Monday, June 9, 2014

The Ghosts of Brodick Castle...

With "Spirit of the Knight" now in Audio, and narrated by the phenomenal Dawson McBride, let's take a look at the ghostly shenanigans at Brodick Castle.

On the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde lies this magnificent--dating from the 13th century--red sandstone castle. 

  Carbon Print of Brodick Castle by Alexander Hastie Millar, circa 1880
There is a long and bloody history involving this castle and its surrounding lands. In the fifth century, Gaelic invaders from Antrim arrived on the shores of Arran and built a fortress, thereby expanding their kingdom of Dalriada. By the thirteenth century, the Isle came under the rule of both Magnus of Mann and Dougal of the Isles. Throughout the centuries in between, wars and conflicts were common. In 1266, and by the Treaty of Perth, Scotland took possession of the land.

After his defeat at the Battle of Methven, Robert the Bruce (who is actually mentioned in my novel) escaped to the Isle of Arran and it is here, that he had his legendary encounter with the spider. If you've never heard the legend, it goes something like this:

Our melancholy, about-to-give-up, future king took refuge inside a cave. A tiny spider caught his eye. Time and again the spider would fall while trying to weave its web. Time and again it persevered until it finally succeeded in completing its task. The unfolding scene inspired the Bruce. He then went on to defeat the English at the Battle of Bannockburn.

Moving right along... After the original structures were demolished by 1544, the castle would rise again in 1588 and it is those portions of the castle that remain to this day. With a history like that, reports of a ghost or two shouldn't surprise anyone.

First up, we have the specter of an old man dressed in a green velvet coat. He is most often seen reading, which seems quite reasonable since he is reported to haunt the library. Witnesses have also reported a man with a different description walking along a long corridor inside the castle. Should he notice that you have noticed him, he will quickly disappear. No one is sure who they are or why they haunt the place.

Then we have the Grey Lady. She wanders the castle halls, the turnpike stairs leading to the east tower and battlements, and even the kitchen. Two different stories are assigned to this ghost. One version tells us that she died in the dungeons after contracting the Black Death. She didn't die of the disease, rather she died of starvation. The second version states that she is the ghost of a young servant girl who fell in love with the Captain of the Guard. An ensuing pregnancy resulted in her dismissal. Her parents disowned her shortly thereafter. The humiliation and shame drove her to Wine Port Quay, where she drowned herself in the murky depths of the water. Could it be that rather than two different stories, we have two different female spirits wandering about the castle?

Brodick also has an omen...if you should happen to encounter a White Stag, then in all likelihood, the chief of Clan Hamilton is about to die. Should you experience the Stag, would you tell someone or just keep that information to yourself?


  1. Spine-tingling tales as always. If I spotted the stag, I think I would definitely have to blab the news to someone . . . very nervous and frightened, no doubt. I've come to realize I'm a wee bit superstitious, LOL, which means I should probably stay away from rumored haunts!

    Cheering you on as you embark on your blog tour!

    1. Or at the very least, bring a very brave friend along with you! Thanks for stopping by Mae and for leading the cheers!