Seely’s Castle in Asheville, North Carolina

Some people believe the imposing brick walls of Seely’s Castle in Asheville, NC hold terrible secrets from it’s evil past.
Seely's Castle in Asheville, NC
What horrors lurk inside Seely’s Castle?

The history of Seely’s Castle, also known as the Overlook Mansion, in Asheville, North Carolina is steeped in rumors of dark and disturbing affairs befitting of a place long reputed to be a location for the satanic rituals and sacrifices of the “rich, elite and powerful” satanists that populate Asheville and the surrounding region.

Seelys Castle, also known as Overlook MansionIt seems that little is known about the castle, considering its age. It was built in 1912-1914 for Fred Loring Seely on ten acres at the top of Sunset Mountain. It has seen five known owners.

The Seelys lived there until Mr. Seely’s death in 1942 at age 70. In 1949 his wife, Evelyn Grove Seely, whose father had given them the land, sold the castle to Asheville-Biltmore College, who occupied the property until they outgrew it in 1961. The third owner was Mr. Jerry Sternberg, who made several improvements with plans to open it as a museum, which he never achieved. He then turned the property over to Overlook Christian Ministries in the late 1970s. Overlook was a full gospel ministry that believed in speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Pentecost, which some claim may be the root of the rumors of satanism. The owners of Overlook wrote a book about their ministry called A Castle in the Kingdom.

The castle was acquired by the Wells family in 1984, who seem to be the last known owners, though another rumor claims executives of BonWorth purchased the castle from the Overlook ministry as a retreat.

Seely Overlook Castle in Asheville, North CarolinaAmong its many amazing features are the Jacobean ceilings, stained glass windows and a huge, two-story library with balcony in the north tower, which includes an entire wall made of glass with a panoramic view of Asheville. Besides its many secret passages, it is said there is a room hidden behind the library’s fire place, with soot-covered windows on the outside but no known access. The original wooden doors removed in the 1960s depicted the 12 Canterbury tales.

The lions on each side of the tunnel entrance were apparently at the courthouse in Atlanta when Sherman’s army marched through during the Civil War.

Concrete lions at the entrance of Seely's Castle

Seely's castle

Located at 710 Town Mountain Rd. (map), a drive said to be adorned with the mansions of the area’s rich and powerful, Seely’s Castle can only be glimpsed through the woods from a distance, or at the entrance guarded by metal gates and surveillance cameras. It is said the castle is inhabited by a religious order, and no visitors are allowed through the gates.

Read about some of the alleged Satanic rituals and human sacrifices at Seely’s Castle in Pam Schuffert’s 2001 article Satanism in America Today.

More Photos of Seely’s Castle

Seely Overlook castle as Biltmore college
Seely’s Castle as Biltmore College

Seely Overlook castle 1920
The castle in 1920

Seely Overlook castle

Have more photos or info on Seely’s Castle?
Email me at info@cultofweird.com

64 replies
  1. Avatar
    Jean says:

    I attended Asheville-Biltmore College at the castle from 1956-1958 and have many fond memories of this beautiful building. It has two floors plus a basement. As I recall, there were two classrooms plus a bathroom on each floor. I think the physics class met in the basement; the ping-pong table and student union were also there. The main floor also had a large beautiful room with floor to ceiling windows, and a big room where we assembled every Tuesday – often to hear Dr. Bushy’s history of the college. This room was also used for the dances.

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    tfagan804 says:

    I went to church there in the 70’s, knew the owners well. They originally were from the West Asheville Assembly of God church, on Haywoid Rd ,moved and now known as Crossroads Assembly on S. Bear Creek Rd.

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    Dave/Mary Hamby says:

    In the early 60’s I worked for William (Winky) Digges, at the Register of Deeds office for Buncombe County. He told a story of being driven in a limosine up to Seely’s castle to play with the children. I assume he was talking about the original Seely family who lived there in the 30’s.
    The Digges were in political office for many years. Winky had been voted into the office his father had held for many election cycles. He was a good man and a fine boss.

