Real Frankenstein, Mummy Curse, Man in the Iron Mask

On a rocky outcrop in central Germany stands the forbidding ruins of a monstrous castle where a scientist conducted a series of sinister experiments. Hidden within one of England's most famous country manors is the story of long-buried Egyptian treasure. And half a mile from the coast of France is the tiny island of Sainte-Marguerite, home to the forbidding Fort Royal, where a mysterious masked prisoner was locked up for decades.

From This Episode

Highclere Castle's saloon
Highclere Castle's saloon

Highclere Castle's saloon

A view of the saloon -- a room for socializing, set in the center of the house -- in Highclere Castle in Newbury, England. The ancestral home of the Carnarvon family since 1679, the castle has recently been made famous as the setting for the hugely popular TV series, Downton Abbey. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

This entrance hall leads into the saloon, which is decorated in a gothic style with ornate decoration, including leather wall coverings. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

A view of the music room in Highclere Castle. Sitting on 1,000 acres of beautifully landscaped land and gardens, the castle is open in the summer months to visitors. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle's music room

Highclere Castle's music room

The ceiling of the music room, seen here reflected in the mirror, was painted in the 1730s by English painter and one of the founding members of the Royal Academy of Arts, Francis Hayman. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle's music room

Highclere Castle's music room

Italian 16th-century tapestries hang in Highclere’s music room. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle's drawing room

Highclere Castle's drawing room

This photo of Almina Wombwell sits in the drawing room, which is decorated with bolts of green French silk given to Almina by her banking tycoon father, Alfred de Rothschild. She became the lady of Highclere Castle when she married the 5th Earl of Carnarvon in 1895. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle's library

Highclere Castle's library

The Earl's desk is displayed in the castle’s library. An active Tory in Parliament, the 4th Earl of Carnarvon would retreat here in what has been nicknamed the “withdrawing room.” In Downton Abbey, Lord Grantham can often be found in this room, mulling over papers and fretting about the future of the estate. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle's library

Highclere Castle's library

This hidden door leads from the library to the music room. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd  

Highclere Castle's library

Highclere Castle's library

There are over 5,600 books stored in Highclere’s library, with the earliest dating back to the 16th century. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

These bells were used to summon the servants, with each bell corresponding to a different room in the castle. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle's Oak Staircase

Highclere Castle's Oak Staircase

The Oak Staircase was designed by English architect and artist, Thomas Allom, who is also known for his work with Sir Charles Barry in designing the Houses of Parliament. The staircase took a year to carve and install. Downton Abbey fans will fondly recall Lady Mary descending this staircase in her wedding dress, on her way to exchange vows with Matthew Crawley. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd  

Highclere Castle's dining room

Highclere Castle's dining room

Found in the castle’s dining room are a series of portraits, including, most notably, the equestrian portrait of Charles I by Sir Anthony van Dyck, a Flemish artist who became England’s leading court painter. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd  

Highclere Castle's Red Staircase

Highclere Castle's Red Staircase

The Red Staircase, leading to the second floor and what was once the nurseries, is the other main staircase in Highclere Castle that is used by the family. 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle's Mercia bedroom

Highclere Castle's Mercia bedroom

On the first floor alone, there are 11 bedrooms and between 40 and 50 throughout the rest of the castle. The Mercia bedroom, seen here, is decorated with 18th-century silks. Downton Abbey fans may recognize the bedroom as belonging to Cora, the Countess of Grantham (although the Earl of Grantham is known to sneak in after the ladies’ maids and butlers have gone to bed). 960 1280

Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images  

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle

Highclere Castle was remodeled for the 3rd Earl in 1839 by Sir Charles Barry after he finished the Houses of Parliament. Barry described the castle’s architecture as Anglo-Italian. 960 1280

Allan Baxter/Getty Images  

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