The Alleged Haunting of B[allechin] House
The following is from The Alleged Haunting of B[allechin] House:
The Alleged Haunting of B[allechin] House
It was in 1892 that Lord Bute first heard of the matter. It was not, as stated by The Times correspondent in that journal for June 8, 1897, in or from London, but at Falkland, in Fifeshire, and in the following manner:--
There is no public chapel at Falkland, and the private chapel in the house is attended by a variety of priests, who usually come only from Saturday to Monday. Lord Bute's diary for the second week in August 1892 contains the following entries:--
"Saturday, August 6th--Father H----, S.J., came.
"Sunday, August 7th--In afternoon with Father H---- and John [Lord Dumfries] to Palace, and then with him to the Gruoch's Den. He gives us a long account of the psychical disturbances at B[allechin]; noises between his bed and the ceiling, like continuous explosion of petards, so that he could not hear himself speak, &c. &c.
"[Mr. Huggins afterwards recommended the use of a phonograph for these noises, in order to ascertain absolutely whether they are objective or subjective, and I wrote so to S---- of B----.]
"Monday, August 8th--Father H---- went away.
"Tuesday, August 9th--Mr. Huggins [now Sir William Huggins], outgoing President of the British Association, and Mrs. Huggins came.
"Saturday, August 13th--Father H---- came.
"Sunday, August 14th--In afternoon with the children, &c., to the Palace, leaving Mr. Huggins as much as possible alone with Father H---- (both being with us), in order to interrogate him about the psychical noises he heard recently at B[allechin], when there, to give a Retreat to some nuns.
"Monday, August 15th--Father H---- went away after luncheon."
Lord Bute recalls that Father H---- told him that he had been at B[allechin] for the purpose of giving a Retreat [a series of sermons and meditations] to some nuns, who were charitably allowed by Mr. S---- to take a sort of holiday, at a house called B---- Cottage, which had been originally built and occupied by the late Major S----, when he first took up his residence at B[allechin], which at the time was let.
Father H---- told Lord Bute that in consequence of the disturbance his room had been several times changed, and he expressed surprise that the sounds did not appear to be heard by anybody except himself. He also said that he had spoken of the matter to Mr. S----, who expressed an idea that the disturbances might be caused by his uncle, the late Major S----, who was trying to attract attention in order that prayers might be offered for the repose of his soul. The sounds occurred during full daylight, and in a clear open space between his bed and the ceiling. He did not know to what to compare them, but as he said they were explosive in sound, Lord Bute suggested that they might be compared to the sounds made by petards, which are commonly used in Italy for firing feux de joie. Father H---- answered, "Yes perhaps, if they were continuous enough." He said that the sound which alarmed him more than any other was as of a large animal throwing itself violently against the bottom of his door, outside. A third noise which he had heard was of ordinary raps, of the kind called "spirit-raps." He mentioned a fourth sound, the nature of which Lord Bute does not remember with the same certainty as the others, but believes it was a shriek or scream. Such a sound is described by other witnesses during the subsequent occupation of the house by the H---- family. The fact that the sounds appear to have been inaudible to every one except Father H---- is a strong argument in favour of their subjective, or hallucinatory, character. It will be found that this was very often the case with the peculiar sounds recorded at B[allechin], and even when they were heard by several persons at the same time, there does not appear to be any ground for refusing to recognise them as collective hallucinations.
Lord Bute's diary and recollections have been here quoted, not as differing from, but only as being antecedent to, the following account, which has been furnished by Father H---- himself:--
"I went to B[allechin] on Thursday, July 14th, 1892, and I left it on Saturday, July 23rd. So I slept at B[allechin] for nine nights, or rather one night, because I was disturbed by very queer and extraordinary noises every night except the last, which I spent in Mr. S----'s dressing-room. At first I occupied the room to the extreme right of the landing [No. 8*], then my things were removed to another room [No. 3] (it seems to me at this distance of time that this room faced the principal staircase, or was a little to the left of it). [* here and in all references to rooms by their numbers, see Frontispiece.] In both these rooms I heard the loud and inexplicable noises every night, but on two or three nights, in addition to these, another noise affrighted me--a sound of somebody or something falling against the door outside. It seemed, at the time, as if a calf or big dog would make such a noise. Why those particular animals came into my head I cannot tell. But in attempting to describe these indescribable phenomena, I notice now I always do say it was like a calf or big dog falling against the door. Why did I not hear the noises on the ninth night? Were there none where I was? These are questions the answers to which are not apparent. It may be there were noises, but I slept too soundly to hear them. One of the oddest things in my case, in connection with the house, is that it appeared to me somehow that (1) Somebody was relieved by my departure; (2) that nothing could induce me to pass another night there, at all events alone, and in other respects I do not think I am a coward."
