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Observations placeholder

Castle of seven staircases



Type of Spiritual Experience


In both cases this is stored perceptions - stored because of the emotion attached to them - being replayed

The classification I have used may seem odd, but the walls were giving up their secrets.

The perceptions being recalled were those of the wall!  The principle is not dissimilar to that of a medium who when holding a person's clothes [the bridge] is able to tap into the perceptions of the person. 



A description of the experience

Marchioness Townshend & Maude Ffoulkes True Ghost Stories
TRUE GHOST STORIES  - The Castle with Seven Staircases

Contributed by Anne, Lady Selsdon

I cannot give the name of this particular castle, which has existed for centuries. At one period it was one of the various residences of Cardinal Beaton, when his private life was somewhat akin to that of Henry VIII, and - like Henry - he inclined towards "variety". But, unlike Henry, when Cardinal Beaton tired of love he wasted no time in trials or investigations, and the lady, with or without encumbrance, was quietly removed.

The scene of these "removals" possesses no less than seven staircases, and the castle walls are so thick that, when alterations were taking place, we understood how simple it had been to brick up an unfortunate mother and her infant, whose skeletons were brought to light by the workmen.

One of the seven staircases was associated with a strange psychic phenomena. Whenever we came up or down this particular staircase, we always heard the sound of a child's toy-cart being slowly dragged across some unseen floor. Creak-creak went the wheels (how one longed to oil them!); but where was the cart, and what had become of the child who had played with it? Once again we owed the explanation to the workmen, as whilst repairing the wall under part of the staircase they discovered a cell-like, windowless room.

The floor was thick with dust, and a little wooden cart stood forlornly in the middle of the room - its child-owner represented by a pathetic heap of bones. "Starved to death," said someone. The cart is preserved today in the castle, the bones received Christian burial, and the ghostly creaking has ceased for all time!

I cannot say I encountered the castle's worst "return", but my little son Patrick not only saw, but heard, things which to this day he has never forgotten. As I mentioned before, Patrick and I first came to the castle on a visit to my husband's family, and my Victorian mother-in-law, who had arranged a nursery with a competent nurse for her grandson's special benefit, was considerably displeased when I told her that as Patrick and I always shared the same room, we had no use for conventional nurseries or nurses. Such a declaration, which swept away the tyranny of the Accepted Idea, and destroyed the law laid down in the detestable words, "It isn't done", caused endless discussion.

But I was firm, and Patrick and I were installed in an ancient bedroom hung with tapestry, and a short, winding stairway in one corner of the room led to a door opening into a small ante-room on the next floor. It was said that the conspirators who had pledged themselves to rid the earth of a bad man came up this staircase to reach their victim, but the dark deed of long ago didn't trouble me.

Patrick knew nothing about it, so we slept peacefully until I was awakened by the child asking me in a whisper who were the men who had just gone up the staircase. "You're dreaming . . . there aren’t any men" I said. "I saw them," he persisted; "the night-light showed them quite plainly. Listen - what's the noise over our heads? Just as if people were fighting."

There was certainly a sound of some sort of a scuffle, which I dismissed as coming from rats, but when we were once more settling down to sleep, Patrick started up. "Look! Look!" he cried. "What dreadful eyes they've got! . . . Do make the men go away - don't you see them creeping down the stairs? Oh, that one is the worst," and he clung to me in terror. Although I did not intend to capitulate and accept the nursery, I could not possibly allow Patrick to be frightened out of his wits. I decided to give the room another try-out on the following night.

However, the same phenomena occurred, and the little boy watched the murderers cautiously creeping up and down; he saw eyes filled with the lust of cruelty and revenge; and, as before, we listened to the scuffling overhead. I was never certain whether my mother-in-law knew that she had put us in a haunted room - at any rate she made no sign when I asked for a change. "The tapestry is lovely, but just a little gloomy, don't you think?" I hazarded.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps




Being a child
Living in a stone built house



Townshend, G. & FFoulkes, M., (1936) True Ghost Stories, London:Senate