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    Cheryl Mason says:

    Interesting stories. Would love to tour the Castle. Rather looks “prisonlike” from some of the photos shown. The men in the Upper Room did speak in tongues and when speaking to the people, they did hear in their own languages. Also Paul refers to speaking in tongues as a gift from the Holy Spirit, but it should be done only if there is an interpreter, so that others would be edified. It is also stated by Paul that the Holy Spirit is the one who gives gifts to people and that people should not ask for that gift, because only the Holy Spirit knows who is to receive it. Read your Bible, folks.

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      Wanda Jones says:

      I knew someone who was connected with the ‘congregation’ at the castle in the mid to late 70’s. She went to a church that believed in a lot of borderline extremist theology and she told me some crazy nonsense about her mother’s shadow turning into a skeleton that fell down the wall and disappeared. Don’t know if her ‘shadow’ ever came back. I was raised Baptist and our ministers went to Seminary and had extensive education in religious theory. I never saw someone fall down during a service or start babbling when ‘the Lord’ entered the room. Why would God have us speaking in ‘tongues’ today? What purpose would it serve? Don’t we have enough misunderstanding in the Christian world? How would this help? I’ve watched people who claimed to be speaking in tongues. It’s gibberish. No one interpreted anything, either.There’s no pattern to the speech, it’s not a language. Klingon is a more developed language. They get a room all worked up, talking about God’s presence in the room, anointing with cooking oil, falling backwards when the oil touches their foreheads, then they start shaking and vocalizing. It’s absurd. One thing no one mentions about Paul – he was a religious/political prisoner for many years and he was quite crazy. If I remember right, he argued against women being involved in the church, saying instead that they should be quiet and stay out of the way of the men. There are many writings not included in the King James version of the Bible, used by many modern churches and schools. It’s the basis for the protestant religions that began in Europe and the mid east. I don’t believe King James was anything but a man who wished to force his theology on his subjects and control them through the use of scripture. I can imagine Donald Trump would rewrite the Bible if he thought he could get away with it. There’s always a fringe element willing to believe anything if it’s claimed to be the will of God.

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        Michelle Ledbetter Dickerson says:

        Just because you don’t know about it or understand it doesn’t make it wrong or ‘gibberish.’ It’s one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and Biblical. Sounds like maybe you need to do some reading. I think this is one of the main problems in our world – people bashing things just because they are unfamiliar with them. (I’m not even going to comment on the things you said about the Apostle Paul.)

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          Angelia Lowery says:

          Agreed!! I was told by a 6 year old little girl when I was attending a Church of God my first time, after I said outloud, why in the world are they speaking that way? Thelittke girl beside me just touched my hand and told me that the devil can understand our spoken words but he can’t understand speaking in tougens and some things are meant to be spoken outloud. Out of the mouth of babes the truth was revealed. I also learned to watch what I spoke outloud, because your words can be used against you. Its a shame that people are so close minded.

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        Tonia Phillips says:

        Donald Trump is the best President this country HAS EVER HAD! He is doing God’s work and you sir are a brain washed FOOL.

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      Jim Lindsay says:

      I worked on a Movie set there in the mid 70s. The EO Corporation from Shelby filmed a movie there called, Hot Heir. I don’t think the movie went anywhere but it was a fun job for the summer…

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    Bonnie Kamp says:

    I was a guest at the castle during the winter of 77/78. It was a fun experience. I would love to visit again if the Wells family would agree.

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  6. Avatar
    Rhonda says:

    I was a senior in high school & was intrigued by the romantic old castle. I talked my boyfriend into driving me through the gates so I could ask for a tour. Rude, I know, but hey – I was 17! The gentleman who approached us as on the front lawn was understandably upset & said we were lucky that the dogs were put up & that “just the week before they bit the hand off of another intruder”. When I told him that I was doing a class paper on the castle he warmed up & graciously gave us a quick tour. My hubby & I cannot remember it all, but we do recall a small room with an old, bare light bulb that he said was “an original Edison bulb that still worked”. I remember a beautiful stone or marble staircase in the foyer – maybe even a split staircase? Not sure. I remember a not-so-old suit of armor which the caretaker laughingly described it as “obligatory”. I remember him telling us about a hidden room (near a fireplace?) where Mrs. Seely would hide her furs, but I do not remember seeing it.
    I’m still intrigued by the old place & feel very blessed to have been given a glimpse inside.

