The Drummer of Cortachy Castle

Cortachy Castle, family seat of the Ogilvy Clan, is located north of Kirriemuir in Angus, Scotland.  The Ogilvy ancestors became the 1st Earls of Angus after Scotland became a united country and their active participation in aiding William the Lion.  It is reported that members of Ogilvy Clan assisted King William the Lion who was ambushed and attacked while out hunting.  As a reward for the assistance and their being staunch supporters of the monarchs, William the Lion awarded lands and titles to the Ogilvy Clan.

During the next three to four centuries the Ogilvy Clan grew more and more powerful with each marriage that added more money and lands.  Ogilvy Clan became extremely powerful and influential and as is the case they attracted enemies who resented their influence and power.

The Ogilvy's were met with powerful enemies that attacked their strongholds and with the exception of Cortachy Castle, they were all brought down.

Earthly enemies were not enough for the Earl of Ogilvy.  During the medieval times it is said that a drummer and his drum were thrown from the highest turret of the highest tower.  Some reports indicate that the young drummer was forcibly stuffed inside his drum and then tossed from the tower surviving the fall long enough to curse the Ogilvy Clan.  Whether his punishment was a result of a romantic liaison with the Earls wife, the Countess of Airlie, or the drummer siding with the enemy allowing them to enter the castle without
beating out a warning is unknown.  One thing is for certain, he now beats his drum to warn the Ogilvy Clan.  He warns them of an impending Ogilvy death.

For hundreds of years, the Ogilvy Clan has been haunted by a ghostly drumming that is heard by many witnesses.  At Christmas time in 1844 a Miss Dalrymple was a guest at the castle.  The evening Miss Dalrymple arrived she heard the beating of a drum as she dressed for dinner.  During dinner she questioned her host about the identity of the drummer.  The Lord and Lady Airlie paled at this question and told Miss Dalrymple that the last time the drummer was heard, the first Lady Airlie died shortly after.  The next morning, Miss Dalrymple was treated to another serenade by drummer.  Spooked, Miss Dalrymple fled the castle immediately.  Within six months, Lady Airlie died apparently by her own hand as there was a note left indicating that she knew the Drummer was beating for her.

It was on August 19, 1849 that the drummer gave another serenade to a visiting Englishman.  The Englishman was the guest of Lord Ogilvy, the heir to the Earldom of Airlie.  The Englishman questioned several about the drumming only to be told they heard nothing.  Before the Englishman could question Lord Ogilvy about the drummer, he was told that the 9th Earl of Airlie had become seriously ill requiring Lord Ogilvy's presence.  The 9th Earl died the next day.

In 1900 the succeeding Earl died during the Boer War of 1900.  No one near the Earl admits to having heard the beating of a drum.  Since this Earl's death, no one else has reported hearing the mysterious beating of the drum.  Could it be that the drummer felt he had had carried the curse out long enough?

People who have reviewed this case list it as a crisis manifestation and is frequently referred to as a poltergeist haunting focusing on the Earls of Airlies, Ogilvy's and Castle Cortachy.  I somehow doubt the drummer was actually stuffed inside his drum before being tossed from the tower, but I have no doubt that the drummer was tossed WITH his drum from the tower.

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