Two ghosts are said to haunt the ruined Sanquhar Castle. A third one appeared in Sanquhar graveyard on the other side of town. He seems to have been the creepiest of them all. His name was Abraham Crichton. Crichton was a wealthy gentleman, a laird with extensive lands in the area. Nevertheless, he went bankrupt in 1741. Nobody believed him in Sanquhar. How could he have no money left? A rich man like him?
People in town thought it was just a ruse and Crichton didn’t want to pay his bills. They believed he had hid his money somewhere. Rural communities were not bad off in those years, and the political situation was not yet where it would be in 1745, the year of Abraham Crichton’s sudden death. Why then should he go bankrupt?
In those four years between his bankrupcy and his death he managed to cause even more trouble. There had been some discussion about a church not in use anymore. Even today Sanquhar has derelict buildings in abundance. But because it was a church, many were opposing its destruction. It might have been run down and even dangerous but it was a church and therefore destruction would be sacrilege. Who would want to incur God’s wrath? Certainly not the people of Sanquhar.
Abraham Crichton did not care, not about the people’s fears nor about God’s wrath. He wanted the church demolished and he ordered the start of the works. In the evening the accident happened. On his way home his horse panicked when lightning struck nearby. Crichton fell but one of his feet got trapped in the stirrup. When horse and rider finally reached Dalpeddar, the rider was dead. This was the punishment of God for his lies and disregard of the church, Sanquhar thought and was not very sad.
Abraham Crichton was far from being forgotten though. They buried him in the cemetery, but he would not rest. At nights his ghost would haunt the graveyard, he would pursue mourners, pleading with them, terrifying them, threatening them. Nobody wanted to go near the cemetery anymore. The town was frightened of Crichton’s ghost.
It took a brave minister to solve the situation. His name was Hunter and he took the initiative and spent the night in the cemetery armed with sword and bible. Next morning he tiredly announced the ghost was gone. He should be right. The grave of Abraham Crichton was nevertheless secured with chains, just in case. Hunter’s graveyard exorcism had worked.
Unfortunately the church and many graves are blocked-off completely, so is the castle. Where Abraham Crichton was buried could not be established.
sources and further reading:
Lily Seafield: Scottish Ghosts. Lomond Books, Dale House, New Lanark, 1999