Terrifying invisible attackers, spooky shadowy figures and chilling nightly screams.

No it's not the set up for a scary horror movie, but actually the spine-tingling place where this year's I'm A Celebrity campmates are spending the next few weeks.

The celebrities might be fearing creepy cockroaches, scurrying rats and giant spiders, but staying in Gwrych Castle may actually prove to be the most horrifying ordeal - and not just because of the weather conditions.

Legend has it that the 19th Century fortress is haunted by the ghosts of its former residents, including a betrayed Countess who patrols the castle at night looking for vengeance.

Last year, staff reportedly didn't want to work in certain areas of the Welsh castle at night, while hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly noticed some bizarre happenings in the dungeon crypt.

While filming an Instagram video in the trial area, Ant spotted something in the distance and jokingly started to run away as he clutched his chest.

Ant and Dec have had 'the willies put up them' while filming

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"It was the woman from props. It wasn't the Countess," said panting Ant.

While Dec added: "Sorry, someone's put the willies up us. Which was an experience in itself."

The I'm A Celebrity cast and crew have only been briefly subjected to the horrors, but there was a real-life tragedy in the past that still has repercussions to this day.

Built more than 100 years ago between 1812 and 1822, it has been preserved to an exceptional standard, with many original features remaining throughout.

It commands magnificent views over the surrounding country and the Irish Sea as far as Liverpool, but those atop its walls should be more concerned with what lies within.

The Countess of Dundonald, Winifred Cochrane, supposedly haunts the castle at night in fury at her tyrannical husband's betrayal.

When the wealthy heiress died in 1924, she tried to leave the castle to King George V to end 1,000 years of private ownership, but the gift was refused and the castle put to auction.

Her husband, Douglas Cochrane, 12th Earl of Dundonald, then selfishly sold of all her possessions so he could buy the castle for himself.

To get revenge, the furious Countess now returns each night to get payback on her naughty hubby.

The countess is believed to be one of the ghosts haunting the estate (

Image:

Getty Images)

But she's not the only one terrorising the area, as workers claim to have experienced the presence of the old game keeper, a distressed dairy maid and a butler.

Some locals believe the spirit of a servant girl who died falling off a horse haunts the land, while the tyrannical Earl of Dundonald himself is said to stalk the castle corridors.

Ghost encounters with staff and visitors are commonplace - with thrill-seeking guests taking part in monthly ghost hunts.

According to the castle's website, the Countess' Tower is one of the most paranormally active areas in the castle.

It is situated within the gardens, which are said to be haunted by the terrifying Countess herself.

Back in September 2018, a volunteer was flung up the stairs on the staircase where a butler had met his grisly end.

"The handrail gave way to nothingness and I felt something propel me up the top three stairs," explained Jenny.

"Seconds later, my colleague told me the butler died right there on that same staircase. I hadn’t told her what just happened!"

Ant thought he saw a spirit, but it was just the props lady

A former Knight of Gwrych, who did battle re-enactments and jousting at the castle from the 1970s to the early 90s, also witnessed some horrors.

Graham Jones once heard the sounds of a horse snorting and clopping on the cobbles while walking home from the castle, but when he turned around there was nothing behind him.

Revealing another experience, Graham told the BBC : "After the siege show, the castle's manager asked me to get a flag pole on the roof. I went up to do it, out through a little doorway in the roof and there was an old woman sitting on the floor.

"She snapped 'You can't go this way!' so I went the other way and somehow she got there before me. She kept saying 'You're not allowed up here!'.

"When I got back I asked the manager about the old lady and he said 'What old lady?'."

He later recognised the mystery lady in a very old photograph of former staff at the castle - and she would have died long before his encounter on the castle roof.

And his friend Steve, a security guard, once heard someone coming down the kitchen steps and felt someone breathing on the back of his neck.

And Duty Manager Dewi felt a horrifying presence approach him in the darkness - but when he flashed a light there was no one to be seen.

The dining room was used by former residents of the 19th Century building (

Image:

PA)

"Terrified, I heard the chain on the main gates rattle slightly and then the footsteps began to advance towards me," recalled Dewi.

"It was pitch black on the Main Terrace, and I was waiting for the electrician to finish in another part of the castle so I could lock up.

"The footsteps grew closer and closer…and then came to a dead stop about a foot in front of me.

"Barely able to take a breath, I got out my phone and flashed its torch…but there was nobody there."

