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Ballechin House

Once the focus of a controversial investigation by the SPR (Society for Psychical Research), Ballechin House no longer exists in the form that it was back in 1897, at the peak of the alleged haunting.

The house was built in the early 19th century, and served as a home for the Steuart family. The focus of the haunting seems to have stemmed from a number of events in the late 19th century, when the house was in the possession of a man known as Major Steuart. His housekeeper, a farmer's daughter called Sarah, died mysteriously after falling ill and some people portioned blame onto the Major. The Major himself died in 1873, promising to return in the form of one of his pet dogs. His nephew - who promptly had all of the Major's dogs shot, in a cruel and superstitious attempt to deny the Major's promise - inherited the house from his uncle. After this the house began to get a reputation of being haunted by the Major in the form of a ghostly dog.

In 1892 a priest called Father Hayden went here with a group of nuns as a retreat, and they were one of the first groups to experience the haunting. The manifestations consisting of 'mysterious bumps in the night', angry voices and the sound of slamming doors. In August 1896 the house was leased to a family for a year but they left after seven weeks, apparently perturbed by the incessant strange occurrences.

The house was hired by the Society for Psychical Research from February to May in 1897, and a number of manifestations were recorded during their stay. A phantom nun was seen, along with a number of other apparitions including a ghostly monk and a black dog, all from individual sightings, which are open to debate. Their reputation was soiled after the investigation, and the integrity of the witnesses was also brought into question.

In 1932 the house was deemed uninhabitable and remained empty until 1963 when it was finally demolished. The site is still said to be haunted by a ghostly black dog.

Daniel Parkinson

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