For the benefit of those who are not aware of the fact, it may be as well to state that the class of people known as spiritualists, hold that when raps are heard, it is the best thing for the hearer to say aloud, "If you are intelligent, will you please to rap three times?" and if this is done, to ask the intelligence to rap three times for yes, once for no, and twice for doubtful. It is obvious that considerable conversation can be carried on by such a code, and where it is inadequate, as, for instance, in obtaining proper names, it is usual to propose to repeat the alphabet slowly, asking the intelligence to rap once when the proper letter is reached. This simple method was entirely unknown to Father H----. He had done nothing but throw holy water about his rooms, and repeat the prayer Visita quæsumus, which invokes the Divine protection of a house and its inhabitants against all the snares of the Enemy, and which, therefore, in no way concerned any person or thing which is not associated with the powers of darkness. It was natural that no result should be produced.
Sir W. Huggins told Lord Bute, as the result of his examination of Father H----, that he felt absolutely certain that what the latter had experienced was not the outcome of morbid hallucination, but that it was possible that the sounds themselves might be hallucinatory or subjective. To ascertain whether this were so, or whether they had any physical cause, he suggested the use of a phonograph, as this would at least show whether the sounds were accompanied by atmospheric waves. Lord Bute happened to know Mr. S---- slightly, having met him accidentally while travelling abroad. He accordingly wrote to him, and communicated Sir William Huggins's suggestion. Mr. S----, after a delay of some days, refused absolutely to allow any scientific investigation to be made, a refusal remarkably coincident with the recent refusal of his son, the present proprietor, to allow any similar investigation with seismographical instruments. It would seem a legitimate conclusion that neither father nor son doubted that the sounds are of a psychical character. As regards the present proprietor, such a conclusion renders it obvious that we must understand in some peculiar sense the letter published in The Times, dated June 10, 1897, in which he says, "As to the stories contained in the article [i.e. of the anonymous Times correspondent], they are without foundation." These words must, however, be, in any case, accepted in a special sense, considering the part taken by members of his own family, as well as by tenants and agents, in attesting the stories in question.
Lord Bute states that Father H---- did not, upon the occasion of his visit to Falkland, say anything as to having seen the brown wooden crucifix (see pp. 132, 142, 154), but after this apparition had been seen by two other persons separately, Lord Bute wrote to Father H---- to inquire whether he could remember anything of the sort. His reply was as follows:--
"When you mention the brown wooden crucifix, you awaken a new memory in me. I now seem to live some of those hours over again, and I recollect that between waking and sleeping there appeared before my eyes--somewhere on the wall--a crucifix, some eighteen inches, I should say, long, and, I think, of brown wood.
"My own crucifix is of black metal, and just the length of this page (seven inches); and though I usually have it with me in my bag, I cannot for certain say that it was in my bag at B[allechin]."
The following further communication from Father H---- carries the record further back:--
"In August 1893 it was that I met, quite by accident, a person who knew something about B[allechin] House and its strange noises.
"Though, on my leaving his house, Mr. S---- begged me not 'to give the house a bad name,' I did not understand by this that, as a point of honour, I should refrain from ever mentioning the subject. I respected his request to the extent of not alluding indiscriminately to the noises that disturbed my nights there. But I did speak to several people about them, and they had so impatiently and incredulously heard my statements, that I at last refused to repeat them, even when pressingly requested to do so. It was, therefore, quite a surprise to find myself talking about B[allechin] House, or rather, listening with rapt attention to another talking about the place.
"Miss Y----, I think her name was, kept house for a priest at----. One evening, while on a visit there, I found her knitting as I passed the kitchen door, and bidding her the time of day, I discovered from a remark she made that she had in former days filled more important posts. She soon settled down when she found me an attentive listener to a somewhat detailed account of by no means a short life.
