Region : Aberdeenshire
Location : 5 miles north of Stonehaven, at muchall
Details : Muchalls Castle was originally a 13th century stone tower house, founded by the Frasers. The small L-shaped castle was started in 1613 by Alexander Burnett of Leys who acquired the land at Muchalls from the Frasers and, in began building a castle and in 1627 his son, Sir Thomas Burnet finished the project. It has very fine plaster ceilings and a secret staircase. A chapel was included in the original design which served the Episcopalian communities of Muchalls and Skateraw. There is supposed to be a lost underground passage leading to the smugglers’ cove at Gin Shore.
Paranormal Phenomena : There is a ghostly link between the Gin Shore and Muchalls Castle, which lies about a mile inland. This 17th century castle, which is noted for its superb plaster ceilings, is said to be haunted by a Green Lady. It also has a secret staircase and a mysterious underground tunnel leading to a cave at the Gin Shore. According to one story the Green Lady is a girl who was drowned while on her way to meet her lover, a gin smuggler. Back in 1896, the Aberdeen Free Press came up with another story about the Muchalls cave. It said that long ago a piper had gone into it playing his bagpipes – and had never returned.
According to one report, the smugglers’ tunnel at Muchalls was sealed up by Lord Robertson, Lord Justice General of Scotland, who was tenant of Muchalls Castle at the end of the nineteenth century and took a jaundiced view of smuggling activities on his doorstep. Today, guidebooks usually describe the passage as ‘lost’. Like most local people, Davie Cameron is sceptical about the mysterious tunnel, but he says there is a cave – he has been inside it. That was back in the 1930s. There was no sign of any underground passage then, for the cave was completely blocked by huge boulders.
This may have been the ‘famous cave’ mentioned by the Aberdeen Free Press in May, 1896. Although it was commonly believed that the cave went underground to Muchalls Castle, the only information the newspaper could get about it from local people was ‘mostly vague theory’, and the same could be said to-day. The Free Press described how two men had set off to explore the cave -‘or, like the piper, return no more’. They found that it was 300 ft long, with the height from the entrance to the top of the rock close on 200 ft, while the width at the entrance was 41 ft. The first part of it was ‘a spacious vaulted chamber’ 130 ft long, 16 ft wide and from 40 ft to 50 ft high.
‘Above the entrance inside,’ said the report, ‘the roof is covered with three different species of beautiful ferns in full foliage. The next part of the cave for 100 ft is little more than 3 ft wide, in one or two places being only 16 in. The height…”
A tourist visiting the castle in the 1970`s was convinced that, when in an upstairs dining room she saw a girl facing a wall. ‘As if looking into a mirror and patting her hair into place. Her dress was terribly old-fashioned and was an unusual lime colour. ‘When the visitor entered the room the apparition vanished. Years earlier Mr. Maurice A. Simpson, the owner of the castle, told me that he has on one occasion experienced ` a frigid icy atmosphere, nothing to do with the heating system` when in the same room. The room has a history of being haunted by a young woman in a green dress. One of the first authentic reports was when a guest of Lord Robertson saw her.