Mysteries at the Castle: Black Dinner Pictures

Tour a fortress in Scotland where a 15th-century power struggle came to a climax, an Italian villa that housed a mysterious manuscript and a New York estate that was home to a Secretary of State.

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Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle

On the banks of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, Urquhart Castle has been a silent witness to the country’s most famous folktale, dating back hundreds of years. But the rumors of the Loch Ness Monster reached a crescendo in the mid-1930s when an amazing photograph seemed to confirm the existence of the beast. 960 1280

  

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle

Regularly raided between the 13th and 16th centuries, it’s no surprise that Urquhart Castle is in ruins. But these iconic ruins, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, are a must-see for visitors. 960 1280

  

Upton House

Upton House

The beautiful country estate of Upton House outside of Poole, England, was the subject of one of the strangest inheritance disputes in history. When the heir to the Tichborne fortune disappeared in a shipwreck, an Australian butcher claimed to be the Tichbornes’ lost son. 960 1280

  

Upton House

Upton House

Modest as far as English estates go, Upton House was home to the Prince of Romania in the 1960s. But today, the mansion is available for weddings, events and tours. 960 1280

  

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, George Washington’s historic home on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, may have been the setting for a strange medical experiment following the first American president’s death in 1799, when a doctor attempted to convince Martha Washington to allow him to resurrect the legendary statesman. 960 1280

  

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon

This front parlor at Mount Vernon is said to have been one of George Washington’s favorite rooms and was used for entertaining guests, reading and drinking tea. Throughout the 1700s, the Washingtons continually updated this room, adding all the fashionable accoutrements of the time. 960 1280

  

Villa dei Mulini

Villa dei Mulini

The Villa dei Mulini was Napoleon Bonaparte’s seat of power during his exile on the Island of Elba off the coast of Italy. It was from this villa, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, that Napoleon plotted his unlikely escape from the island and return to power in France. 960 1280

  

Villa dei Mulini

Villa dei Mulini

The Villa dei Mulini is now open to visitors from all around the world. The estate now has a restaurant featuring local cuisine, rooms and apartments for rent and bike trails through the grounds. 960 1280

  

The Mount Airy Mansion

The Mount Airy Mansion

The Mount Airy Mansion, sitting on 1,000 acres inside what is now Rosaryville State Park in Upper Marlboro, MD, keeps with its history as a place for presidential parties with its new life as an event and wedding space. 960 1280

  

The Mount Airy Mansion

The Mount Airy Mansion

The Mount Airy Mansion was the final home of the heiress Cissy Paterson, the daughter of a wealthy American family who became trapped in an abusive marriage to a Ukrainian count. 960 1280

  

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo in Italy was the beautiful setting of the tragic tale of Bianca Maria Aloisia, the daughter of the powerful Malaspina family. The young woman, kept isolated from the world because she was an albino, decided to defy her cruel parents and pursue a love affair with a humble stable boy – which may have caused her demise. 960 1280

  

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo

Today, the Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo is a museum, an artists’ residence and a bed and breakfast. Painters, writers and travelers alike can soak in the Tuscan views of the Apuan Alps and cozy accommodations. 960 1280

  

Karlsruche Castle
Karlsruche Castle

Karlsruche Castle

Built in 1715 in Karlsruche, Germany, this ancient castle sits at the center of the city with 32 streets radiating out from it, like spokes on a wheel, and was the seat of power for the Grand Dukes of Baden. 960 1280

  

Karlsruhe Castle

Karlsruhe Castle

But just 150 miles from Karlsruhe Castle, a young boy was found claiming to have spent his life there, locked in a windowless cell. Just who was this boy, named Kaspar Hauser, and how was he connected to the Grand Dukes of Baden? 960 1280

  

Chateau de Moilans

Chateau de Moilans

The Chateau de Moilans, in the South of France, seems to be impenetrable with its double moat, thick walls, and dungeon sitting at more than 75 feet high with 3 turrets. 960 1280

  

Chateau de Moilans

Chateau de Moilans

In the 16th century, the chateau passed from its original owners, the Miolans family, to the powerful house of Savoy, who converted the fortress into a prison. And the jail's most famous inmate was a controversial literary giant. 960 1280

