While Craigievar Castle is reputed to have been the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle, this haunted pinkish monstrosity is the furthest thing from fairy tales. Located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, this castle hosts some interesting ghosts, particularly a fiddler and a naked man.
Craigievar Castle was the seat of Clan Sempill and home to the Forbes family for over 350 years. Construction on the castle began in 1576 and was completed fifty years later by William Forbes in 1626. In the 1960s, it was given over to the National Trust for Scotland by William Forbes-Sempill (1893-1965), the 19th Lord Sempill.
One ghost residing at Craigievar Castle is supposedly a member of the Gordon Clan who fell through the tower window in the Blue Room—completely naked. Sir John Forbes (1636-1703), also nicknamed “Red John,” attacked the Gordon fellow when he found him in bed with one of his daughters. Being sworn enemies with the Gordon clan, Sir John found the clandestine act unforgivable and drew his sword. Sir John backed the naked man up to the tower window. With few options, the naked Gordon could either face death by sword or by jumping through the window. He chose the window—the 5th floor window.
Possibly, the naked Gordon hoped to survive the fall and limp back home to his clan. Instead, he met his bone-splitting death. Many visitors report hearing footsteps climbing the tower, as if the ghost of the man is trapped in a loop, doomed to repeat the final moments of his life for the rest of eternity. Others report feeling their clothes tugged on in the Blue Room, possibly by the naked Gordon still searching for a scrap of clothing to cover himself.
Another active ghost at the castle is that of a fiddler. One legend shared by tour guides is that centuries ago, the fiddler fell into the well under the kitchen and drowned and now haunts the castle’s halls with his lilting tunes. However, the fiddler is a bit picky with who hears his otherworldly music. He’ll only play for those with the surname Forbes.
Other ghosts might very well haunt Craigievar Castle. In the Blue Room, the same room where the naked Gordon vaulted to his death, there are reports of shadows from apparitions and doors opening and closing by something other than human hands… Is it the naked Gordon playing tricks on visitors? Is it the fiddler roaming the castle halls until he finds a person with the surname Forbes to serenade with his haunting tunes? Is it another ghost, perhaps unnamed and yet unknown to us? Or do these hauntings all have rational explanations? Only you may decide for yourself.
Craigievar Castle on Hidden Scotland
CRAIGIEVAR CASTLE: A fairytale setting for a Scottish castle packed with history, armour and art on National Trust for Scotland
CRAIGIEVAR CASTLE’S NAKED GHOST by Graeme Johncock, Hidden Scotland
Ghosts of the Trust on National Trust for Scotland
Haunted Scottish castles by Claire McKim, The Scotsman
The pink Scottish castle said to have inspired Walt Disney by Stefan Andrews, The Vintage News
Scottish Spooks and Spirits on National Trust for Scotland