Tales of Perthshire Mysteries and Ghost stories run wild. In surroundings as romantic and remote as the Perthshire Scottish Highlands, it doesn't surprise me that all manner of stories abound. It's the perfect setting for these types of things. Wild and stormy weather, fog, and the expanse of the Perthshire landscape all lend a hand in making the beginning of a story that starts, "It was a dark and stormy night....."
Let me make it clear, I take these ghost stories as just fun and am in no way endorsing the paranormal, or maybe I do ...... I do not necessarily doubt the supernatural happenings and hauntings that people have experienced, but simply question the origins of the activity. I have my own opinions and that's all I have to say about it.
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Many of Scotland's castles are reputedly haunted and have their ghost stories. So, no self respecting castle is without its own bogle, and many have two or three, or whole parties of Ogilvies crying out their last, locked in an airless chamber. What is true is that these strongholds saw more than their fair share of cruel and bloody deeds. The Scottish nobility, like others of the time from other countries, were a wild and lawless lot, and their treatment of their own families and servants was often as vicious as their dealings with their bitterest enemies.
Nobody knows why apparitions and disturbances occur in particular locations, but certain factors seem to make this more likely. A violent death, either murder or suicide, appear to be the basis of many of the stories, but there is also an element of injustice or guilt. A stone building or some other focus is also usually involved, disturbances sometimes being restricted to one room, stair or area.
These tales can be divided into three areas. The first is women and men who died violently and unjustly, the second is men whose apparition returns after death, characters simply too evil to rest, and the third heralds of events, sometimes good but usually bad, in a family, such as deaths and marriages.
Now, without further adieu, here are some ghost stories of haunted castles and mansions, with ghostly happenings, that surround the remote glens and hills of Perthshire.
Green Jean of Ashintully CastleAshintully Castle is approximately two miles NE of Kirkmichael, Perthshire. It is a 16th-century castle tower house built by the Spalding familly, and is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of Green Jean. She inherited the castle and lands in her own right, but her uncle wanted the property. In one of the castle chambers, he murdered Jean, who was wearing a green dress, and her servant was stuffed up the chimney. Jean's ghost is said to be seen at the family burial ground, beside her memorial, and her footsteps can be heard in the castle.
Two other ghosts are also said to haunt the grounds. One is amessenger, whowas wrongly murdered for not having delivered a message. The other was a tinker who was hanged for trespassing and cursed the family.
Garth Castle is six miles west of Aberfeldy, Perthshire. The castle stands on steep crag, is a plain 14th-century keep , with a strong iron yett - a metal hinged gate made of interwoven iron bars. It was built by Alexader Stewart, the Wolf of Badenoch, Lord of Badenoch and Earl of Buchan, illegitemate son of Robert II. He torched Elgin Cathedral and town as well as Forres after being excommunicated by the bishop of Elgin for deserting his wife. He died in 1396 and is buried in Dunkeld cathedral.
In 1502 Nigel Stewart of Garth attacked nearby Weem castle, burned it, and took Sir Robert Menzies prisoner. Stewart put Menzies in the vaulted dungeon in Gart, threatening to have him killed, unless he signed away his lands. Stewart was lucky not be executed for the crime, only the intervention of the Eark of Atholl saved him. Later he was suspected of murdering Mariota, his wife, whoseapparition is said to be seen here. Stewart was imprisoned at Garth until his death in !554.
Grandtully Castle is two and a half miles NE of Aberfeldy, Perthshire. Built by the Stewarts in the 14th-century, it is an altered and extended tower house, to which has been added a large mansion, in the same style, in 1893. The castle was used by the Marquis of Montrose; General Mackay; the Earl of Atholl; the Earl of Mar in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, and Bonnie Prince Charlie in the rebellion of 1745. Following an earlier Jacobite, uprising after the defeat of government forces at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, an officer of Mackay's is said to have been shot dead in one of the angle-turrets. The blood stained the floor which is said to be permanently visible.
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