  

Chateau de Moilans

Chateau de Moilans

It was in this prison that the notorious Marquis de Sade found himself after a party in 1772 that got a little too out of control ... and landed him an accusation of attempted murder. 960 1280

  

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Morris-Jumel Mansion

In Manhattan sits a Palladian-style manor inspired by ancient Greek temples: the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Today, the mansion is preserved as a museum, but in its heyday, it served as George Washington's headquarters during the Revolutionary War. 960 1280

  

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Many of the home's original details remain, including 18th century stained glass, an octagonal sitting room, and a bed said to have been a gift from Napoleon. And when a séance is held inside the mansion, the owner appears from the beyond. 960 1280

  

Vanderbilt Mansion

Vanderbilt Mansion

This 24-room, Spanish-style villa in Centerport, NY, was designed by the same architectural firm that built Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal. And it was once home to one of the most famous and powerful families in American history, the Vanderbilts. 960 1280

  

Vanderbilt Mansion

Vanderbilt Mansion

The Vanderbilt Museum, which sits on the family’s 43-acre estate named the Eagle’s Nest, houses William K. Vanderbilt II’s marine, natural history and ethnographic collections. Visit the museum for a “living tour” where guides bring the home to life with a performance taking visitors back in time. 960 1280

  

Thrumpton Hall

Thrumpton Hall

Dating back to the 16th century, this 300-acre sprawling estate in the rolling hills of Nottinghamshire in central England is the red-brick English manor house known as Thrumpton Hall. 960 1280

  

Thrumpton Hall

Thrumpton Hall

Inside, the home boasts a magnificent library, and the windows display the coats of arms of the families who once inhabited these halls. But over 4 centuries ago, Thrumpton's occupants became entwined in a secret plot to strike a fatal blow to the English monarchy. 960 1280

  

Tower of London

Tower of London

Standing proudly on the north bank of the River Thames is an iconic fortress -- the Tower of London. Built in 1066 as a royal residence, it's where the crown jewels are held securely for the monarch. 960 1280

  

Photos

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle

On the banks of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, Urquhart Castle has been a silent witness to the country’s most famous folktale, dating back hundreds of years. But the rumors of the Loch Ness Monster reached a crescendo in the mid-1930s when an amazing photograph seemed to confirm the existence of the beast. 960 1280

  

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle

Regularly raided between the 13th and 16th centuries, it’s no surprise that Urquhart Castle is in ruins. But these iconic ruins, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, are a must-see for visitors. 960 1280

  

Upton House

Upton House

The beautiful country estate of Upton House outside of Poole, England, was the subject of one of the strangest inheritance disputes in history. When the heir to the Tichborne fortune disappeared in a shipwreck, an Australian butcher claimed to be the Tichbornes’ lost son. 960 1280

  

Upton House

Upton House

Modest as far as English estates go, Upton House was home to the Prince of Romania in the 1960s. But today, the mansion is available for weddings, events and tours. 960 1280

  

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon, George Washington’s historic home on the banks of the Potomac River in Virginia, may have been the setting for a strange medical experiment following the first American president’s death in 1799, when a doctor attempted to convince Martha Washington to allow him to resurrect the legendary statesman. 960 1280

  

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon

This front parlor at Mount Vernon is said to have been one of George Washington’s favorite rooms and was used for entertaining guests, reading and drinking tea. Throughout the 1700s, the Washingtons continually updated this room, adding all the fashionable accoutrements of the time. 960 1280

  

Villa dei Mulini

Villa dei Mulini

The Villa dei Mulini was Napoleon Bonaparte’s seat of power during his exile on the Island of Elba off the coast of Italy. It was from this villa, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, that Napoleon plotted his unlikely escape from the island and return to power in France. 960 1280

  

Villa dei Mulini

Villa dei Mulini

The Villa dei Mulini is now open to visitors from all around the world. The estate now has a restaurant featuring local cuisine, rooms and apartments for rent and bike trails through the grounds. 960 1280

  

