Queensberry House Ghost: A Cannibalistic Madman, A Murdered Kitchen Hand & A Cursed Family

Queensberry House in Edinburgh is home to a disturbing story of a brutal killing by a cannibalistic son of a Duke. The family was said to have been cursed by the townsfolk and the screams of the unfortunate victim have been said to be heard for centuries after.


Queensberry House in Edinburgh is said to be haunted by the victim of a lunatic cannibal
Queensberry House in Edinburgh is said to be haunted by the victim of a lunatic cannibal

Queensberry House, in Edinburgh's Canongate, was used in its last years as a hospital for the long-term care of the elderly and infirm. It was first built in the 1680s as a home for William Douglas, the first Duke of Queensberry. The Duke spent a great deal of time at Queensberry House, preferring life in the capital to staying at Drumlanrig Castle, his other residence.

A disturbing story about Queensberry House gave rise to reports that it was haunted. It is said that there was one particular member of Queensberry's family who was insane, the Duke's son. He was a powerful man and had to spend most of his life in confinement within the family home, both for his own safety and that of others. One night, however, he was left at Queensberry House, locked in his room while the rest of the household went visiting elsewhere overnight. Only a kitchen hand remained at Queensberry House, tending to the kitchen fire. The young lad was dozing by the fire when he was disturbed by the sound of footsteps. Rousing himself and sitting up, he was horrified to see the madman standing in the doorway of the kitchen. He had broken out of his room. The poor lad froze in terror as the madman came towards him, a maniacal gleam in his eye. The kitchen hand was young, small, and slight. He was no match for his powerful opponent. Nor could he reason with his attacker - how can you reason with someone who has no grasp of reality whatsoever? He was helpless, abandoned to his fate at the hands of a lunatic.


The fate of the kitchen hand was dreadful. Terrible visions of his torment were to fill the nights of the rest of the household with terrible dreams for a long time to come. When they returned the next day to Queensberry House, the kitchen fire had gone out but the terrible smell of burning flesh filled the air. In the kitchen, they found the charred remains of the boy still tied to the spit where he spent the last agonising moments.


He had, quite literally, been roasted alive. The stories tell of how the family discovered the Duke's son, still chewing on the cooked flesh of the kitchen hand when they returned.



The Duke attempted to hide the horrific cannibalism that his son had carried out, but eventually, the secret got out and became a great scandal in the city, no one was punished for the crime but the townspeople apparently cursed the Duke and his family.


The reported curse was said to haunt the family for decades, they were plagued with misfortunes, suicides, and stories of misery.


Even though 300 years have passed, it is still reported that at night in the kitchen you can still hear the agonising screams of the boy that was cooked alive by the cannibalistic lunatic on that fateful night.

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