"'Had she been in Scotland?' 'Yes, sir; and in a very beautiful part of Scotland, in P----shire.' 'Indeed!' In short she told me that she had been, twelve years ago, governess in the S---- family at B[allechin] House. (I need not say that I was now intensely interested.) 'Why did she leave?' 'Well, sir, so many people complained of queer noises in the house, that I got alarmed and left.' I asked her had she seen anything? She said No, and the noises were only heard in certain rooms, and the servants inhabited quite a different part of the house. When I closely questioned her she located the queer noises precisely in the two rooms I had successively occupied. She did not learn from me that I had ever been there. Pressed for a concrete case of fright and abrupt leavetaking (I think), she told me two military officers had 'left next morning.'
"In conclusion, as against all the above, my own, and this good woman's account, I must set it down that, before I left the house, two young ladies, relatives of the family, occupied the rooms in question, and certainly, to my surprise, did not seem at breakfast as if they had spent an unquiet night."
Inquiry shows that Miss Y----'s residence at B[allechin] must have been about the years 1878-80.
The earliest witnesses in chronological sequence would be the S---- family themselves; but though much information has been contributed by them to various persons interested in B[allechin] House during the tenancy both of Mr. H---- and Colonel Taylor, the present Editors are unwilling to make use of it without permission.
A statement in The Times article, of the character of which the reader can here judge for himself, elicited the following letter from Mrs. S----, which is to be found in the issue of that journal for June 18, 1897:--
"May I ask of your courtesy to insert this in the next issue of your paper. Seeing myself dragged into publicity in The Times of June 8, as 'having made admissions under pressure of cross-examination,' I beg to state that I as well as the rest of my family had not the remotest idea that our home was let to other than ordinary tenants. In my intercourse with them I spoke as one lady to another, never imagining that my private conversations were going to be used for purposes carefully concealed from me--a deceit which I deeply resent."
It will be observed that Mrs. S---- here leaves no doubt as to the nature of the information with which she was so good as to favour Miss Freer, but, notwithstanding this fact, and the language which Mrs. S---- has considered it right to use--or, at least, to sign—with regard to Miss Freer, Miss Freer prefers to continue to treat Mrs. S----'s statements as confidential, and blanks will accordingly be found in the Journal under the dates on which such conversations occurred. Miss Freer extends the same regard for a privacy, which the S---- family have themselves violated, to communications made by other members. There have, however, been several witnesses unconnected with them, some of whom are referred to in the Journal. Not only the villagers and persons in the immediate neighbourhood, but many accidentally met with in visits to show-places and in excursions for twenty miles round B[allechin], were ready to pour out traditions and experiences which are not here quoted, as, though often suggestive, not always evidential.
The Rev. P. H----, already referred to, quotes a witness who testifies to processions of monks or nuns having been seen by Mr. S---- from a window, and of a married couple who, "relating the events of the night, declared they could not hear each other's voices for the noise overhead between them and the ceiling," which was especially interesting to him, as corroborative of his own experience.
A former servant at B[allechin] has voluntarily related, at great length, the story of the alleged hauntings, which shows that they have occurred at intervals during the past twenty years. He is of opinion that as the earlier hauntings were ascribed to the late Major S----, so their revival may be referred to the late proprietor; but his reasons, as well as his narrative, are of a nature which might cause annoyance to the S---- family, and are therefore withheld.
Dr. Menzies, a correspondent of The Times, June 10th, who speaks of himself as an old friend of Major S----, refers to a still earlier haunting--a tradition current at the time of the Major's succession in 1844.
* * * * *
In August 1896, B[allechin] House, with the shooting attached, was let by Captain S----, the present proprietor, for a year to a wealthy family of Spanish origin. Their experience was of such a nature that they abandoned the house at the end of seven weeks, thus forfeiting the greater part of their rent, which had been paid in advance. The evidence of Mr. H---- himself, of his butler, and of several guests, will be found in due chronological sequence.
* * * * *
When Colonel Taylor, one of the fundamental members of the London Spiritualist Alliance, a distinguished member of the S.P.R., whose name is associated both in this country and in America with the investigation of haunted houses, offered to take a lease of B[allechin] House, after the lease had been resigned by Mr. H----, the proprietor made no objection whatever. Indeed, the only allusion made to the haunting was the expression of a hope on the part of Captain S----'s agents in Edinburgh, that Colonel Taylor would not make it a subject of complaint, as had been done by Mr. H----, in reply to which they were informed that Colonel Taylor was thoroughly well aware of what had happened during Mr. H----'s tenancy, and would undertake to make no complaint on the subject. Captain S---- having thus thrown the house into the open market, and let it to the well-known expert, with no reference whatever to the subject of haunting, except that it should not be made a ground of complaint, it is obvious that he deprived himself of any right to complain as to observations upon the subject of local hallucination, any more than of observation upon the habits of squirrels or other local features. Nor had he any more right to complain upon this ground, as vendor of the lease, than any other vendor of articles exposed for public sale, such as a hatter, who after selling a hat to Lord Salisbury, might complain that he had been induced to provide headgear for a Conservative. At the same time, both Colonel Taylor and his friends were well aware, from a vexatious experience, that phenomena of the kind found at B[allechin] are very often associated with private matters, which the members of a family concerned might object to see published, just as they might object to the publication of the results of an examination of some object--say, old medicine-bottles--found in the house let by them to a strange tenant.
