It took Simons many days of skill and cunning interrogation before he finally pieced
toget-her the story which clearly formed the basis of the haunting. It was, indeed, a gruesome
In the days when Meggernie Castle formed part of the estates of the Clan Menzies, the
then chief of the clan had a very beautiful wife. Through utterly innocent and completely modest,
the lady attracted the attention of all the local gentlemen, who paid her gallant court.
Instead of taking this universal admiration as the compliment it was to himself as much as
to his wife, the Menzies was constantly creating scenes which showed that his jealousy bordered
on insanity. One of these scenes, in which he reached new heights of invective and accusation of
infidelity, took place one day when the couple were in the room which Beaumont Fetherstone had
occupied in the tower on his and Simon's first night at the castle.
On this occasion, the Menzie's jealousy roused him to a pitch of violence which surpassed
all his previous attacks, and culminated in his striking his wife. She fell and caught her head, as
she did so, against one of the bed posts.
Immediately his rage evaporated, and he ran to her and knelt beside her, imploring her to
open her eyes and try to find it in her heart to forgive him. It was some minutes before he was
sufficiently calm to realize that she was dead.
Jealousy was not the only flaw in his character, for now he began to search for means by
which he might be able to escape the consequences of what he had done. After some thought he
formulated his plan.
In the powder closet, he knew, was a large chest-of-drawers; the same which still stood in
the tiny room when Beaumont Fetherstone and Edward Simons inspected it that night. He dragged
his wife's body across the room with the intention of concealing it in one of the drawers. But
though his wife had been slightly built none of the drawers of the chest was large enough to take
The Menzies was now beside himself, and reacted with the stark ruthlessness which
characterized so many of his contemporary countrymen. He fetched a saw, and sawed the body in
two at the waist. One half he then put in one drawer; the other in the drawer above.
This gruesome task finished, he then nailed up the door leading from the closet to Simon's
room, locked the door leading into Fetherstone's room, then left the bedroom, fastening its door
securely behind him.
Going downstairs he ordered one of the grooms to bring round his wife's carriage, saying
that she wished to visit a relative who lived farther up the glen. He told the groom that he would
drive the carriage himself.
None of the servants saw the carriage go, and when the Menzies returned alone in it
shortly before dinner time no one was surprised, either by the absence of Mistress Menzies, or by
his further orders. These were to the effect that he and the mistress had decided to go on a visit
abroad, that her maid was to pack a suitable selection of clothes, and that the carriage was to be
ready shortly after dawn. Once more he announced that he would drive it himself, and added that
as the visit would probably keep them away for several months, the servants were to be sent home
on board-wages, and the castle shut up.
Early next morning the servants watched him drive away in the carriage. Seven months
passed before they saw him again, and heard from him the sad news that the mistress had been
drowned in a boating accident in Italy.
There was no reason why they should not believe him, and soon the glens-folk and
neighbors were calling to offer the Menzies their condolences. The Menzies played the part of
bereaved husband convincingly.
When life had settled down once more into the normal run, he decided that he must no
longer delay in disposing permanently of the evidence of his crime. So, one night, taking a dark
lantern and a spade, after the servants were safely in bed, he went to the nearby kirkyard and
prepared a shallow hole.
He then returned to the castle, and made his way to the tower. The room was still locked,
as he had left it, and so was the closet, he noted with satisfaction. But some of his composure left
him when he let himself into the closet and, on opening the lower drawer, smelt and saw the
putrefaction of the limbs it contained.
It took some minutes for him to steel himself to life the decaying flesh into a sheet. By the
time he had deposited it in the grave in the kirkyard and covered it over, he had had more than he
could stomach for one night, and decided that the second part of his task must be left for another
But he did not dare to put off the task too long, for the stench from the closet would
undoubtedly betray its contents if it were not soon disposed of. So next night, fortifying himself
well with whisky, he forced himself to prepare a second grave in the kirkyard.
Before going up to the tower, he went to the library where he poured himself another glass
of whisky, which he swallowed at one gulp. He was so intent upon what he had to do that he was
completely unaware of the dark shape which followed him silently, concealing itself in the
Despite the false courage which he had hoped the whisky would have given him, when he
reached the powder closet and opened the drawer the state of what he found there was too much
'I can't do it!' he muttered to himself. 'But it can't stay here! What is to be done with
As he spoke, he staggered back into the bedroom, and in doing so he stood on a loose
floor-board. With a whimper of awesome joy, he pulled back the carpet and inspected the board.
It was a half-section, newer than the rest of the floor, and whoever had been responsible for laying
it, he had not nailed it down, for when the Menzies tried he found that he could prise it up with
the point of his dirk.
Below was a deep cavity whose floor was the ceiling of the room beneath.
Hurrying to the closet, not daring to think of what he was doing, he dragged the stinking
remains of his wife's torso from the drawer, thrust it between the joists, replaced the board, and
dew back the carpet.
It was as he turned to take up the candle with which he had lighted his way that he saw the
tall figure standing in the doorway.