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Another “Green Lady”

Many who have toured Crathes Castle during one of the “Gatherings”, or as independent visitors, will be familiar with the Green Lady’s Room and the tale of the ghostly female figure which is said to have been seen there over many centuries.

There is, however, another less well known apparition supposedly associated with another property which was formerly in the possession of the Burnett family namely Muchalls Castle.

Legend states that a tunnel ran from a cave on the shore at Muchalls to the castle and was used by smugglers. The castle site is approximately one mile from the shore. The tunnel is said to have eventually been filled in at the castle end. In his description of Muchalls published in “Crannog to Castle”, the late Ian Bryce did not make any reference to the existence of a tunnel. He did, however, feel strongly that, from his research, the castle had been in existence for many years prior to 1606 when Sir Alexander Burnett of Leys first acquired it from Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Errol and began his own building/alterations.

The Green Lady of Muchalls, who has reportedly been seen on a number of occasions, including in more modern times, is said to have been a young daughter of the Laird. She accessed the shore by way of the tunnel in order to meet her lover who was returning from a smuggling venture but she slipped and was washed out to sea. On each occasion when seen, she was described as wearing a greenish yellow dress and was brushing her hair in front of a mirror. Unfortunately, as no date is attached to her death, there is no way of knowing whether the Laird, her father, was a Burnett or one of other families who earlier owned the castle.

Of course, almost every castle or ancient building has its legendary apparition(s) or presence which may or may not be believed. Whilst it is difficult to imagine a mile-long tunnel being excavated between the castle and the shore and the need to have such an access, there certainly appears to be a strong correlation between the descriptions of each sighting of the “Green Lady”.


Eileen Bailey