Acting upon this knowledge, it has been the general rule of the Society for Psychical Research to publish the cases investigated by it under avowedly false names, as private cases are published in medical and other scientific journals. Out of a courteous anxiety that nothing should occur which could in any way annoy any member of the S---- family, no one was admitted to the house for the purpose of observing the phenomena, except on the definite understanding that they were to regard everything as confidential, and it was always intended that any publication on the subject was to be made with all names and geographical indications avowedly fictitious.
As certain points of Gaelic orthography were found to be involved, it was decided to mention the house as standing in a bi-lingual district upon the borders of Wales, and Lord Bute arranged with Sir William Lewis to have these linguistic points represented by Welsh instead of Gaelic.
The affairs of the inquiry, and of any phenomena which might occur, were thus protected, it was believed, by a confidence even more absolute than that usually observed in such affairs of a household as to which honour dictates that a guest should be silent.
The appreciation with which the S---- family responded to this courteous and careful consideration for their possible feelings, was made manifest to the world by the tone which they adopted when, immediately on the appearance of the anonymous article in The Times, they rushed into the newspapers, and published everything concerning themselves, their family property, predecessors, and tenants, with all the proper names at full length. After that outburst it has, of course, been rendered impossible to keep the identity of the place and people any longer secret.
Out of deference to other members of the family who did not take part in this, the matter in the present volume remains in as private a form as the newspaper correspondence now leaves possible.
The names given in full are those mostly very indirectly concerned; other names, including that of the house, are given under the real initials, with the exception of a few of the less prominent, when the real initials would create confusion; and in these latter cases they are taken from letters of the alphabet not already used, and are placed in inverted commas; e.g. the real initial of a Mr. S---- is changed, in order to avoid confusion with the name of the S---- family themselves, the proprietors of B[allechin].
The contents of the book are, except in one respect, arranged upon the simple chronological system. They commence with a short sketch of the history of the S---- family, based in its earlier part upon Douglas's "Baronage of Scotland"; and all information which the writers possess as to the phenomena which have occurred since the death of Major S---- in 1876, except that supplied by the S---- family, is set forth in succession.
The family of S---- date from the earlier part of the middle of the fifteenth century, and were settled upon the river T---- within that century, while they have possessed B[allechin] at least since the earlier half of the century following.
A stone, carved with their arms, belonging to the old mansion-house, is built into the wall, and dated 1579. The present house is modern, and does not even occupy the site of the older one.
The particular proprietor whose arms are so represented, Patrick S----, married Elizabeth B----, who survived him and married a second time. James S----, his son, in 1586, married Mary C----, and after her death, in 1597, Elizabeth R----.
Robert S----, his son by his first marriage, married Margaret C----. John S----, son of Robert, was killed by the Cromwellians, leaving no issue, and was succeeded by his brother, Patrick S----, who married Elizabeth L----.
It is not obvious when they adopted the principles of the Reformation, but it is to be remarked that this Patrick stood high in the favour of James II (and VII).
Charles S----, son of the foregoing, married Anne D----, and was succeeded by his third son, another Charles, who married Grizell M----, and died in 1764.
Robert S----, his son, married Isabel H----. Charles S----, his eldest son, died unmarried in 1783.
H---- S----, second son of R---- S----, married Louisa M----, died in 1834, and had issue--Robert, two other sons, and six daughters.
Robert S----, born January 1806, in 1825 entered the military service of the East India Company, from which he retired with the rank of Major in 1850, i.e sixteen years after succeeding to the property. He died in April 1876. His two brothers both died unmarried, and of his six sisters, three married, and a fourth, Isabella, entered a nunnery. She there professed under the name of "Frances Helen" in 1850, the year of her brother's return from India, and died February 23, 1880, aged sixty-six.
