The original Inverary Castle was a stronghold for the Campbell clan in the 15th century, built by Colin Campbell, the 1st Earl of Argyll but it was burnt down by the Marquis of Montrose in 1644. Numerous paranormal incidents have been witnessed at the site.
New designs for Inveraray Castle were drawn up in 1720 by the architect Sir John Vanbrugh, who also designed Blenheim Palace. This design was later developed by the architects Roger Morris and William Adam, who oversaw the beginning of the castle's construction in 1746, commissioned by Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll. It was completed in 1789 for John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll and his wife, Elizabeth. Built in an eclectic mixture of architectural revival styles, it stands on the original site of the village of Inveraray, when Archibald Campbell decided to build the castle he had the village demolished and rebuilt a mile away, so that it would not impinge on the castle's design.
The castle was damaged by two major fires, in 1877 and 1975, but most of its important artifacts and features survived or have been restored. It contains outstanding furnishings and interiors from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Armory Hall, which contains a display of wall-mounted weapons dating from around 1740, has the highest ceiling in Scotland (21 meters, or nearly 69 feet).
Inveraray Castle is haunted by several ghosts some of these date back to the Orignal Castle previously on the site. In 1644 the Duke of Argyll was driven from Interaray castle by the Marquis of Montrose. Amongst the staff left at Inveraray was a young Irish boy employed to play the harp; the Marquis's men were so outraged an Irishman would work for their sworn enemy that they slaughtered the boy and left his quartered body on to the Dukes bed. Legend states that the boy's ghost became deeply attached to the bed, when the bed was moved from the old castle, to the MacArthur Room in the modern day castle the boys spirit came with it. When TV's Most Haunted were at the castle filming in the MacArthur room the bed moved and a chair was flung across the floor by unseen hands.
Members of staff and visitors to the MacArthur often complain of headaches, others report at being overcome by a feeling of sadness/grief when entering the room, cold spots and a sense of dread have also been recorded. When a member of the family is about to die in the castle, harp music can be heard coming from this room, the last report of this ghostly phenomenon being when the 10th Duke died in 1949.
The harpist ghost seems particularly fond of the library his music is often heard here, he is also blamed for moving books around. When TV's most haunted visited the castle books were actually thrown from the upper level. Other visitor's to the library have burst into fits of hysterical laughter, for no apparent reason.
Another local legend is said to be of a ghost that warns of the death of a Campbell Chieftain. It is said that two days before the death of a chief a ghostly galleon, is seen sailing up Loch Fyne. When the ship reaches land it does not stop, instead it continues to sail over land until it reaches the castle and claims its victim. It is said that in the 18th century, one of the chieftains was so convinced that the ghost ship was coming to take him that he actually drank poison so he would not disappoint the galleons ghostly crew.
On the 10th of July 1758 a Physician, William Hart, was walking along the castle grounds with two other men. The trio all witnessed "a battle taking place in the sky, between Highland soldiers and French soldiers." They saw the Highlanders retreating, leaving behind many of their dead soldiers. Two ladies had also witnessed the battle in the sky. Several weeks later startling news arrived from America, telling of how a Highland regiment lost 300 of its soldiers on July 10, 1758, while attacking a fort held by the French.
The ghost of a young woman who was murdered by the Jacobites has also been seen haunting the castle. This ghost is usually dressed in a grey gown and is known at the castle as the grey lady, the young woman's identity is not known.