The Cryptic Keep

The Cryptic Keep 

Atop a steep embankment overlooking a picturesque river, and concealed away by walls of dense forest, can be found a moss-covered castle. This isn't the opening line from a fairytale book, and the castle before you is of real stone and brick. A whimsical gatehouse bids you welcome to its courtyard, now more closely resembling a wild growing field than any majestic terrace. As you stand amongst the tall grasses of the courtyard, black birds fly overhead before swooping in to their nests thorough the missing second-floor windows. So what is the story behind this forsaken castle, if not a tale penned by the brothers Grimm? As it turns out - Fiction and reality are sometimes hard to differentiate.

We have attempted to research this castle through multiple sources, to no real gain. It seems that the origins of the place, and history prior to the late 1940's, is enigmatic at best. With several research points displaying conflicting information, we thought it best to contact the local historic society and library, the later of which is the only one to have graced us with a reply. Unfortunately, follow-up emails could not illicit further response. An air of mystery clings about this place almost as tightly as the ivy upon its stone walls. What follows is a historical account assembled to the best of our ability, and cross-verified wherever possible.

Our story begins, as it seems unanimously agreed upon (though the exact date varies) prior to the year 1920. From what little information was able, it seems that the designer of the castle may have been Bradford Lee Gilbert, a notable architect of the time. Having passed away in 1911, this places the castle, at least in the early design stages, within the range of dates agreed upon by our sources. This grand castle was to be built upon a plot of some 1,000 acres of forestland, far from any neighboring structures. Some claim that the design plans called for roofing slate imported overseas from England, and marble floor tiles from Italy. Wherever the bits and pieces came from, we can state with utter certainty that they culminated in the creation of an astounding home, sadly the owner was never to see it for himself, as before the completion of castle he passed away, leaving behind his wife and son (some sources claim a daughter, all agree it was an only child) along with the unfinished castle. From here on out the story truly begins to derail...

It is seemingly agreed upon that the following year found the wife slowly sinking into a kind of dementia, and that she was subsequently sent off to a sanatorium. How the time between the death of her husband and her commitment to the sanatorium was spent is not clear though. Some of the more bizarre accounts tell of her being held as a captive within the castle itself. Sealed away in a portion of the home, behind doors which had no interior knobs. Being as this is a true-life castle on a hilltop, the story of a maiden held against her will seems less far-fetched here than anywhere else.

Whatever the case, after her eventual commitment it appears that the son (or daughter) set off on their own, married, and moved away with their wife (or husband). This likely transpired around the year 1930 or so, and has left the castle without a tenant ever since. Supposedly a groundskeeper once resided in a sectioned-off portion of the castle, and watched over it for some time thereafter, but he has long since left as well. In 1947 the castle was purchased by an order of Freemasons, to what ends we are not sure, though judging by its current state it seems that they don't intend to fix or maintain it.

That's it. As far as we can tell there is no history to be found after the Freemasons acquired the castle and property in the 1940's. We find it difficult to believe that such a surreal and beautiful place has no definitive documented history. Surely the fact that a castle was being built in the town would have caused someone to take notice enough to document it, and surely it did, but the whereabouts of that information is has yet to be revealed.

The strangely sparse and twisted back-story casts this castle in an unexpected light. We did not foresee, whilst there filming, that our research would prove to be so turbulent and inconclusive. In a way it makes the castle into something else entirely. Only the castle knows what truly transpired within those walls, throughout the nearly one-hundred years it has been residing upon its hilltop, and it seems to enjoy keeping secrets.

View from the courtyard.

Viewing the chambers of the kitchen.

Beautiful fixtures throughout.

Melted remains of several candles.

This is an older video of ours. When watching, you may notice that it has a different "feel" to it than our current-day films. This is because the style of our cinematography has progressed over time, and our equipment has changed and improved throughout the years. We have chosen to leave our older videos available for viewing online to illustrate the evolution of our work.