Major S----, by his will dated June 8, 1853, bequeathed B[allechin] to the representatives of his married sister Mary, and on his death was accordingly succeeded by her second (but eldest surviving) son, John, who on succeeding assumed the name of S----.
Major S---- was a Protestant, but this John was a Roman Catholic, like his aunt Isabella. His eldest brother died without issue in 1867, but he had a younger brother, married, with issue, and two sisters, Louisa and Mary, whom Major S----, by a codicil of December 14, 1868, carefully excluded from all benefit under his will.
The register of the parish of L----, in which B[allechin] House is situated, mentions under the date July 14, 1873, the death of Sarah N----, housekeeper of B[allechin] House (single), aged twenty-seven years, daughter of John N----, farmer, and Helen R----. (In Scottish legal documents married women are described by their maiden name.) It is said that her last illness was very short, lasting only three days. Mrs. S---- had the great charity to attend her on her deathbed. It is mentioned in the register, that the official intimation of Sarah N----'s death was given, not by her parents nor by Major S----, but by her uncle, Neil N----.
Major S---- seems to have been somewhat eccentric, and was very fond of dogs, of which he kept a considerable number. He had very strong views upon psychical subjects. He was a believer in spirit-return, and many witnesses have attested that he frequently spoke of his own return after death. Among these psychic beliefs were two relating to animals; and as they are of a kind not very commonly discussed even among spiritualists, and enter, to some extent, into the following narrative, it is convenient here to state them at length. It is very commonly held that the soul or living personality of man, which will survive the change called by us "death," is capable of entering living bodies and making use of their organs. The form in which this belief is most commonly met with, is that of the alleged inspiration of trance mediums by the souls of the dead. Such a case is that of Mrs. Piper, said to have been animated by the soul of Dr. Phinuit and other personalities now disincarnated. It has naturally been argued that if it is possible for the disembodied spirit to occupy and animate the body of a human being, it would, a fortiori, be easy for it to do the same with the body of a beast, where the resistance of will would presumably be less.
This idea, coupled with the belief that the soul can be separated from the body during life, so producing a kind of temporary death, while leaving the body in such a state that it is capable of being again inhabited and animated, lies at the bottom of the numerous statements as to sorcerers and sorceresses changing themselves into hares, wolves, or cats, which are to be found in the records of witch trials.
That this was possible, at least after death, was evidently a strong belief upon the part of Major S----. We are informed that he frequently intimated his intention of entering the body of a particular black spaniel which he possessed, and so strong a belief was attached to his words, that after his death all his dogs, including the spaniel in question, were shot, apparently in order to render impossible any such action upon his part. The policy of the measure adopted was short-sighted. If the Major had thoroughly succeeded in animating the body of the living spaniel, the physical resources at his disposal would have been too limited to have enabled him to give much trouble. As it is, a series of witnesses attest apparitions of this spaniel, and of at least one other dog, which may naturally be regarded as much more disturbing.
The second point is possibly the same as the last, but it appears to be more probably based upon the belief held by Major S----, in common with a large number of those who have made a serious study of apparitions--and certainly a large number of the members of the S.P.R--that such apparitions are really hallucinations or false impressions upon the senses, created, so far as originated by any external cause, by other minds either in the body or out of the body, which are themselves invisible in the ordinary and physical sense of the term, and really acting through some means at present very imperfectly known. Such an opinion of course reserves the question of the possible action of unseen forces upon what is commonly called matter involved in 'spirit'-photography, materialisation, levitation, the passage of matter through matter, and other forms of apport, although such a distinction, if logically carried out, becomes somewhat tenuous in face of the generally accepted fact that all mental processes are accompanied by physical processes in the brain. In the following pages will be found instances of the phenomenon of the apparent removal of bed-clothing, which raise a question as to the propriety of regarding as exhaustive an explanation based solely upon the hypothesis of subjective hallucination which otherwise would appear to be generally applicable. It would stand to reason that if such an intelligence can produce an hallucination of the appearance of the human figure, it would be at least equally easy for it to produce an hallucination of the appearance of a beast. A belief to this effect seems to be the explanation of the fact mentioned in a letter to The Times of June 10, 1897, by Dr. Menzies, who refers to Major S---- as "an old and dear friend." He writes, "I have no doubt that he created much scandal by saying to his gardener that he had better take care to keep up the garden properly, for when he was gone his soul would go into a mole and haunt the garden and him too."