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      Daniel says:

      I know this comment is a couple years old but what year did you say you visited and what was the name of the gentleman who let you in?

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    clarence center says:

    I was born in Asheville in 1932 many stories and rumors about the castle, used to play on the grounds in the 1940’s sat on the lions there and played as if there were knights etc there. rode my bicycle up there form down town loved to ride down the mountain coming back. also during the second world way there were rumors that the atomic bomb was designed there and built in ten but never got any conformation on this. I knew Mr. Sternberg when he owned it and lots of rumors there but is a great conversation piece at any rate .

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    Mèlonie says:

    Does anybody know details of the inside ? How many bedrooms ? Is it only two stories ? Is there a large fireplace in each room ? Is there a basement ? How many secret rooms ? What about formal rooms such as a ball-room maybe for entertaining guests with dance’s and such in the early yrs ?? Etc etc etc.

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    Bob L. says:

    Pam Schuffert’s 2001 so-called article, “Satanism in America Today”, is a complete crock, concocted by a brainless and hopeless mentality that is entirely controlled by fear and ignorance. Christ has a few things to say about such fear and hopelessness, yet many self-described Christians seem to completely ignore many of these teachings. WWJD? Think about it, and LIVE accordingly.

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    Tone Loc says:

    Speaking in tongues is not necessarily satanic, although it can be. On the day of Pentecost, after Jesus arose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, the Scriptures tell us the Holy Ghost landed on the people in the “Upper Room” and they started speaking in tongues. Tongues is actually a real language the person does not know, yet is able to speak fluently. The book of Acts tells us this. I Corinthians 12 lists the gifts of the Holy Ghost. One of those is speaking in tongues. Paul told us “When my spirit prays, my understanding is unfruitful”. This means his spirit is speaking with God in a tongue unknown to him. So, if a Pentecostal Christian is speaking in tongues, it should not be viewed as a satanic practice.

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      Alexandra says:

      Not so. What happened on the day of Pentecost was that the apostles spoke in their language, and everyone listening heard it in *their* language. Think “universal translator” in the “Star Trek” series. Kind of like that…if I’m speaking English and a Mexican person hears it in Spanish…it was like that.

      Reply
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        Sandy says:

        Becky Seeley Limbaugh
        I heard the same thing about the stones from Scotland. Such a rich and wonderful history. I would love to interview you someday if you would allow me to do so. My cell # is 9707798009. If you’re interested, please send a text.

        Reply
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      Dan Warren says:

      I remember being told that a castle in Scotland was torn down and rebuilt on the mountain. My mother told me that fact

      Reply
  11. Avatar
    Martha Culler says:

    I did live in the “Castle” in 1979/1980….My son was born in the upper room on the right in the front picture of the castle. The owners at that time did have a Christian church that met in part of the castle. We lived in a part and the owners lived in another part. The church people were good Christian people and never heard a story of “satanic ritual” until I met someone from Asheville that moved here to S.C. about 10 years ago. For the short time we were there we had a good life. My son was born in June of 1980. What child can say he was born in a castle???? It was beautiful on that part of the mountain and we would see red foxes come up to the house all the time. What a good memory!!

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        Suz says:

        Okay, Mr. Oxford Comma, way to be a total ass. Thank you, Ms. Culler for sharing your first hand experience. Such an interesting legacy for your son!

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        Bob L. says:

        Where did you learn your English, Mr. Elliot? How about using correct punctuation, yourself, if you feel that your idea of proper English needs to be rudely rammed down someone’s throat, and in a context that is entirely inappropriate? By the way, you MIGHT note that I’ve added a “question mark” at the end of my question! You might also better educate yourself regarding the usage of “… “, as well as “.. (sic), which is entirely incorrect within your (did I already state this?) rude response.

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          Cyndi H. says:

          Really? Now I have to go look up the rules on how many spaces after periods. I was taught to put two. I’m 45. Maybe it has changed over the years?

