Castle Stuart in Inverness is reputed to be one of the oldest and most haunted castles in Scotland. Today, it is a luxury hotel and a holiday destination for golfers, but centuries ago, it was the scene of a terrible haunting.
Years ago, rumors spread around Inverness about Castle Stuart. The locals said that it was haunted. Servants had reported hearing disembodied footsteps on the stairs at midnight, horrible screams and the ghost of a headless man was seen prowling the corridors.
The Earl of Moray inherited the castle when his father died. He wanted to rent it out, but nobody would stay in it due to its fearsome reputation. The Earl came up with a way to prove that the castle was not haunted. He offered a reward to any man who was brave enough to spend the night in Castle Stuart. Word of the competition spread around the area, but not many people were willing to take up the challenge.
In the end, three local men volunteered for the job. The first was a Minister, the second was an Elder in the Presbyterian Church, the third was a Shoemaker and the fourth was a big, sturdy man by the name of Rob Angus.
The plan was that each of them would spend an entire night in the haunted room. When they entered, the door would be locked and it wouldn’t be unlocked until the morning. They wouldn’t speak a word of what they saw until after the competition was over.
On the first night, the Minister entered the haunted room. He found it looking remarkably peaceful. There was a fireplace, two chairs, a table with a brass lamp, a mirror and a bookcase. He made himself comfortable in one of the chairs and promptly fell asleep. That night, he had a very strange dream. A huge, blood-spattered man came into the room and sat down next to him. He awoke with a start to find nobody there.
On the second night, the church Elder was sitting up reading his Bible, when the door suddenly opened and a huge man came in. He was covered in blood. The church Elder sat there, paralyzed by fright. When he happened to glance in the mirror, he saw the grinning face of a disembodied skull. The ghostly man drew his dagger and advanced on the church Elder who fainted on the spot. He was found senseless the next morning and didn’t recover for a long time afterwards.
On the third night, the terrified shoemaker was locked into the haunted room. He sat down beside the fire and began to pray. At midnight, he heard a creak and turned to see the door slowly open. A tall shape stood in the doorway, staring at him. The Shoemaker was trembling with fear and his teeth were chattering. The dark figure had no feet, just cloven hooves. Suddenly, the thing sprang at him and he fainted in terror. They found him lying unconscious on the floor the next morning.
On the fourth night, it was the turn of Rob Angus. He was a big, stocky Scottish man who claimed he wasn’t afraid of anything. The servant who came to lock the room was an old friend of Rob Angus and the two spent the evening drinking whiskey. As night fell, the servant guided him upstairs to the haunted room.
As he locked the door, the servant said, “See you in the morning, Rob…”
Rob Angus replied, “You will find me as I am, or dead.”
The servant was the last man to see Rob Angus alive. When he returned in the morning, he was shocked to find the whole room had been turned upside down. All of the furniture was broken and the mirror had been smashed into tiny pieces. There was no sign of Rob Angus at all. The servant ran to the window and looked out. Outside, lying on the ground, was the bruised and battered corpse of Rob Angus. At some time during the night, he had fallen to his death. Nobody could tell if he jumped or if he was pushed.
There was a farmer who had been herding his sheep past Castle Stuart the night before. He said it was just after midnight and there was a full moon. All of a sudden, he heard loud screams and the sound of a terrible struggle. He looked up and saw a light in one of the Castle’s windows. As he watched in horror, he saw the body of a large man, explode through the glass, taking the frame with it. The man landed on the ground below with a sickening crunch.
The terrified farmer looked up again at the window of the haunted room and saw a hideous face grinning down at him. For the rest of his life, the farmer swore that the face he had seen was none other than the devil himself.
In 1798, Castle Stuart was damaged by a fierce storm that tore the roof off the East Tower. It was easier to block off the main part of the castle from the broken wing, so the East Tower with its staircases and haunted room was sealed off for more than 100 years.
In the 1930s a Canadian man called John Cameron made an attempt to repair the castle. One night, all of his workmates had gone home and he was working alone at the castle. He climbed up a ladder and came across an area of the plaster that seemed different to the rest and discovered it was a closed up doorway that led into the sealed up wing. He worked on alone and soon exposed some stone steps. Then, his chisel struck through into a void behind the wall.
At that moment he heard a disembodied voice cry out in a half-strangled wail. His heart began pounding and he tried to convince himself that the it was his imagination playing tricks on him. As he struck again with his chisel, he felt an invisible force hit him in the chest and he fell backwards off his ladder. The air was filled with a strange and fetid smell. He ran out of the building to his car, but as he stood there, breathing heavily, he knew he had to go back; he’d left all of his tools there, including his torch and all the temporary electric lights were blazing.
He left his car headlights full on, pointing at the door so that when he switched out the castle’s lights, he wouldn’t be left in complete darkness. The castle was silent. Mr Cameron soon found his tools, and then switched off the lights. Instead of still being in the bright beams of the headlights, he found he was in utter darkness. In a panic, he felt his way, stumbling towards the door. It had closed behind him. Suddenly, he felt icy fingers grab him and try to pull him back into the castle. His fear gave him strength and he managed to escape, making it outside.
He never entered the castle again.