They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They’re altogether ooky, The Campbell Family.
The Creepy Clan Campbell
Shadows seem to grow longer and the nights are closing in as the year grinds wearily to its end. Nights get darker, and dark deeds abound. It is the foolish traveller that takes on the moors alone at night, especially at this time of year but it seems that you have done just that. You can hear howls off in the distance as the full moon’s silvery light twists branches into claws, ready to ensnare the poor traveller who lingers too long below their boughs. A chill down your spine quickens your step, you start to run. Don’t look back, just keep running. Through the mist and fog you can see the four twisted spires of a castle looming up ahead and you sprint to the door. You knock frantically. You hear it echo in the great hall within and slowly the door creaks open. At last you are safe, or are you? Perhaps your perils have just begun…
Ok, enough of all that, as it’s almost Halloween and we haven’t had a Clan Campbell blog for a while; I thought we could take a look at some of the spooky stories relating to Clan Campbell’s Inveraray Castle. Like any ancient house in Scotland, Inverary Castle is full to the cobweb covered rafters with ghosts; here are just a few of the best stories.
Ghost Riders in the Sky
‘Twas the year 1758 on the tenth day of July when Doctor William Hart and two companions decided to take some air in the grounds of Inverary Castle. The three men had been walking for many an hour, passing the time as three friends will; boasting about who was the more successful with the ladies and bickering about who among them was the bravest. The doctor and his friends were, to put it simply, in fine spirits. Coming up to the castle they saw a vision that would haunt them for the rest of their days. In the sky above the castle they could see what appeared to be a battalion of French soldiers fighting a group of Highlanders, the Highlanders were over-powered and slaughtered by the French. It wasn’t only the doctor and his friends that saw they ghostly gathering, a group of young women also claimed to have seen it. The tale takes a stranger turn when it was discovered a few weeks later that a group of Highlanders were indeed slaughtered by the French at the Battle of Crillon on the 8th of July.
There is a firmly held tradition in Clan Campbell that, two days before the chief of the clan makes his way into the next world (I’m being delicate but what I mean is – he dies, ceases to be, shuffles off this mortal coil) a ghostly galleon can be seen making its way up Loch Fyne toward Inveraray Castle. The boat doesn’t stop at the shore but keeps going, straight into the castle to pick up the chief and carry him from this world. The story also goes that one of the chiefs of the clan during the eighteenth century was so convinced that the boat was coming to take him away that he drank a big old batch of poison so as not to keep the boat’s crew waiting.
The Haunting Harpist.
In 1644 the Marquis of Montrose and his merciless men were advancing on Inveraray Castle, knowing what fate the fiends would have in store for him should he vacillate, Clan Campbell’s chief made like a banana and split. Unfortunately the chief, in his haste, must have forgotten to tell any of his staff that they too should do a vanishing act as, when the Marquis showed up, presumably in a real temper, he found the Chief’s harpist. Now, the story goes that the harpist was an Irish lad, for some reason this fact only incensed the Marquis further, perhaps he was prejudiced. “What what what,” he must have said to himself, “an Irishman working for that low down dirty scoundrel Campbell, why… I’ll show him.” Whether the “him” there alludes to Campbell or the Irish harpist I cannot say but what I can say is that both of them caught the brunt of the Marquis’ fury. The Marquis and his men decided that the reasonable thing to do was to just straight up murder the harpist and then cut him into four pieces which they arranged on the chief’s bed, punishing the Chief by removing his favourite harpist from his service (as well as causing one heck of a cleaning job) and punishing the harpist by removing his life. Today, we live in somewhat more civilised times, the reduced incidence of quartering harpists being one of the key indicators that we have moved on, the harpist on the other hand has supposedly not moved on. So attached has he become to the bed upon which his remains were laid that he decided to put up permanent residence. Visitors to the castle have reported feeling great sorrow and uncontrollable grief when they enter the room in which the bed is placed. The Library too has boasted incidents of disembodied harp music and unexplained headaches that come and go without explanation (most headaches do though, don’t they?). Harp music is also said to be heard when a member of Clan Campbell is about to die.
Please don’t let these rather spooky stories put you off visiting what is one of Scotland’s most beautiful castles. Inverary Castle is nestled in a stunning location by the banks of Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea loch. If you are planning on visiting, however, perhaps don’t go alone… If you need a hand to hold, why not try one of our new tartan teddy bears? They are fully customisable to any tartan you like, obviously any one of Clan Campbell’s tartans would look amazing, and they are 100% ghost repellent*.
*Experiences may vary, 1 out of 1 people asked found the teddy bears to be totally ghost repellent, ScotlandShop cannot guarantee the ghost repellent nature of our teddy bears, ScotlandShop will not be held liable for any hauntings that occur while in possession of a teddy bear.