each year we host a fabulous display of fireworks which light up the sky of Tutbury! We also welcome back our terrific Vikings, who stage a dramatic battle followed by a Viking ‘funeral’. I’m already bursting with excitement and can’t wait to share this amazing evening with you all!

Finally, Jack the Ripper, the mystery murderer who murdered at least five women in Whitechapel in 1888, will be giving a talk at the castle on Thursday 22nd November 2018. Enjoy a delicious evening buffet and listen to the grisly tale of Jack the Ripper and his victims. Tickets are available on our website.

Phew! Even though the nights are growing darker and the weather is getting colder, the castle is still full of life! Myself and the rest of the Castle Team are eager to welcome you to experience these wonderful events!

See you soon!
Best Wishes,
Lesley Smith, Curator.