Bizarre Story Of Scottish Penkaet Castle

A. Sutherland  - - Ever since the beginning of the 16th century, Penkaet Castle has been the scene of a number of unexplained mysteries.

People who visited this old lonely Scottish castle had terrifying experiences.

Scottish Penkaet Castle

Is there something evil lurking in the old large house? No rational explanation of all strange events that took place here has ever been found.

Penkaet Castle is located near Haddington, Lothian, Scotland. Ever since the beginnings of the 16th century, there have been reports of unusual phenomena taking place in the castle.

In the early 1920s, the castle was bought by Professor and Mrs. Holbourn. It did not take long before they started to hear strange sounds in the large house.

“When we first came here in 1923, we were often disturbed by the sounds of heavy footsteps going about the house and the sound of something heavy and soft being dragged along.

Various people occupied the house, in our absence complained of hearing shrieks, heavy footsteps, and groans, and that doors which were shut and even locked at night were found open in the morning.

One girl was so terrified that she refused to sleep alone," Mrs. Holbourn reported in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research.

Old Legends Of Ghosts Haunting The Penkaet Castle

According to an old legend, the former owner John Cockburn killed his relative John Seton and his troubled conscience is said to cause his ghost to haunt the place.

Another legend tells that many years ago, Alexander Hamilton, a local beggar came to Penkaet Castle but was turned away empty-handed. It is said that Hamilton returned to the castle on the night of the dead. In revenge, he bound the gates with blue thread, an act of witchcraft. Two days later, Lady Ormiston, the lady of the house, and her eldest daughter were both dead as a result of a mysterious illness. As time passed, Hamilton was eventually brought to trial and confessed to being responsible for the two deaths. He was hanged for witchcraft and at Castle Hill, Edinburgh.

On certain nights of the year, Hamilton's ghost returns to Penkaet, his shadowy form being seen hanging around the gates…

People who spent the night sleeping in the bedroom below the King Charles room have heard sounds of movement from the room above that was supposed to be empty.

Many of the bizarre happenings at the castle were connected with the room belonging to King Charles II (1630 - 1685).

Many of the bizarre happenings at the castle were connected with the room belonging to King Charles II (1630 - 1685). It sounded as if the furniture was being moved around. Sometimes, it sounded as if someone was "stumbling and grouping about the room."

What Happened In The King's Room?

King Charles II had reputedly slept in one room at Penkaet Castle. The room became later known as "King Charles bedroom."

Many of the paranormal happenings at the castle were connected with this room. In Christmas 1923, a piece of wood carved with the family crest was seen to lean forward from the wall and then return to its former position.

Two years later, a friend of the Professor and his wife visited the castle. She slept in the room containing the King Charles bed. Late at night, she could clearly hear the sound of someone moving on the ground floor. She went downstairs accompanied by the professor, but there was no-one there. On their return to the first floor, they heard the sound of someone turning over in the bed that the friend left.

Ten years later, another guest, Mrs. Holbourn's brother visited the house. He was sleeping in the bed (once used by King Charles) when he was suddenly awakened by loud knocks coming from the room above. He first thought that something had happened to Mrs. Carstairs, another visitor who was recovering from an illness. He hurried upstairs only to find Mrs. Carstairs sleeping peacefully in her bed. Who had knocked on the floor?

See also:

Enigmatic Green Lady In British Folklore

Frightening Edinburgh Vaults: The Spooky Underground City Of The Dead

Mysterious Greyfriars Kirkyard: A Cemetery In Edinburgh With Dark And Spooky History

On another occasion, a cousin who visited Mr. and Mr. Holbourn while the couple was away found the bedclothes in King Charles's room ruffled. At the time, no-one was sleeping in bed. The cousin spoke to Mrs. Anderson, the gardener's daughter. It was her job to make the beds, but she was very surprised when heard what had happened. She said that she had, in fact, made the King Charles bed the same morning.

Some days later, when the cousin took a visitor to see the room, the same thing happened again. They took a photograph of the bed and Mrs. Anderson had to remake the bed. The visitor took his camera and left the castle. Then, he returned a day later and informed that the photograph had been under-exposed.

Holbourn's cousin went upstairs to the bedroom so that he could take another photo of the bedroom. Once again, he discovered that someone or something had played with the bedclothes.  By now, he was so scared that he decided to seal off the room. He closed all windows, locked the two doors and placed heavy bricks against the main door.

It was impossible for anyone to enter King Charles's room. Yet, the next day, he discovered that the bricks had been moved and the bedclothes were once again re-arranged. It was a creepy feeling because he was the only one living at the castle.

Are Evil Forces Lurking In The Penkaet Castle?

Another curious incident occurred in the summer of 1925 when Professor Holbourn's son was working late one evening in the workshop on the ground floor.  It was 11 p.m., and it was getting dark. Professor's son took some of his work outside to look at it in the fading light.

While being outside, the housekeeper Betta Leadbetter came to him and said that someone was taking a bath. Apparently, she heard the taps running and someone splashing in the bath. It seemed strange because his wife had been in bed since 9 p.m, so he went to investigate. When he entered the bathroom, it was full of steam. The mirror and windows were completely misted over.

Strangely enough, the bath itself was dry and apparently, no one used it. He asked everyone in the house, but no one admitted to having used the bath. Perhaps the most bizarre feature of the incident was the soap. It was custom for large houses to order soap by the half-hundred weight. The soap used in the castle was all of one color. However, the soap he discovered in the bathroom was entirely different from anything he had previously seen.

Strange events continued to happen at the Penkaet Castle. When a paranormal research group visited the castle in 1964, a glass dome covering a model of Penkaet suddenly disintegrated in the library.

Were unknown evil forces lurking in the house? Was Penkaet Castle haunted by the ghost of John Cockburn? Was some kind of bad energy present in the house? it's not unusual to hear people say they can feel bad energy when they enter a place. Many visitors heard footsteps coming down the path outside the house although no-one was walking there. Clocks placed on the wall between the dining room and the next room all stopped working for no apparent reason.

People kept reporting shrieks, groans, heavy footsteps and the sound of something being dragged around.

Many bizarre things happened at the Penkaet Castle, which to this day remain unsolved.

Written by – A. Sutherland  - Senior Staff Writer

Copyright © All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of