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Meggernie Castle

In the heart of historic Perthshire lies Glenlyon, which
is rich in legends of fairies and goblins as well as stories
of ghosts and people with second sight.

As you enter the Pass of Glenlyon from the village of
Fortingall, Britain’s oldest living tree, the Fortingall
Yew, is to be found by the side of the churchyard wall
where it is known to have stood for well over 1,500
years. The river Lyon leaps over the crags through a
deep gorge on its way to join the river Tay. The
mountains rise straight from the banks of the river,
which flows from Loch Lyon at the head of the glen, and
at many places stand remaining parts of the primeval
Caledonian forest.

About halfway up the glen near the Bridge of Balgie a
long avenue runs through an archway along the bank of
the Lyon leading to Meggernie Castle, the oldest part
of which was built about 1585. Later additions were
made to the castle by Captain Campbell, who was in
charge of the troops carrying out the massacre of
Glencoe in 1692.

The haunting of Meggernie Castle is attributed to
the time when the castle was owned by the Chief of the
Clan Menzies, who was very jealous of his young and
beautiful wife. In a fit of madness he murdered his
young wife in the tower of the castle.

Menzies then concealed the body in a chest and placed the chest in a closet between two rooms in the tower. After locking the tower and making sure no one would enter, he left the castle at night and did not return for some time.

On his return, Menzies spread the story that he had been travelling on the Continent with his young wife and that she had been accidentally and tragically drowned. The story about the death of his wife by drowning was believed by the local people; Menzies then decided to dispose of the remains in the nearby graveyard in the castle park.

According to legend he cut the body in two and crept
down to the graveyard in the dead of night where he
managed to bury the lower half. The identifiable part
of the body was left in the closet. The following morning
Menzies was found dead at the entrance to the tower in
circumstances which made it clear that he had been
murdered while on his way to remove the identifiable
part of his wife’s corpse for burial.

No person was ever arrested for putting to death the
murderous Menzies and the true circumstances of his
death must be left to guesswork, but the recorded
experience of two English guests staying in the castle in
the year 1862, together with other experiences in living
memory, confirm the reputed haunting of Meggernie
Castle.

The two English guests were each given a large room
in the tower which forms the oldest part of the castle.
Before retiring for the night, one of them was fastening
the door leading into his room from the hallway, when
he noticed another door in the room which seemed to
connect through to the room his friend occupied. The mystery door appeared to be sealed and without a key-
hole. He managed to shout through to his friend and
asked him if he also had a door on his side of the wall.
His friend replied that a door in the same position on his
side was in a small closet but the door appeared to be
nailed or screwed up with no sign of a lock or keyhole.

They visited each other to see what the door looked
like but, unable to explain the mystery, each went
eventually to his own room and was soon fast asleep.
In the early hours of the morning the guest who first
discovered the mystery door was awakened by the feel-
ing of a hot kiss on his cheek, which seemed to burn
through to the bone. As he jumped out of bed he saw the upper half of a woman’s body floating away from
his bedside and through the sealed door into the next
room. He rushed to the door expecting to be able to open it but found that it was just as securely sealed as before.
Finding the mystery door secure he then took up a
lamp and went downstairs, but he did not see or hear
anything unusual. He did not wish to disturb his friend
in the adjoining room and so he returned to bed to await
the daylight.

When daylight came he heard his friend stirring in the next room and called through the mystery door, saying that he had had a terrible night with little sleep. ‘So have I,’ replied his friend, who suggested that strange happenings had taken place in his room. Before they described their experiences to each other he said that he would give his version to an independent person. Later the same day he described his experience to the person who was host to the two men. He stated that he was awakened by a strange light at about 2 AM and at the same time saw a female form at the foot of his bed. The form came along the side of the bed and bent over, but as the guest raised himself the form turned away and went into a small dressing room which had no windows and was built within the thick walls. The phantom figure appeared to be without legs and despite a search he found no trace of any intruder. Needless to say the two men had their rooms changed for the next night.

According to local legend, about the year 1849 the
remains of the head and shoulders of a dismembered
female body were found under the floor of one of the tower rooms while repairs were being carried out on the
castle. The bones were taken away and buried. It was
thought then that the phantom would never be seen
again, but the later experience of the two English guests
confirmed that the haunting continued.

Within living memory, a local doctor from Aberfeldy
who was attending a patient in the castle had to stay the night. The doctor was well aware of the phantom legend and the actual room in the tower had been pointed out to him on a previous visit. The doctor was lodged for the night in a room within the tower immediately below the legendary haunted room. The doctor retired to rest on the bed, fully dressed and with the bedside light switched on. He thought that be might be called to attend to his patient during the night but, being tired out, he was soon asleep. In due course the doctor was awakened by something which appeared to indicate that a person had entered the room. The bedside light was still burning but from his position in the bed the doctor was unable to see the door. On looking round the room he saw a human head and shoulders without body or legs move along one of the walls and then suddenly disappear. The doctor denied that his experience at Meggernic was in any way a nightmare; and if it was a dream it was the most vivid he had ever known The people of Glenlyon maintain that the hauntin
still takes place. Claims have also been made that ti
buried half of the body haunts the little graveyard
the castle park.

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