The Hauntings at Balhousie Castle
‘The Hauntings’, a scrap metal sculpture of a war-weary soldier, will be on display at the Castle and Museum between 1 July and 12 November 2023.
The ghostly sculpture, which stands at 6 meters high, was commissioned for the World War One centenary in 2014 by a couple based in Somerset, Jo Oliver and Paul Richards, to commemorate those who served in the war. The inspiration behind the sculpture was the reported sightings of a ghostly soldier seen wandering around the Somerset hills close to where Jo grew up, looking for his way home.
The sculpture was made by metal sculpture specialists, Dorset Forge and Fabrication, a combination of the talents of blacksmith Chris Hannam and artist Martin Galbavy. It is made from over 1,000 pieces of locally sourced scrap metal including horseshoes, brake discs, and car jacks, and its intricate design allows the light to filter through his body giving a ghostly aura.
The Hauntings will be on display in the Castle Courtyard and free to view.
We will host free five minute talks on the hour, every hour, which will take place next to The Hauntings sculpture. The talks will explore the inspiration, design, build and themes that he represents.
The Hauntings Events Programme
We have created an exciting calendar of events, for all ages, that offers the opportunity to explore the many topics that The Hauntings represents. Click here to find out more about our Hauntings events programme and book your tickets.
This programme has three distinct themes:
Celebrating Culture, History and Heritage
1st July – 31st August
We begin by celebrating The Hauntings as an incredible piece of outdoor art taking inspiration from his design, build and use of sustainable materials, whilst sharing stories from The Black Watch 300-year history. Our free panel exhibition ‘Forged in Memory,’ will explore these themes and invite visitors to share their first impressions of The Hauntings through their own drawings, written cards and pictures. With family crafts, our museum explorers club, and adult activities such as jewellery making and still life drawing, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The Impact of Conflict
1st September – 31st October
Throughout September and October, we will examine the turmoil and trauma that conflict brings, whether this is military, personal, industrial, or environmental. Our free panel exhibition ‘Battles Unseen’ explores the profound human impact caused by historical and contemporary conflict. We are also hosting lectures, creative workshops, and community outreach sessions. Our temporary exhibition ‘Repair’, which runs from July to November, highlights the impact of conflict, through various stories of Black Watch soldiers’ injuries, PTSD, and rehabilitation. Using interactive and thought-provoking displays, this exhibition deals with the realities of leaving conflict, and the importance of destigmatising both mental and physical repair in the Armed Forces.
Reflection and Remembrance
1st November – 12th November
We conclude with a period of remembrance for those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Visitors who have created artwork or crafts over the last four months are invited to bring in their work for a final showcase which will demonstrate how The Hauntings has inspired creativity and evoked emotional responses. Our final free panel exhibition ‘In Memoria’ commemorates five Black Watch soldiers, as well as the symbol of the Unknown Soldier where visitors can share stories of their own loved ones who served and died.
We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the people and organisations that have made it possible for The Hauntings to visit The Black Watch Castle and Museum.
Jo Oliver and Paul Richards | Owners of The Hauntings
Chris Hannam |Blacksmith
Martin Galbavy | Artist
Drew Hay | Balhousie Glazing
Mercure Hotel | Perth
Perth and Kinross Council
Jimmie Cairncross Charitable Trust
Friends of The Black Watch Castle and Museum
Perth Common Good Fund
The Binn Group