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Shirley MacLaine: 'Downton Abbey Home Is Haunted'

June 9th, 2012 6:08pm EDT

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Movie veteran Shirley MacLaine had a spooky time shooting scenes for TV series Downton Abbey at Highclere Castle in England - because the old place was haunted and King Tut's tomb was in the basement.

The Oscar winner, who is a leading spiritualist, has joined the cast of the period drama as American socialite Martha Levinson, and she admits she was fascinated by the supernatural world that buzzed about the set.

She tells U.S. news show Access Hollywood, "(It was) a fantastic experience... (Highclere) was haunted and the pictures came off the wall."

And, as if that wasn't spooky enough, Egyptian Pharaoh King Tutankhamun's final resting place was a permanent fixture below the set.

The fifth Earl of Carnarvon helped archaeologist Howard Carter discover the tomb of the king, and collected Egyptian antiquities throughout his life.

The tomb was transferred to Highclere after the earl's mysterious death a year after the discovery of King Tut's treasure just outside Cairo - he died from an infected mosquito bite.

MacLaine adds, "They had the tomb of King Tut in the basement."

Myth has it that the earl's favorite dog at Highclere died at the same time as her master in Cairo. There is an Egyptian Exhibition Room in the castle's basement, and many historians believe the stately home which now doubles as Downton Abbey is cursed because of its links to the unearthed burial site of Tutankhamun.

Photo Credits: Andrew Evans / PR Photos