Report: Shieldhill Castle, Lanarkshire, Haunted Weekend

Investigation date: 1st February 2009

History

ShieldhillPrior to becoming a hotel in 1959, Shieldhill castle was the seat of the Chancellor family for over 750 years. The Chancellors are recorded as one of the oldest families in the area, having come from France at the time of the Norman conquests, along with the Somerville’s of Carnwath; with home there are long standing connections. The Chancellors left the castle and moved into a new mansion house in Quothquan. They then moved back to Shieldhill castle where they re-roofed and rendered habitable the old tower originally built in 1119 and which now forms the core of the present building. The original form of the tower is said to have been square with access by the round tower on the north side most probably added by the Chancellors in the late 16th century. This remained as the entrance until the major alterations of 1820when the tower was altered and extended. During the 19th century Shieldhill was further added to and modernised. Another remnant of the old tower that survives today is the original spiral staircase within the thickness of the west Gable linking the new entrance and the library (the formal chapel).

Reported paranormal activity

Shieldhill has parts dating back to the 12th century but “the keep” is the part haunted by the grey lady thought to be a daughter of the Chancellor family who owned the house till the 1950s. The lady herself comes from the 17th century a time of religious persecution in Scotland and may have been driven to suicide after being molested by soldiers passing through the area. However the more accepted story is that she fell in love with a “commoner” and when her father forbade the marriage the broken-hearted lass committed suicide. The lady wrapped in a grey cloak prefers to keep to her own room. This room is one of the rooms available for guests to sleep in.

Our investigation

ShieldhillI arrived at the castle late afternoon on the Friday and was pleasantly surprised by the welcome from the staff I was even more pleased to learn I had been given the Glencoe room reputedly the most haunted in the building. The room was fantastic with a lovely 4 poster bed it felt very welcoming and peaceful I settled in right away.

At 8pm I headed down and met Tricia who showed me into the panelled room where everyone had gathered at 9pm we were shown into the Lamont room where the meal was served and we all got to know each other better and Bradley the medium had a chance to relax before the evening of clairvoyance began. The food was fantastic and the staff was superb. Around midnight the evening ended and it was an enjoyable night nearly everybody present got a message and Bradley was superb so we all headed of to bed.

ShieldhillMy room felt cold and I set up a glass on a piece of paper, drew around it and took some photos then went to bed. I had decided to lie awake and see if anything happened but before I new it the sun was coming up and it was breakfast time. I felt so refreshed so showered got dressed and went to breakfast. After breakfast Phil, Nina and I spent time in Biggar then when we returned to the castle explored the building and grounds I took photos too. One of which a figure of a female can be seen looking out of a window. Later we retired to our rooms to relax and prepare for the ghost hunt that night.

At 8 – 30 pm I headed back to the bar and met Phil, Nina and everyone from NWSS present were Tricia, Cooky, Julie and Brad the medium we were shown into the Lamont room where a buffet was served and we were placed in our teams for the night. I was in the red team with Lynn, Nat, Nicola and Brad leading us on our first Vigil.

At 00 – 30 am we headed into the Otterburn room for our first vigil it was agreed we would use the glass as means of communicating with any spirits. Brad opened the circle and set protection in place and we began. The spirit that came through claimed to be that of a child but after some questioning it told us it was not a child but a man named John or Jonathan McGregor who was Scottish born 1675 and died 1712 after being executed for murdering two young children. This spirit would only talk with me as it claimed he disliked the English. The responses slowed down so we tried calling out and got some taps and the room got very dark around the circle. We closed the circle and went for a break. Seen as this was my first time using the glass I made a mental note to ask someone later on about the doubts I was having.

Julie took over from Bradley and at 01 – 20 am we were in the Lamont room for our second vigil. It was suggested we use the planchette and it soon started moving and a little boy who seemed very confused came through. His name was Henry and he was looking for his father he told us his mother was afraid of his father because he use to hurt Henry and killed him and his mother in 1742 when he set fire to the building. I asked Henry to leave the planchette and prove he’s there with us by moving closer to the EMF meter and make the lights go on Henry declined to do so. At this point we closed the circle and put the lights on even though the planchette was moving nothing had been written or drawn on the paper we discovered the pen nib had been forced inside the pen which made me more doubtful as to the results but the group who had went into Otterburn met us and confirmed they had a little boy called Henry who died in a fire his father started.

Our team headed into my room the Glencoe room and again with Julie used the glass it was now 02 – 15 am. Straight away we got some spirits coming through it started with Henry and he said there were others so we asked him to move aside and let them through and 5 other spirits were now there. We established that 4 of the spirits were related to the three females in my team so Julie said by law she has to sit out and sat on the bed I decided that someone on the table was pushing the glass and sat out too and the girls continued on their own. When the fifth spirit came through it claimed to be John/Jonathan from the first session but Julie was unaware it was the same person she was still under the impression that it was a family member of the girls. John refused to talk to me this time which I found odd as he disliked the English before but I asked questions anyway as I was certain this was not paranormal but the glass continued to move in response the me. Julie suddenly became agitated and said something was sitting on her knee and playing with her hair I asked the spirit to tap somewhere in the room and there was suddenly a noise from the wardrobe in the corner. I can safely say that in the 48 hrs I had been in that room there was never any noises from within it anywhere so I thank the spirit and asked for more. Julie asked if the spirit was close to his mother we got a yes Julie then asked if the spirits mother had suffered a stroke and a blood clot in the lungs the spirit said yes. We thank the spirit for his time and closed the session down. The girls went into their own room and while Julie packed the equipment away I asked about the glass and raised my concerns about someone pushing it and how it only moved when a certain person’s finger was on it I also noted the fact that the person complained of a sore finger. Julie said sometimes a spirit can make someone in the circle unconsciously move the glass.

We returned to the Lamont room for a debriefing it was clear Henry was the main spirit the teams got we were the only team to get John. We held a séance but everybody was exhausted so called it a night.

As I was heading out the room Julie asked me to wait behind and when everybody left she said to me “I had not realised that John was the spirit from your first vigil I thought he was their family member I must look like an idiot to you” We discussed it for a while with Bradley and Cooky present I could confirm that she was distressed by the emotions placed on her but was doubtful of the results from the glass especially and she agreed how would someone from the 17th century know what a stroke or blood clot was? It was agreed that a spirit was definitely with us in the room due to the tap from the wardrobe and the effects Julie suffered it was noted that on all attempts by me to get the spirit to light up the EMF meter it was point blankly declined which everybody felt was unusual and that someone with a pulse was manipulating the glass. There is no record of a John/Jonathan McGregor within the dates given I found that in the 17th century there was no McGregor clan it was Greger which was outlawed by the king of England and in the late 17th century they joined forces with an Irish clan and the McGregor clan was formed.

Conclusion

Overall Shieldhill Castle was a fantastic Investigation with some great results on the digital voice recorder and the photo. I would definitely recommend the location for both a relaxing break and a ghost hunt event. I hope to return there at some point in the future.

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