Gemma Williams, a paranormal investigator, told the Daily Mail that she was "chased by a glowing woman wearing a red dress" during an overnight stay.

"My friends and I stood there in absolute shock looking at her," she explained.

"She had an old fashioned red dress on, a white shawl going over her arms and curly blonde hair.

"We heard an almighty scream from her, it was really, really loud, which made us run again, it broke the trance. We ran down the front of the castle at full pelt.

"We all got to the bottom and said one by one that we had seen a lady in a red dress. There was no explanation for it at all."

The Castle is now home to 12 celebrities, Ant and Dec and the ITV film crew for this year's I'm A Celeb (

Image:

Kieron McCarron/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

One guest named Sonia claimed to have been standing at the bottom of the castle's grand staircase when suddenly the space was filled with the smell of violets and a dark figure emerged in the hallway.

She went on to reveal that as she was walking down the staircase later that night a stone was thrown at her and her friend from behind.

After turning around and taking a picture, she caught a mysterious orange light on camera.

In a post on Facebook, she explained: "At the bottom of the staircase ( it was full of rubble then I smelt violets)... On staircase half way if walking down to your right is a corridor. I saw a black figure there.

"Also myself and my friend was halfway down the stairs later that night and a stone was thrown at us.

"We turned round, I take a pic and I caught a orange light at the top of the staircase.

"Then after a break we went for a walk in the woods we all saw lights it was like they was dancing it was weird and the feeling was weird also. But all in all we had great night. And I would love to go back."

This year's campmates should be very afraid (

Image:

ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Another visitor shared a picture taken at the castle around six years ago and the snap appears to show a ghostly figure of a woman hovering behind him.

"My sister sent me this shot taken from her mobile phone about 5 years ago," he wrote. "She has no experience in photo editing, and I’m a sceptic where the paranormal is concerned.

"However, I can’t explain how the figure of this woman appeared on the photo behind me.

"She appears to be pointing toward the castle gate. From recollection it wasn’t raining that day, but it could just be a spot of moisture on the camera lens."

Another visitor replied to the post insisting she'd seen the same ghost but the figure had been wearing a red dress.

While one more claimed she'd also spotted a woman at the castle wearing unusual clothing while walking their dogs.

"Just ahead of me I suddenly spotted a woman dressed in a long garment and flat shoes, not the sort of clothing you'd wear walking round there," they explained.

"She went round the corner, when I went round a few minutes later she was nowhere to be seen.

"I couldn't understand where she had gone, there was nowhere she could have gone except straight ahead, but she was nowhere in sight. Was she a ghost??? I don't know."

There seemed to be at least one extra camp mate joining the celebs last year as a ghostly figure was reportedly seen at a window of Gwrych Castle during the launch night.

An employee of the attraction told The Sun that they had seen a floating woman in white and ghost hunters had felt her presence.

"Several of the crew are completely horror-stricken and don’t want to go up to the castle," they claimed.

"There are lots of lights on the main sets but there are also many dark areas behind the scenes and some noises are extremely spooky.

"Even staff who don’t believe in that sort of thing are reluctant to go up to some of parts that were supposed to be used for running equipment and camera positions."

If that wasn't enough, there are also fears that 'killer pumas' might be on the loose around the castle this time round.

There have been several reports in the past 12 months of 'large black cats' in the area where the show is being filmed and paw prints were discovered in the grounds several months ago.

The prints have been dismissed as not being that of a large dog as there are no claw marks and it is known that pumas retract their claws when running.

Ant and Dec are living in fear

One person who claims to have come up close and personal with one of these big cats with Toby Matthews, who said he was terrified when seeing it in woodland in November 2020.

Discussing the chilling moment, he said: "Maybe 50 or 60 feet away was an enormous black cat looking right at me.

"I took a photo then turned around and quickly walked back. I wanted to start running but was worried it’d give chase.

"I’m convinced that it was a puma. It was about two or three times the size of my little Labrador."

Then in January this year, there were reports that a "large cat roughly the size of a Labrador" was walking along a road near Talacte in Flintshire and a black "dog-sized" cat. was spotted 20 miles away from the castle in Pontybodkin.

With thoughts that there is a big cat on the loose, a group called Puma Watch North Wales has been set up to monitor the situation, with a number of sheep killings being investigated.

Could all these people just be mistaken? Or is the I'm A Celeb castle actually haunted?

*I'm A Celebrity airs tonight on ITV at 9pm

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