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Ballechin House: The Mystery Of The Haunted Perthshire Mansion

A haunted house that was the source of controversy as long ago as 1897 when such public figures as Lord Onslow, Andrew Lang, and F. W. H. Myers had letters on the case published in The Times. There is still considerable discussion on the curious 'Haunting of Ballechin House."

Ballechin House, Strathtay, Near Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland
Ballechin House, Strathtay, Near Dunkeld, Perthshire, Scotland

In 1892, Lord Bute was told of the haunting by a Jesuit priest, Father Hayden, S.J., who said that he had heard loud and unexplained noises there while sleeping in one of the rooms. He changed his room but the loud noises seemed to follow him and he heard something which he described as resembling "a large animal throwing itself violently against the bottom of the bedroom door". He also heard raps and shrieks.

The following year Father Hayden met by chance a young woman who had been a governess at Ballechin House some twelve years previously and she told him that she had left because so many people complained of queer noises in the house. She volunteered this before Father Hayden told her he had been to Ballechin but it was subsequently established that the noises had occurred in the two rooms which he had occupied there.

In 1896, the house was let to a family for twelve months. They left after eleven weeks, forfeiting more than nine months' rent, having heard rattling, knocking, tremendous thumping on the doors, heavy footsteps, and other noises they could not explain. Bedclothes were pulled off beds; a silky rustling noise was heard when no lady was present; groans, frequently accompanied by heavy knocking sometimes aroused the whole household; a fanning sensation was reported, as though a bird was flying around; the sound of heavy breathing was heard - and felt; and an icy coldness usually preceded the manifestations.

Lord Bute rented the mansion and arranged for two psychic investigators, Colonel Lemesurier Taylor and Miss A Goodrick-Freer (Mrs Hans Spoer) to carry out research. They reported on the first morning after their arrival 'a loud clanging sound' was heard throughout the house and this noise was repeated at frequent intervals for two hours. The sound of voices was heard, and footsteps in locked and empty rooms; the noise of something being dragged along the floor; pattering sounds; explosive bangs; thumps; knocking, and other noises were reported by these experienced observers.

Messages were received during experiments with a Ouija board and one communicator, giving her name as "Ishbel", asked the investigators to go at dusk to a nearby glen. This they did and Miss Freer reported seeing, against the white snow background, a slim black figure, a woman dressed like a nun, moving slowly up the glen. She disappeared under a tree.

Miss Freer subsequently reported seeing the same figure many times; sometimes weeping, sometimes talking, "in a high note, with a quality of youth in her voice".

The case is a puzzling one and the assessment of Miss Goodrich-Freer is of little help in elucidating the mystery.

The Brown Lady Of Raynham Hall: The Harrowing Story Of The Ghost Of Lady Dorothy Walpole


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