The castle was built by the Sibbalds, who held the property from before 1246, but passed by marriage to Sir Robert Lundie, later Lord High Treasurer, who extended the castle about 1496. James IV visited the castle in 1496, as did Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1565. It was sold in 1635 to Alexander Leslie, who fought for Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden during the 30 Years War and was made a Field Marshall. Leslie was captured at Alyth in Angus after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, while on the losing side against Cromwell, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London, only the intervention of the Queen of Sweden saving his life. He died at Balgonie in 1661. Balgonie was captured and plundered by Rob Roy MacGregor and 200 clansmen in 1716. It was sold in 1824 to the Balfours of Whittinghame. The castle has undergone a long-running programme of restoration and is occupied.
Balgonie is believed to be haunted, and ghostly voices and apparitions have been witnessed in the Great Hall. A skeleton was found in the floor of the great hall, during works in 1912
Even when the hall is empty, sounds of conversation could be heard all day and night. The actual words spoken, however, were not recognizable. At times peals of female laughter would ring from the empty hall. In the dining room a headless soldier and an old lady had been sighted often.
Apparently home to many ghosts; its most famous spirit by far is the ‘Green Lady’, or Green Jeanie. The mysterious spectre, thought to be the spirit of one of the Lundies, has been seen in recent times, and was recorded in 1842 as being a ‘well-known ghost’. The hooded woman is apparently still very much a resident in the castle to this day. She’s described as being a ‘’pea green colour and walks behind the windows,” and “Always from left to right, never from right to left’’.
The story goes that Green Jeanie is Mary, a young daughter of an early Laird of Balgonie, who was courting a local lad despite disapproval from her family. Their preferred – and more aristocratic – candidate fatally stabbed the young upstart but, before he died, the local lad had enough energy to stab his attacker in return. Mary later stumbled across their bodies and, much like in Shakespeare’s Tempest, died immediately from shock. Now she haunts Balgonie Castle alongside other spirits, including the ghost of a 17th century soldier and the spirit of a dog.
The castle was used as a location for the TV series Outlander, and the movie Fairy Flag.
Mark from Haunted Auckland visited Balgonie Castle in October 2018, with paranormal team, Scottish Paranormal.