Dougie MacDougall - The Ghost that never was

When I was a young boy, along with my other brothers, we sometimes went along to Caol Ila Distillery at night when all the workmen were away home, except for a watchman and one workman who kept the peat fires burning in the kiln. We as boys, were not allowed near the place at night, but we watched our chance to get past the sentry box when William MacEwan was inside, the we ran for it. Our house at Yellow Rock was only a stone's throw away from our objective, so we knew how and when to approach the place with the utmost stealth. We knew old Dugald McIndeor who was in charge of the kilns, keeping them fired till six in the morning; that was when all the workers arrived for their day's work. We always helped the old man throw baskets of peat on the fires: sometimes the two kilns had to be fired, so with that and the ploughing of the barley on the malt barn floors, we were kept out of mischief. We sometimes were very glad to sit down on the seat provided for the kiln workers and most times we made a cup of tea heated up on the kiln fire in tins made for the job. We enjoyed that very much.

Old Dugald was very superstitious; many a ghostly story he would tell us, but to tell the truth, those stories went in one ear and out the other. I think perhaps the drinking of whisky most of the day did a lot to kindle the imagination, to the extent that they took to believe in the supernatural. Read more....One night we were sitting there quietly in the kiln, for we had been listening to Dugald telling a very ghostly story, when all of a sudden a barn owl on top of the building outside, started hoo-hooting mournfully, putting us into a very fearful mood. Then all of a sudden, without any warning, there were sounds of somebody waking right above us on the kiln floor. We all looked at each other and wondered who could be walking up there at that time of night? and why? The kiln door was open and no human being could pass and go upstairs without our knowledge, so we were in a flap as to what was going on upstairs. We turned to Dugald and said that we would like to go upstairs and investigate, for the sound of the footsteps were still in evidence. He at once begged us not to go up there, for he for one, felt it in his bones that it was no human being but a ghostly apparition on the move at night to find their own soul. We could not listen to him any longer, so we made a dash for the door and ran up all the stairs in the malt barn till we arrived above the kiln. We had a very good look round and to our great surprise we noticed this hand barrow which was on its balance, rocking back and forth assisted by a cat which had jumped on top. Every time the barrow rocked, part of it hit the meshed floor of the kiln. This sounded as of there was somebody walking about. When we came back down to Dugald, he was very happy to see us still in the land of the living, but if we hadn't gone up to investigate it would always have been said that the kiln of the Caol Ila Distillery was haunted.

Tag: history tales

Comments are closed