//The Phantom Servant of Balcomie Castle, Fife

The Phantom Servant of Balcomie Castle, Fife

Balcomie Castle sits just outside the village of Crail, Fife. Like many other Scottish castles, Balcomie was originally constructed as a tower house. Built in the early 16th century, the six-storey stone building may well stand on the site on an earlier building. Little seems to be known about the building’s exact history, however it is known that several noble families owned it and a large extension was added to form a mansion house, most likely towards the end of the 16th century. The castle eventually became the property of the Earl of Kellie who had the newer wing substantially dismantled, possibly to allow the stone to be re-used at nearby Kellie Castle and its walled gardens, leaving only the original tower intact.

The castle was left in a state of disrepair until the early 19th century when additional buildings were built on the site of the former mansion house to create a farmhouse, offices and farm buildings. The property is still operated as a farm and although the tower house is not occupied, the 19th century additions can be rented as holiday accommodation.

There are a number of claims of strange happenings at the castle such as items of furniture being moved around and candles burning blue. The spirit of a boy/young man has also been witnessed at the castle on many occasions, both inside and up on the battlements of the castle. He is said to have been a servant at the castle with a very jovial personality, which led him to whistle almost constantly both while he worked and during rest periods. Eventually the castle owner at the time got so frustrated at the constant sound of whistling that he locked the boy in the dungeon as a punishment. Unfortunately it seems the boy was then forgotten about until around a week later, when he was found dead from starvation and lack of water. Whistling is said to have been heard from the vaulted area in which the boy was held, and the figure is often said to be holding or playing an old tin whistle.