This theory of the possibility of producing by mental force the hallucination audible or visual of a beast, may also be the explanation, not only of the apparition of the large dog which has been seen, as well as that of a spaniel, but also of the phenomenon, attested by several witnesses, of their having heard the sound as of a large dog throwing itself from the outside against the lower part of their doors.
Major S---- died, as already stated, in 1876, and was buried beside Sarah N---- and, it is said, an old Indian manservant. The grave is in the middle of the parish churchyard. No monument marks their resting-place, but a high enclosure, which surrounds it, is a prominent object. The whole of his dogs, fourteen in number, including the spaniel already mentioned, were killed after his death. The S.P.R. some years ago published a census of hallucinations based upon the interrogation of seventeen thousand persons, who were not only taken casually, but from whom those were excluded whose replies were foreseen. From the analysis of these statistics, it appears that the great majority of these phantasms are figures of people who were living and continue to live, although research seems to point to the fact that their bodies are either always, or very often, in a state of apparent unconsciousness at the moment of the phenomenon. Among the minority, i.e. of apparitions of the dead, the frequency seems to be in inverse proportion to the time which has elapsed since death. Those which appear at the moment of death are very frequent, whereas, on the other hand, those of persons who have been very long dead are almost unknown; e.g. the apparition seen by Lady Galway a few years ago at Rufford Abbey, where the form represented a person who must have been dead for about three hundred years, belongs to a class of which examples are very few.
A haunted house (or any other locality) is merely a place where experience shows that hallucinations are more or less localised, and the only especially interesting question about it is, why the hallucinations should be localised at a particular place, and what causes them there.
Such Phantasms of the Living have been discussed in the monumental work of Mr. Myers and the late Mr. E. Gurney. They need be no further remarked upon here, than to observe that the following pages contain at least one example, viz. that of the apparition of the Rev. P. H----. (See p. 119.)
It is very difficult to judge of the forces which may act in the conditions of what we are accustomed to call "another world," but a plausible explanation might be found in the Divine Word, "Where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also." The thoughts and affections appear to dwell for a time where they have been already fixed during life, but changes here, including the gradual reunion on the other side, of all those who are loved with those who love them, the advancing dissociation of the mind with things here, and, no doubt, the evolution of a different life under different conditions, seem gradually to efface the ties of earthly memory, connecting the feelings with particular spots on earth.
Such thoughts not infrequently include repentance, a desire for the remedy of acts of injustice, and an eagerness for the compassion and sympathetic prayers of those whom we call the living.
It is natural, therefore, to suppose that haunting, such as that met with at B[allechin], would be connected with persons who had died within some such period as a century at the outside. Now the number of the members of the S---- family and others, whose thoughts, memories, feelings, and affections may presumably have dwelt largely at B[allechin], and who have died within the last hundred years, is very considerable; but--saving the tradition referred to by Dr. Menzies (see p. 22), only to be dismissed--there seems to have been no idea of the place being haunted before the deaths of Sarah N---- and of Major S----, whereas since that time the peculiar phenomena have been constantly attested.
John S----, his successor, was, as stated, the second son of Major S----'s sister Mary, and assumed the name of S---- upon succeeding to the property. He was a Roman Catholic; he was married, and had several children, of whom the eldest son is the present proprietor. One of the younger sons is a Jesuit, but not yet a priest.
In January 1895 Mr. S---- went to London on family business, and was there killed by being run over by a cab in the street. It was stated on the authority of three persons, not counting members of his own family, that on the morning on which he left B[allechin] for the last time, while he was talking to the agent in his business-room, there were raps so violent as to interfere with conversation. The earliest written notice of this circumstance, so far as can be discovered, is the following entry in Lord Bute's journal for January 17, 1896:--
"I hear that the morning the late S---- of B---- left home for the last time, spirits came and rapped to him in his room--doubtless to warn him--so that his death was really owing to the cruel superstition which had prevented him allowing them to be communicated with."
Lord Bute's informant appears to have been the Rev. Sir David Hunter Blair, as the journal mentions his arrival at Falkland on that day, and none of the other guests in the house were people who were likely to have heard anything about it.
Mr. S---- was succeeded by his eldest son, Captain S----, who showed no hesitation in throwing the house into the public market, with its 4400 acres of shooting. The alleged haunting was not mentioned beforehand to the first tenant, as it afterwards was to Colonel Taylor.
This tenant was Mr. J.R. H---- of K---- Court, C----, in G----shire, and the following is the account of experiences during his visit, as given by his butler:--