Haunted Culzean Castle, Ayrshire and Arran
School trips were often boring days spent endlessly travelling on the motorway, only to arrive at a historical curio that could hold a child’s interest for, oh about a minute. Not so Culzean Castle , the Ayrshire seat of the Kennedy Clan.
Culzean Castle endures in the memory, long after the more historically significant New Lanark fades into an opaque memory. It is not the magnificent walled gardens; clematis and choisya were never appreciated by the ten-year-old. It wasn’t its Gothic revivalist architecture. Nor was it for its location on the Firth Of Clyde; after all, every kid had seen the seaside. No, what was so memorable about Culzean Castle was that is was haunted, it was terrifying and, yes, everybody saw a ghost that day.
A doorstep sized wedge of Arran Cheddar before bedtime could not replicate the sort of nightmare that Culzean Castle could. While 2000AD comics were banned in the house to try and stem the flow of nightmares, it was stories of the Clan Kennedy. Of murder, of misty shapes in the night. Accounts of a piper who blows up in the night sent beads of cold sweat running down the spine. Not to mention stumbling across the vagaries of the portrait; those eyes are definitely following me, that was the cry.
A schoolchild’s imagination is a fertile lodging for myth and legend, but Culzean Castle’s location has a bit of history about it. Take the myths of Sawney Bean , the cannibalistic redneck family that lived in one of the many caves that fringe the South-Ayrshire coastline. They were bad enough. But an old building, one with hundreds of years of history behind it; now that was terrifying.
There is no shortage of anecdotal evidence to support the notion that Culzean is haunted. Scotland’s very own Ghostbusters may not be maverick scientists, spat out by the higher educational establishment, but they certainly are convinced of the undead roaming the corridors at Culzean. Supernatural Scotland, a team of mediums, declared the building haunted after spending some time there channeling the spirits.
The Blue Bedroom had, what new-age revivalists would have it, bad energy. So too the library, the drawing room, the Dining Room and the Round Room. Indeed, so emphatic were they in declaring the place haunted that the only way you’d get us to stay there is to pitch a tent in those walled gardens. After all, the piper is always the first to go; and anyway, there has yet to be a horror film to star an undead piper haunting the living. At least, not yet.
1 Response to Haunted Culzean Castle
From Martin F. Kelly on 13th October 2010
This brought a lot of memories back to me. I was also taken to Culzean Castle for a school trip. I thought it was a very well written article and when I mentioned it to my two teenagers, they want to visit the ghostly place as well. So we are going during this school break.
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