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In his first guest post for The Paranormal Scholar, the paranormal investigator David Barrett explores three of the most haunted castles in Ayrshire, Scotland.
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3 – Culzean Castle
Culzean Castle, near Maybole, was built in the late 1700s and was once the home of the chief of the Kennedy Clan, the 10th Earl of Cassillis, David Kennedy. As he liked people to know he was wealthy, the castle was built into a large estate, with extensive gardens, glasshouses, and ponds. Inside the castle is a large staircase, and a collection of paintings.
When the castle was handed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1945, it was agreed that the top floor apartment be given to President Dwight D. Eisenhower to recognise his role in World War Two. He stayed at the castle four times.
Asides from its splendor, Culzean Castle is also known for its ghostly inhabitants. Apparently, there are at least seven spirits residing in the castle. The most famous of these is the piper. Believed to be an ancestor of the Kennedy Clan, it is said that visitors to Culzean can hear him play before a Kennedy gets married.
Another paranormal occurrence at the castle is the misty shape which has been seen on the staircase. It is thought to be the tragic spirit of a princess who was killed in the castle. A lady in a ball gown has also been seen, sometimes in the gardens or on the staircase. Both staff and visitors to the castle have also reported witnessing strange mists in the dungeons.
2 – Brodick Castle
Brodick Castle, on the Isle of Arran, was built over four centuries, from the 1200s to the 1600s. Throughout its lifetime this imposing island castle has stood witness to many great moments in military history.
During the Wars of Scottish Independence, the castle was held by the English. In 1307, it was retaken by Scotland. Later, in 1503, it fell into the hands of the Duke of Hamilton. Hamilton rebuilt the castle in 1510. However, over the following years, due to various clan battles, it had to be rebuilt numerous times. Oliver Cromwell’s troops took over the castle in 1610, and significantly extended it. In the 17th century, the castle returned to the Hamilton family.
With such a blood-soaked history, it is unsurprising that the castle has produced so many ghost sightings.
It is said there are three spirits in the castle. A male apparition has been spotted in the library. The spirit of a grey lady is also said to haunt the castle. During Brodick Castle’s bloody history, three ladies starved to death in the dungeons. The grey lady is thought to be one of these unfortunate women. The women, it is reported, had been placed in the dungeons due to having the plague.
The final spirit of Brodick Castle is that of white deer. It is said to appear whenever the chief of the Hamiltons is about to die.
1 – Ardrossan Castle
On the west coast of Scotland lies Ardrossan Castle. Most of the castle is now ruined, but the keep remains, and dates from the 15th century. The original castle was destroyed in the Wars of Scottish Independence, and was not rebuilt until the 15th century. However, it was fated to be ruined once again, by Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century. His troops removed some of the stones, using them to build Ayr Citadel.
Today, the ruined castle is reportedly haunted by William Wallace. On stormy nights, he is said to wander the castle’s grounds.
Another ghostly tale relates to Fergus Barclay, a skilled horseman in the area. He was known as the De’il of Ardrossan. Legend has it that his skills were due to his magical bridle. It was through a deal with the Devil that Fergus obtained the skill-bestowing object: in exchange for his soul he was given the bridle. Yet, Fergus somehow managed to trick the Devil into giving his soul back. Once the Devil realised what happened he was furious. It is said that after attacking the castle in a hellish rage, his footprints were imprinted into the rocks forevermore.
This article was written by David Barrett, the Scottish paranormal investigator. To find out more about his research, purchase his book, “My Life As A Scottish Paranormal Investigator”, here.
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