Perth is home to one of the most haunted places in Scotland, Huntingtower Castle. Come Explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.
In the summer of 1582, the castle was occupied by the 4th Lord Ruthven, who was also the 1st Earl of Gowrie, and his family. Gowrie was involved in a plot to kidnap the young King James VI, son of Mary Queen of Scots. During 1582 Gowrie and his associates seized the young king and held him, prisoner, for 10 months. This kidnapping is known as the 'Raid of Ruthven' and the Protestant conspirators behind it hoped to gain power through controlling the king. James eventually escaped and actually forgave Gowrie, but after a second abortive attempt by Gowrie and others to overthrow him, Gowrie was finally executed and his property (including Huntingtower) was forfeited to the crown.
The Castle and lands were restored to the Ruthven family in 1586. The king visited for a week in September 1587. However, in 1600, brothers John and Alexander Ruthven were accused, some say falsely, of attempting to kidnap King James, and were killed in Gowrie House. The Ruthven home in Perth, by an overwhelming number of the king's armed men. This time, the king was less merciful. In addition to seizing the estates, he abolished the name of Ruthven and decreed that any successors would be ineligible to hold titles or lands. Thus the House of Ruthven ceased to exist and by royal proclamation, the castle was renamed Huntingtower.
The Castle remained in the possession of the crown until 1643 when it was given to the family of Murray of Tullibardine (from whom the Dukes of Atholl and Mansfield are descended). John Murray, 1st Duke of Atholl resided in the Castle, where his wife Lady Mary Ross bore a son 7 February 1717. The Castle began to be neglected and after Lady Mary died in 1767, it was abandoned as a place of residence except by farm laborers. The last inhabitants of the castle were the family of the castle custodian Niel Cowan. The Cowan family of Niel, Margaret, Alexander and Lorraine left in late 2002.
Today, the castle can be visited by the public and is sometimes used as a venue for marriage ceremonies. It is in the care of Historic Scotland (open all year; entrance charge).
With such intense violent and dark history, certainly, this castle cannot escape from having supernatural activities that call to us with great chill us and aghast. And it does.
At one time, the castle consisted of two tower houses standing side by side. Although they have been joined since there is still a gap of over nine feet between the towers. Legend has it that Dorothea; the young daughter of the 1st Earl of Gowrie was in love with one of the castle servants and was sneaking into his room at night. During one of these clandestine meetings, the young lovers heard the voice and footsteps of her father coming up the stairs. With no-where to hide the desperate young lady ventured out into the battlements and, just as Gowrie entered the room, she threw herself across from one tower to the other and made her way back to her own room undetected. Even today this gap is known as the Maiden’s Leap.
Huntingtower Castle has long been associated with the ghost of a lady dressed in green. Locally, she is known as Lady Greensleeves. Could she be Dorothea? Many believe of her reputation of being one of the scariest of ghosts, a harbinger of death.
Don't be too hasty in looking for her. Folks have been saying for years if you are unfortunate enough to catch a glimpse of this green specter it signifies that death has one bony hand on your shoulder and is calling you. In other words, for if you see her you will die within the year. Not a good prophecy, huh?
Well, here is one tale that verifies Dorothea's prophetic dark ability. A traveler once was walking past the castle on a dark, stormy night. The rain was lashing down and the wind was howling. As he was passing, the traveler noticed a light on in the castle and chancing his luck he knocked on the door. When the door opened he asked if he could shelter for the night in the castle and he was invited in. After sitting by the fire his host showed him upstairs into a spare bedroom. The weary traveler was settling down to go to sleep when he heard someone gently sobbing at the foot of the bed.
As he sat up to look, in the night's glare he saw a spectrum of a young lady. She moved around the bed towards him with her arm outstretched. The terrified man screamed, which brought the owner rushing into the room and the woman vanished. Too scared to stay, the traveler left to carry on his journey. The next morning his body was found in the River Tay. He had been drowned trying to cross at a ford.
Another story tells of a farmer that was returning from Perth market when he was attacked near the castle. He was left for dead by the roadside. When found, just before gasping his last breath, he told of seeing a Green lady on the castle battlements moments before the assault.
But maybe Lady Greensleeves is just unfairly misunderstood. Our final tale can prove that her intention is more forewarning and protection, that a Reaper’s call to action.
A young boy who lived locally was very ill and his mother took him to the castle for assistance. Here he was given a bed to die in with comfort. His mother went into Perth to get a minister for the lad’s final hours. When she returned, her son had miraculously recovered and was sitting up in bed. He told her that as he lay there drifting in and out of consciousness, he was aware of a lady in green sitting by the bed and stroking his head. As she stroked him he started to feel stronger and the sickness left him. Could this story reflect her goodness versus her darkness?
Our sister company, Mysterious Adventures Tours offers an amazing trip to Mystically Ancient Scotland, with an itinerary packed with the most haunted properties in Scotland. Be sure to go and take a look at our amazing 9-day, 8-nine tour that we are offering.
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