The Floating Torso of Meggernie Castle
A Scottish Haunt and a Half
A Messeurs Simmons and Featherstone, writing in letters dated respectively January 1882 and 1883, both related their odd, ghostly experiences while residing at Meggernie Castle, in Glen Lyon, Perthshire, Scotland. Both men were there strictly for grouse shooting; although, truth be told, neither relate how well they did or did not succeed in this particular undertaking.
Simmons relates sleeping in the old tower of the castle one night when, upon seeing the apparition of a young woman materialize near his bed, he felt, upon his person, the sensation of a "burning hot kiss." Obviously startled beyond rational thinking, he flew from bed, grabbed a light, and followed the ghost (would you believe she comprised only an upper torso?) to the door adjoining his room with that of Mr. Simmons. Finding it stoutly locked, though; the ghost had just passed through it.
He went out on the landing in search of the spectral visitor. (A true, intrepid, Victorian adventurer he was, to be sure.)
The next morning, when consulting with Mr. Beaumont Featherstone, he noted the haggard visage of the gentleman, who related that, yes indeed, he had had such a similar experience himself that night. He had seen the "floating torso" of a beautiful woman, but one with a look of grim despair written across her bloody face.
Both men were rather eager to talk about their experiences at table the next day, but with a quieting look from Mrs. Herbert Wood put an end to that nonsense; most likely, she was afraid that this might disturb her guests.
Former guests had complained of similar phantasms, including a woman that had awoken, shrieking, claiming she had felt someone come in and lay down beside her in bed! A servant girl had seen the bloodied lower half of the female phantom walking in her bloodied dress, and servants were loath to ever work in the old part of the house, as it was said that that was were the specter resided. (She had also been seen in the lime grove of trees on the parkland property, and in the old cemetery. One suspects she manifested as a lonely woman sitting in the position of The Thinker, contemplating her strange fate. On a tombstone seat, no less.)
The story of this weird woman is that one of the Laird of Menzies, on an unspecified date in an unspecified year, was so suspicious and jealous of his young bride that he killed her in a fit of pique.
(Seems rather a self-defeating action to take on his part, does it not?)
Horrified at what he had done, but not horrified enough to confess himself, apparently, he bisected the body to make it more manageable, stuffing one half (the torso, we'll conjecture), in a room in the old Tower; the other half, in the graveyard. Details depending, of course, on the teller of the tale.
He informed the curious that the wife was off visiting relatives, that they were taking a trip "on the continent," etc. He then left, closed up his keep, and upon returning, informed everyone of the sad tragedy that had befallen his wife, whom he claimed had accidently drowned.
Menzies later attempted to bury the remains properly, one supposes in the graveyard. He was found dead one morning, in the tower, of an undisclosed reason. Some think he may have been killed by relatives of the murdered wife, suspicious of his role in the affair of her death. Others, that he was frightened, literally to death, by the apparition of his victim. Perhaps he committed suicide out of guilt. Whatever the case, the world will never know.
It was soon after that the two floating halves of the "Ghost of Meggernie" began to be reported--one half, the flying torso of a beautiful, mournful woman, the other, her lower extremities, animate and wearing the bloody dress we must assume she died in.
The wife of a Colonel Kinloch Grant reported the phantom bent over her one night whilst she was courting a restless sleep in the old tower.
The good year 1928 heard Dr. Douglas MacKay give testimony to the fact that he saw the floating torso outside his room in the old tower, one haunted night, after witnessing the "pink light" and hearing footsteps.
Excavations at Meggernie castle in the early Twentieth century revealed the upper half of an old skeleton. Mr Featherstone wrote: "I don't care about talking about it to anyone and I hate writing about it and never have before, as I don't like being laughed at for the reason it [was] not tosh."
Source: Scotland's Ghastly Ghosts by Charles Sinclair