Friday, October 4, 2013

Clan Campbell and Their Ghostly Castles...

As I have already mentioned a time or two in my various blogs, there is plenty of Scottish blood, flowing through this author's veins. Blood that's traced through the Ferguson's, Forbes's, Campbell's, McCullough's, and Robison's, to name just a few. 

This, in all likelihood, is the reason my novel, "Spirit of the Knight," now in Audio (and you should hear Dawson McBride do his incredible Scottish Brogue) takes place in Scotland. Therefore, I find myself in a "ghostly castle" frame of mind once again. However, this time, I wanted to take a look at some castles that once belonged to my ancient Scottish ancestors. So, first up, the Campbell Clan.

Clan Campbell crest. With permission of

I pick up the Campbell line through my great-great grandmother, MaryAnn Campbell, daughter of Joel S. Campbell and Rachel Fuller—and please note, my Campbell ancestors immigrated to America well before the massacre at Glencoe, in the year 1692 (ahem). My immigrating ancestor, Robert Campbell, imprisoned In Canongate Tolbooth, was first banished and then transported to the New World. He arrived on the ship "Henry and Francis," September 5, 1685, imported as an indentured servant by Lord Neill Campbell.

The history of this ancient clan traces back to the thirteenth century and over those centuries they grew in power and influence. As a result they occupied at least eighteen different castles. As you can probably imagine, some of them are reputed to house a few ghosts.

Dunstaffnage Otter

Dunstaffnage Castle, seized from the MacDougall clan by Robert the Bruce in the year 1308, and then placed in the care of the Campell clan, is reputed to have a Glaistig fairy-like specter, dressed in green, flitting about the place(or at least she did until the castle burned down).  Her apparent purpose for hanging about after her death? To forewarn her clansman of major events about to befall them, both good and bad, by joyously singing or mournfully crying, respectively.

Cawdor Castle, Scotland 1901 R,W, Billings

The Cawdor castle, became a Campbell property in the year 1510 when Muriel Calder married Sir John Campbell. A lovely ghostly lady, clad in a blue velvet dress calls this castle home. Perhaps the ghost of Muriel herself? Many are inclined to believe so.

Inverary by StaraBlazkova
Inveraray Castle, the current seat of the Clan Campbell Chief, boasts several ghosts. The one most often reported is the harpist. A couple of different stories can be found about this particular specter's origin. Some stories indicate that the hapless musician was hung for spying on the lady of the house through a keyhole. The other states that he was killed during an attack by the Montrose clan. Either way, his ghost can still be seen wandering the halls of the castle, dressed in his Campbell tartan and every single day, one can hear his ghostly music coming from the library. This castle is also home to the ghost of a young woman, believed to have been murdered by the Jacobites.

Then, if one sees a ghostly galleon sailing up Loch Fynne,  legend tells us the death of a Campbell Chieftain is imminent.  They say that even when this ship reaches land it continues its journey until it reaches the castle and claims it's victim.

One final story concerning this castle... While walking the grounds at Inveraray in the year 1785, a trio of men looked skyward and witnessed a fierce battle taking place between Scottish and French soldiers. During the melee, the Highlanders were forced to retreat, leaving their dead comrades behind. Elsewhere, two women also reported this same phenomenon and on this very same day. Several weeks later, news arrived from American shores. The battle of Ticonderoga, fought on July 8, 1758, claimed the lives of three hundred Scottish soldiers... 

So, is anyone up for an overnight visit to one of Scotland's haunted castles?


  1. You obviously know your Clan Campbell, Debbie. It's interesting all of the tales you've unearthed in tracking your own genealogy. There's something about castles and ghosts that naturally seem to go together. I got chills reading about the link between the Battle of Ticonderoga and the visions reported by others.

    Wouldn't it be great to explore one of these old castles. Talk about ambiance and firing creativity. Although....I'd want to be there in daylight of course. Just to be on the safe side :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by Mae and for being brave enough to leave a comment. I also read another account where a parent saw the ghost of his son who got killed in the battle of Ticonderoga...creepy!

    And I'm with you...I just can't look at a castle without wondering what kind of unearthly creature inhabits the thing. Looking forward to your post on ghosts and vampires....