Scotland’s Famous Cawdor Castle
A Scottish Ghost Story
©1927 Submitted by Louise Righman

Driven From Her Castle By a Shrieking Ghost

Scotland’s Famous Cawdor Castle where Peggy Ogilvie’s grand mother acquired the love of castles Peggy Inherited but lost after a gruesome session with a ghost.

      It was like a Cinderella romance—the marriage of pretty Ogilive, twenty-two-year-old kindergarten teacher of Momence, IL, and Andrew Waddington Day, middle aged Chicago packing house millionaire, in June 1925. Lovely in white satin and pearls, Peggy murmured her “I do’s” and kissed her bridegroom.

      “I wanted to give you the thing you want most in the world, daring—name it” said Peggy’s rich husband. And Peggy, without a moments hesitation lifted star-lit eyes and answered “A castle in Scotland.” “Just exactly what you’d expect of Peggy,: whispered her friends. For during her high-school days, when other girls were shyly day-dreaming of bungalows and pink gingham aprons, of shinning white kitchenettes and sun-parler, pretty Peggy dreamed of a rambling romantic castle some where in Scotland.

      “Just exactly what you'd expect of Peggy,” whispered her friends. For during her high-school days, when other girls were shyly day-dreaming of bungalows and pink gingham aprons, of shining white kitchenettes and sun-parlers, pretty Peggy dreamed of a rambling romantic castle some where in Scotland. But this was not surprising when one remembered Peggy's childhood companion, old Grandmother Oglivie, who had been reared in a gate-keeper's lodge at the entrance of the ancient and famous Cawdor Castle in Scotland, and famous Cawdor Castle in Scotland, and who when she made her home with her son in America, told Peggy many a thrilling tale of ivy-covered turrets and moats and drawbridges. So Andrew Waddington Day bought the promised castle in Scotland—beautiful Langdon Hall, half abbey, half baronial hall.

      Little did the Illinois teacher know that in her beloved castle, some time later, she was go through one of the most harrowing experiences ever suffered by an American Woman living abroad. The story of Peggy's “romance” with her millionaire husband in the home that had housed barons and noblemen for years, is strange and blood-curdling. Suffice it to say that Peggy has been “cured” of her “castle complex,” and is satisfied now to make her home in an American mansion with no worry about ghosts and uncanny doings. “Andy” Day went shopping for Langdon Hall alone. He liked to see the sudden golden lights spring into Peggy's eyes when she was surprised. So shortly after their honeymoon in Spain, on an excuse of business in New York, he hopped across to Scotland.

      The bride was visiting her home folks in Momence when the news of the second chapter of her Cinderella romance burst upon the villagers. Mr. Day had purchased Peggy's long-for castle! Momoence looked upon Peggy with delight and, perhaps, a little envy.

      It had been just one year before that Peggy, through an accident, had met “Andy” Day. She had been out with her kindergarten class gathering daisies for the school's spring festival, when a Rolls-Royce, speeding along the road to Chicago, suddenly skidded and sent Peggy down into a white crumpled heap. The distressed man who sprang out and lifted her in his arms insisted on taking her to a hospital in Chicago, about thirty miles away. Then cam the bed-side courtship and the wedding soon after Peggy was well again.

      Now has come another bit of thrilling news to the little Illinois town, from London—that Peggy is the proud mother of Andrew Waddington Day Jr. Also that she is slowly recovering from what the doctors term “demential prucoxia.” It has been intimated that the accident which led to her fairy tale romance might be, in a measure responsible, for the mental malady with the long name and the sinister meaning. Peggy's ghost story, which was told to a cousin of hers who has recently returned from London, might be accredited to a temporarily disorder brain, but there remain certain puzzle evidences to hear out the truth of her story.