The Mount Airy Mansion

The Mount Airy Mansion

The Mount Airy Mansion, sitting on 1,000 acres inside what is now Rosaryville State Park in Upper Marlboro, MD, keeps with its history as a place for presidential parties with its new life as an event and wedding space. 960 1280

  

The Mount Airy Mansion

The Mount Airy Mansion

The Mount Airy Mansion was the final home of the heiress Cissy Paterson, the daughter of a wealthy American family who became trapped in an abusive marriage to a Ukrainian count. 960 1280

  

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo in Italy was the beautiful setting of the tragic tale of Bianca Maria Aloisia, the daughter of the powerful Malaspina family. The young woman, kept isolated from the world because she was an albino, decided to defy her cruel parents and pursue a love affair with a humble stable boy – which may have caused her demise. 960 1280

  

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo

The Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo

Today, the Malaspina Castle of Fosdinovo is a museum, an artists’ residence and a bed and breakfast. Painters, writers and travelers alike can soak in the Tuscan views of the Apuan Alps and cozy accommodations. 960 1280

  

Karlsruche Castle

Karlsruche Castle

Built in 1715 in Karlsruche, Germany, this ancient castle sits at the center of the city with 32 streets radiating out from it, like spokes on a wheel, and was the seat of power for the Grand Dukes of Baden. 960 1280

  

Karlsruhe Castle

Karlsruhe Castle

But just 150 miles from Karlsruhe Castle, a young boy was found claiming to have spent his life there, locked in a windowless cell. Just who was this boy, named Kaspar Hauser, and how was he connected to the Grand Dukes of Baden? 960 1280

  

Chateau de Moilans

Chateau de Moilans

The Chateau de Moilans, in the South of France, seems to be impenetrable with its double moat, thick walls, and dungeon sitting at more than 75 feet high with 3 turrets. 960 1280

  

Chateau de Moilans

Chateau de Moilans

In the 16th century, the chateau passed from its original owners, the Miolans family, to the powerful house of Savoy, who converted the fortress into a prison. And the jail's most famous inmate was a controversial literary giant. 960 1280

  

Chateau de Moilans

Chateau de Moilans

It was in this prison that the notorious Marquis de Sade found himself after a party in 1772 that got a little too out of control ... and landed him an accusation of attempted murder. 960 1280

  

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Morris-Jumel Mansion

In Manhattan sits a Palladian-style manor inspired by ancient Greek temples: the Morris-Jumel Mansion. Today, the mansion is preserved as a museum, but in its heyday, it served as George Washington's headquarters during the Revolutionary War. 960 1280

  

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Many of the home's original details remain, including 18th century stained glass, an octagonal sitting room, and a bed said to have been a gift from Napoleon. And when a séance is held inside the mansion, the owner appears from the beyond. 960 1280

  

Vanderbilt Mansion

Vanderbilt Mansion

This 24-room, Spanish-style villa in Centerport, NY, was designed by the same architectural firm that built Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal. And it was once home to one of the most famous and powerful families in American history, the Vanderbilts. 960 1280

  

Vanderbilt Mansion

Vanderbilt Mansion

The Vanderbilt Museum, which sits on the family’s 43-acre estate named the Eagle’s Nest, houses William K. Vanderbilt II’s marine, natural history and ethnographic collections. Visit the museum for a “living tour” where guides bring the home to life with a performance taking visitors back in time. 960 1280

  

Thrumpton Hall

Thrumpton Hall

Dating back to the 16th century, this 300-acre sprawling estate in the rolling hills of Nottinghamshire in central England is the red-brick English manor house known as Thrumpton Hall. 960 1280

  

Thrumpton Hall

Thrumpton Hall

Inside, the home boasts a magnificent library, and the windows display the coats of arms of the families who once inhabited these halls. But over 4 centuries ago, Thrumpton's occupants became entwined in a secret plot to strike a fatal blow to the English monarchy. 960 1280

  

Tower of London

Tower of London

Standing proudly on the north bank of the River Thames is an iconic fortress -- the Tower of London. Built in 1066 as a royal residence, it's where the crown jewels are held securely for the monarch. 960 1280

  

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