Region : Highland
Location : 5 miles SW of Nairn
Details : Dating from the late 14th century it was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor. The ancient medieval tower was built around a legendary holly-tree. The House has evolved over its 600 years history and later additions of the 17th century were all built in the Scottish vernacular style having slated roofs and crow-stepped gables of mellow local stone.
Paranormal Phenomena : A ghost wearing a blue velvet dress has been reported being seen in the castle : this is locally assumed to be Muriel Calder,an heiress who was kidnapped at the age of 12 and married to the Earl of Argyll’s son, Sir John Campbell in 1511.
Alternatively : The alleged ghost of a handless girl walks the environs of this castle. In local folklore she is claimed to be the ghost of a daughter of an earl of Cawdor, who defied her father’s will by courting the son of the chief of an enemy clan . When the earl discovered this he chased her to a chamber in the highest tower of the castle, where as she lowered herself from the window, her father severed her hands with his sword and sent her plummeting to her death.
In addition the apparition of John Campbell, 1st Lord of Cawdor is alleged to haunt the castle.
According to the Aberdeen Press and Journal of August 8, 1997, Alison Clark, the dowager’s personal assistant, said that many inexplicable things have been seen and heard there. In one recent episode, observed by two female tourists, the apparition, clad in a long blue dress made of velvet, put a hand on a railing in the gallery atop the drawing room. This could not have been a visitor as that would have tripped the security alarms. The episode occurred in early August 1997, as a mother and daughter, both English, had visited the drawing room for some four minutes. Becoming aware of a “presence,” they saw the blue-clad woman standing/floating in the minstrels’ gallery above. After approximately a minute, the thing disappeared. Other people in attendance did not spot anything. They reported the sighting to Alex Boyd, a security person.
The present dowager has seen Cawdor’s ghost. She considers any ghosts in residence to be friendly.