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            Lisa says:

            BTW- I am about the same age and was taught to put two spaces after periods. Also, I have old pictures of the castle that include some of my Asheville relatives who were friends with the Seeleys.

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            Dw says:

            It’s a typing rule. Those of us who took a legit typing class on a typewriter in school were taught to use two spaces after sentences. I like the look of it better, makes more sense……………………… ha.

            Also some of you should chill with the childish name calling. It’s fine if you think you’re right and want to explain, but to call someone a dumbass? Lol ? …over and extra space … get a life dude

      • Avatar
        Deb Maddox says:

        Did they teach you English, Elliot? Sentences begin with a capital. Question marks follow questions. Ellipses always come in a series of THREE dots, and there is supposed to be a space between each dot. As a hypocritically unkind oaf, you may now retire to your grammar and punctuation book leaving the rest of us to sincerely thank Ms. Culler for suffering such boorishness and unselfishly sharing her story.

        Reply
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      Cecilia Rhymer says:

      Martha Culler. I am sitting here amazed by what you just wrote! I was 16 in 1980 and was looking for a car. I can’t remember how we come to find the ad about a 1974 Nova. But it was at Seely’s Castle. I was excited about seeing the car but also about seeing the Castle! I remember we were looking at the car and someone stuck their head out of one of the top windows and yelled “it’s a Boy’!! That was around 35-36 yrs ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. I am so glad that I read your comment!

      Reply
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      Mèlonie says:

      That’s a wonderful memory Martha. May I ask why you moved out ? It would have been an awesome place to stay and raise a boy. Ohh the life stories he could have told.

      Reply
  12. Avatar
    Wanda Jones says:

    This is absolutely absurd! Satanism at Seely’s Castle. Who ever wrote that should be ashamed. I went to school with a girl who was part of Overlook Christian Ministry. I did think her family was a bit overzealous about avoiding ‘sin’ but it wasn’t a cult, just a bit too Pentecostal for my Southern Baptist’s tastes. Why not write about a spot in Asheville that was really popular? How about the fellas who roamed the streets around Grove Park Arcade in the 1980s-1990’s? Used to be a genuine pick up spot for gay men – now it’s a posh place to eat and shop. Or, there was always a little place called ‘Sandy Bottoms’, and another little park near the bus garage and transfer station off Brevard Road. Remember My Brother’s Mustache, a popular gay bar, and O. Henry’s pub. And for the ladies, check out Malaprop’s book store. See, Asheville’s past is steeped in lore about the relationships between the leaders of the town and some important historical figures, such as Thomas Edison, Firestone, Ford. Fred Seely was rumored to have been a member of the Masonic Lodge. Perhaps it’s no accident that Asheville has always been accommodating and tolerant of people who are ‘different’. I’m not sayin…. but, you know, the photos are on the walls of the Grove Park Inn, drive by and see them sometime…

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Suz says:

      And this is “weird” how? Cult of Weird is about urban legend and stories of the odd and stories that often get started and passed down from family to family of the spooky and supernatural.

      Reply
  13. Avatar
    peter moss says:

    Wells bought the place and spent much time fixing the place up.
    Glad someone with means got it so
    it will not be pile of rocks like so
    many English castles are today.
    Shop BONWORTH and support Seely’s castle restoration.

    Reply
  14. Avatar
    Greg Ness says:

    Loren W. Wells (CEO of Bon Worth) to be more specific, and his choice of 12 foot high barbed wired fencing surrounding the property is very tasteful.

    Reply
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      Michael says:

      people this day and age don’t know boundaries unless you make it 12′ high with barbed wire.
      that’s all thanks to vandals and vagrants. especially these days when the general population doesn’t have morals or thoughts of anything other than self. sadly that’s whats happening to this world. technology has propelled peoples knowledge into the future by having anything they could want at the tips of their fingers, but never having to work to earn it makes it lose some of its hard earned value.
      I think that is why people build up walls and fences.

      Reply
  15. Avatar
    JJF13 says:

    This is not owned by any type of religious order. It is privately owned by Mr. and Mrs. Wells. Mr. Wells is the owner or one of the higher ups of Bon Worth. It is his private estate.

    Reply

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