Haunting Of Inverioch House: The Murdered Spirit That Warned Of Impending Death

Once owned by the Colquhoun Clan, Inverioch House in Arrochar was host to a brutal double murder when the owner mistakenly thought his wife was having an affair. The clan believed that her spirit would return and let her presence be known just before the death of a member. Here is an account of a young boy who witnessed such an incident.

The Colquhoun Clan believed the ghost would appear when a member was going to die
The Colquhoun Clan believed the ghost would appear when a member was going to die

The summer of 1946 was a bad one for eight-year-old Ian Irwin: in turn, he had gone down with mumps and scarlet fever - diseases which even in the early antibiotic era were still claiming many deaths a year. In September he was taken by his mother and her parents to convalesce at an old house in Arrochar owned by a Mr Colquhoun, and here the delights of legitimately missing school and being raised to the dignity of adulthood by having a hotel room of his own, more than compensated for any discomforts he had suffered.

On the fourth night of his stay, Ian, accompanied by the Colquhoun dog, was dawdling along the top corridor towards what seemed to him an unjustifiably early bed when he became aware that one of the guests was following him. He heard no actual footsteps but was conscious, as people often are, that someone was behind him, and he turned with no more than mere curiosity to see who it was. The passage was completely empty, but as he looked along it slightly puzzled, the dog, with somewhat delayed reaction stopped its capering to stare with bristling hair and bared teeth towards the stairhead. Assuming he had been mistaken, and not being old or experienced enough to realise that the dog's behaviour was suspicious, Ian went on and was immediately conscious of the presence again. Almost at once, however, he knew by some strange sense that it was no longer in the corridor but had entered a room whose door he had just passed. The dog began its gamboling again, and as Ian reached his own room it scampered back down the stairs.

Ian said that he remembered quite clearly the emotions that swept through him when he realised that he might have been in contact with the supernatural - excitement mixed with pride, fear, and disbelief - but he was not sufficiently disturbed to go back down to his family or even to leave the light burning in his bedroom.

Awake early the following morning, he went down to the hall where the proprietor was tidying up. The boy's calculatedly causal question, "Is this house haunted?", brought a response that seemed out of all proportion to its importance. Extremely agitated, Mr Colquhoun asked why the boy should say such a thing and where had he been sleeping. The mutual embarrassment was fortunately relieved a few moments later by the arrival of Ian's grandfather, who was somewhat surprised as having his morning greeting to the proprietor answered by the peremptory order to look to his grandson, who seemed to have had a shock, but it was not until years later that he learned the explanation his grandfather had been given later that morning. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, Colquhoun said, when the highlands were beginning to settle down after the savage repression of the 1745 rebellion, and the harshest of the restrictions imposed by the English were being eased, an earlier member of the family and Colquhoun Clan set out from that house to walk to the clan gathering at Luss, some 9 miles away, a few miles along the way he realised that he had forgotten something and turned back, no doubt irritated that his own forgetfulness was costing him an hour or two's conviviality.

But annoyance turned to blind red fury as he entered his home and found his wife apparently in a compromising situation with a neighbour. In an uncontrollable rage, Colquhoun stabbed first his wife who, mortally injured, dragged herself along the upper passageway into one of the bedrooms, and then the neighbour. The whirlwind double slaughter took only seconds, and then the icy reaction set in as the dying friend gasped out the innocent purpose of his visit. A groom who had been in the house the whole time confirmed that no impropriety had taken place, and the gesture had been one of genuine and kindly help.

In agonies of remorse, Colquhoun wandered through the house until the following day when, just twenty-four hours after the death of his wife, he hanged himself. From then onwards, it was believed in the family that the dead woman made her presence felt to someone shortly before the death of a member.

In 1946, the apprehension seems to have been justified: the following day the proprietor's brother was killed in a road accident.

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