Wayfarer Column- Castle is haunted by soldier killed at Waterloo

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If we look hard enough we will find some wonderful tales to tell, some for amusement and some that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck in a scary way.

The latter are the tales that can keep you awake at night, or at least bring on some unpleasant dreams and even nightmares whilst you sleep.

Looking for some of those scary tales we hear of Duns Castle in Berwickshire, the home of the Hay family since 1696, which is haunted by 18 year old Alexander Hay a cornet in the Dragoons who was killed at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Unfortunately his body was never found to receive a decent burial, but his spirit appears to have returned to Duns Castle to haunt his old home in full military uniform. A restless spirit who sadly had such a short span of mortal life.

It always seems to be old castles that host ghosts, perhaps it is their age and the fact that the thickness of the walls keeps them standing even if in ruins for many centuries.

That is except a castle outside Helmsdale in Sutherland which I am led to believe totally disappeared one night during the building of a road bridge.

I understand that the navvies were short of rubble in building the bridge and in order to be paid a bonus for completing the work ahead of time used what was left of the old castle.

But there again it is all hearsay as it was sometime before the castle was missed and by then too late to do anything about it except surmise that it lies in the foundation of their new road bridge.

But back to the supernatural Drumlanrig Castle sports not one but two ghosts. One is that of a decapitated lady who roams the castle holding her head under her arm.

It is said to be the head of Lady Anne Douglas but why she should be headless is not known. The other ghost is that of a large yellow monkey which haunts only one room. But where the monkey came from is also not known, but there is often no rhyme or reason why these tales of ghosts should flourish, or where they came from originally.

Whether they are formed by an over imaginative mind or one that is possessed of an enormous guilt we are left to conjecture.

But once the tale of a ghost has been passed on, gullible people tend to believe it and fertile minds embellish it to make it more entertaining. You should perhaps take everything with a pinch of salt, or at least in the spirit in which it is told.

See you next week.