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The Piper's Warning

Until 1729, 12th century Duntrune Castle was the home of the Campbells of Duntrune and is haunted by the ghost of a piper who was sent to spy out the land and was killed violently as a result.

In the 17th century Ulsterman MacDonnel Coll Ciotach, known as "The Left-Handed One", landed at Kintyre and marched northwards, destroying everything in his path that was associated with the Campbells. Finally he reached Duntrune and sent his piper in to spy out the strength of the castle's fortifications and garrison.

The piper was admitted immediately locked in one of the turrets. Realising the Duntrune was impregnable and that he himself had no way of escape, the piper decided that the only way to warn his Irish Lord was to signal him with his pipes. Looking from the turret window he saw MacDonnel Coll Ciotach's ship at anchor on the Loch and immediately began playing the Pibroch - "The Piper's Warning". The Irishman heard the warning and turned his ship about. Realising what the piper had done the Campbells cut off his fingers and then had him butchered.

For many years the castle was haunted by the sound of the Pibroch. In 1910, during alterations, the fingerless skeleton of a man was found hidden in the ancient walls. In the 1960's, whilst the kitchens were being modernised, workmen found the skeletal remains of two hands under the kitchen floor. Although the skeleton, minus hands, was given a "Christian burial" in 1910 by the then tenant, who was a Scottish clergyman, this does not appear to have stopped strange happenings that have occurred from time to time since. Strange knockings on doors have been reported, pictures have fallen from walls for no apparent reason, and on one occasion a number of heavy pewter pots were thrown to the floor as if by invisible hands.

It is thought that one reason for the continued phenomena is that the piper was almost certainly a Roman Catholic and being buried in accordance with Protestant Rites has probably done nothing to ease his peace of mind. Perhaps the intervention of a Catholic priest is what he wants.



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