      “I am done with castles,” declared Mrs. Day to her cousin. “You may pay out money to buy them from their flesh and blood owners that have a still more tenacious hold on these ancestral mansions, and they are not pleasant to live with.” Peggy Ogilvie Day, the American girl whose ambition to live in a Scottish castle ended so weirdly and abruptly, Langdon Hall, which Peggy described to her cousin, stands on a lonely hill in Caithness overlooking the firths and moors of northern Scotland. It was the ancient sent of the Darnell Family, descended from Lord Douglas Darnel. I, but for thirty years prior to the purchase by Mr. Day, it had been unoccupied. In one of the upstairs rooms there was a great four poster bed of sixteenth century design. This bedroom had at one time been reached by a secret stair-case which had to since been sealed.

      Because the old bed was to redolent of by-gone days of love and romance, Peggy chose this room as her own. It might be risky to move the ancient bed to one of the bedrooms in a less remote part of the Hall. Because, too, she desired to recapture, if she could, some of that centuries-old romance, she refused to tear off the faded blue bed curtains, but had them carefully laundered and replaced. She says now, that she is glad she did, for she has the curtains to uphold her amazing story. Anyhow, the experience of the new mistress of Langdon Hall precedes her knowledge of the ghostly legend connected with the place and in all due justice to Peggy, it should be told first.

      Here is Peggy's story: “it was a dark, rainy night in September. You know there is no rain so cold, so damp as the rain that comes of the Scottish henths. Andy was in London where many of his Chicago friends were attending the bar convention. I had just dismissed the old nurse, Dorrie, who had been in constant attendant the past summer. She had lingered at the door a minute volubly reminding me that I was not to stay past this month at Langdon, but must be in London in full time for my impending ordeal. You never could tell about first babies, what time they might choose to come, etc. etc. “She hinted darkly a number of times that I should not remain at the Hall, and in this bedroom, but I had not drawn her out, for although I have been reared by Grandma Oglivie on superstitious tales concerning old Schottish castles, I did not choose to have them repeated right at this time. “When she finally left, I drew my chair up to the lovely open fireplace and fell to admiring for the hundredth time the exquisite workmanship upon the mantel. The firelight leaped and flashed upon the curious figures on the pedestals and lingered on the old Darnell crest with its inscription “Fear the Lord.” As I leaned forward to trace the words with my finger, wondering how many fine ladies had so toasted their toes, and gazed upon this admonition, I was started by the sound of low sobbing. It seemed to come from the door leading into the sealed stairway.

      “I went to the door. The sobbing continued distinctly, I crossed over and put my finger on the bell to call Lorrie. As I did, there was a rattling of the door front which had come the noise. I was not especially frightened, then, but I was puzzled. Perhaps it was one of the maids in the corridor outside the far door, I thought. I started towards it and the lights went out.

      “In the middle of the room something brushed against me nearly knocking me down, and in the firelight I saw the ghost figure of a woman leap from the bed and catching her foot in the curtains, tear a great hole. But she did not pause. With hair streaming over a long white night-gown, and in bare feet, she came to me, weeping and holding out her hands in pleading. I stood there petrified not believing my own eyes. “Suddenly, and with a wild scream, the ghost-woman seized me by the wrist and dragged me to the fireplace, pointing in agonized entreaty to the great andirons. The fire and settled down, and as I looked, I saw very distinctly the wraith of a naked new-born baby. In horror and pity I put out my hand to seize it, when I felt an icy kiss on my check and I know nothing more.”

      The doctors in Queen's Hospital in London to which Peggy Day was hastened several days later by a frantic husband, assured her that these hallucinations were not unusual for a woman in her condition. Nor did they allow Mr. Day to breathe a word to Peggy, when she was better, of the story which came to him from the lips of the old nurse Lorrie, when he went back to Scotland, several weeks later to close up the old mansion. It had to do with one of Peggy's story follows faithfully though tradition as laid down by Old Lorrie and which has been repeated in the village at Culthness for full two centuries. The mother leaping from the bed, when she saw the designs of her lord, caught her foot in the bed curtains and perished with the child.

      As a proof to her story, Lorrie offered the evidence of the great run in the left of the bed curtains. Mr. Day, himself, found the three-cornered tear, carefully mended, yellowed and rotten with age. “It is another old wives' tale” say the doctors. But they cannot explain the close similarity of Peggy's story and the legend, of which Mrs. Day was absolutely ignorant at the time, and which, it is doubtful, she will ever be told.

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