What Started the Leith Hall Haunting?

Leith Hall looks like it could be something out of a fairy tale, with its turrets, conical roofs, and gardens.  What’s missing is the happy, light, “here lives the good king who loves his people, and his beautiful, charming queen” kind of ambiance you would expect from one of those old books with illustrations by Maxfield Parrish. In reality, it’s a huge, hulking, sprawling structure, massive and threatening.

Leith Hall
Leith Hall image courtesy Isabella Perry Creative Commons (edited for color)

It just looks plain old mean, if you could say that of a building, assuming of course that buildings could actually have personalities.  You can imagine the lord as this huge, red-headed guy in a kilt, a raging tyrant of an alcoholic, suffering from numerous pains and complaints who would regularly hang a vassal or two for no other reason than a bad hangover and to amuse himself and his friends. God help the poor starving serf who shot a deer or stole a turnip. That guy probably got drawn and quartered or had molten lead poured into his eyes.

There is really nothing aesthetic about the building.  You can tell that there was a central structure originally built in the 1600s, that was added onto later.  The additions look poorly thought out, just arbitrarily tacked on with no thought of creating an integrated, consistent whole. Go through the house and view the building from inside the courtyard and it looks like an 18th-century Parisian slum, like something out of “A Tale of Two Cities”. The gardens, however, are breathtaking, carefully laid out in typical Enlightenment fashion, a testament to the triumph of man’s reason over the chaos and disorder of unruly nature.

The interior of the house is unremarkable. The furnishings and fixtures all seem to date from the mid-19th century and obviously do not belong to the period of time in which the house was built.

Altogether, Leith Hall is a very forbidding and oppressive looking place. Many of the people who have stayed there and written accounts of their time there mention how the place seems to reek of fear and desperation. Many have even complained of waking up in the middle of the night feeling like a pair of very large, abnormally strong hands were wrapped around their throats, or that these same hands were pushing a pillow into their faces. There has been mention of a large man with a blood-soaked bandage wrapped around his head, holding a knife or a dagger, moaning and walking around the house.

Supposedly this is John Leith III, who was shot in a barroom brawl when someone accused him of selling adulterated grain. Other guests have also complained of sudden drops in temperature, or “cold spots”, especially in John Leith’s old bedroom. Strange smells, the sound of clinking glasses, the rustle of a silken dress and creaking noises have all been noted by the numerous guests who have stayed there specifically to experience the Hall’s ghosts.

The large sycamore tree in the front yard has also been noted as having been a hanging tree.  There are still rope marks on its branches from where some unfortunate reprobate more than likely met an unjust and untimely death.

Leith Hall is a monument to a violent and unjust age, where power and wealth wound up in the hands of people who obtained it only by virtue of who they were born to and who were more than often not at all qualified to handle either.

A very attractive place for ghosts of all kinds!

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