Cortachy Castle

Region : Tayside
Location : 7 miles NW of Forfar

Details : 15th century Z plan Courtyard Casle, much altered.

Paranormal Phenomena : The ghostly drummer of Cortachy is allegedly heard when a member of the Ogilvy family is to die at the castle. In folklore, the drummer boy betrayed the Ogilvys by failing to warn them of an approaching enemy force. He suffered their revenge by being thrown from the battlements inside his drum. Elliot o’Donnell’s brush with the Cortachy Castle Drummer may be read at horrormasters in PDF format.

To attest to the efficacy of the Drummer it is on record that At Christmas in 1844 a Miss Dalrymple was a guest at the castle. The evening Miss Dalrymple arrived she heard the beating of a drum as she dressed for dinner. During dinner she questioned her host about the identity of the drummer. The Lord and Lady Airlie paled at this question and told Miss Dalrymple that the last time the drummer was heard, the first Lady Airlie died shortly after. The next morning, Miss Dalrymple was treated to another serenade by drummer.

Spooked, Miss Dalrymple fled the castle immediately. Within six months, Lady Airlie died apparently by her own hand as there was a note left indicating that she knew the Drummer was beating for her.

It was on August 19, 1849 that the drummer gave another serenade to a visiting Englishman in a shooting party He questioned several about the drumming only to be told they had heard nothing. However he was told that the 9th Earl of Airlie had become seriously ill requiring Lord Ogilvy’s presence. The Earl died the next day.

In 1881 the drum was heard by both Lady Dalkeith and Lady Skelmersdale and that same night the then Lord Airlie died in North America. The family were later to learn that the sound of the drum was heard exactly one hour before his death