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Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Mysteries of Kellie's Castle in Malaysia

Source: The Brunei Times November 1, 2008

IT'S hard to believe that there is a Scottish man's castle in the heart of the Malaysian countryside. Although it has been abandoned since 1926 the place is still shrouded in mystery and there are rumours that the place is haunted.

Kellie's Castle was built by William Kellie Smith, a successful planter in the Ipoh area of Perak. Smith caught pneumonia and died in Lisbon in December 1926.

His wife sold her interest in the Kellas Estate and the Smith family never returned to Malaya. The son was killed in World War II. Since the estate was abandoned in 1926 not much of the first home is left today, apart from the covered walkway, an open courtyard and part of a crumbling wall from the old wing.

Legends were born, one said that ghost of Smith still wanders through the ruins. Other legends were of secret underground tunnels. But apart from two known tunnels, none were ever found.

The Museum of Antiquities refurbished parts of the castle, mostly in the old wing by replastering the walls and laying floor tiles. An interesting discovery was made in June 2003.

During the course of widening the Gopeng - Batu Gajah road at the 6th kilometre stretch, workers unearthed a section of a tunnel. This 1.5m high by one-metre wide passageway is believed to lead from the castle to the Hindu temple nearby.

Now the castle has been turned into a tourist attraction. The grounds have been restored and visitors can now explore the empty wine cellar, the cool and shady rooms of the castle, and the ruins of the family's old home beside it.

Today the Sri Maha Mariamman temple is still used by the local Indian community. If you look closely at the statues of the deities on the temple roof, you will see a figurine of a colonial-looking man dressed in a white topee, green jacket and khaki coloured pants. This is William Kellie Smith. It is thought the workers put it there to honour Smith for building the temple for them.

Smith still stands with the deities watching over his estate. And there are still mysteries and folklore associated with Kellie's Castle and the Sahib of the Kinta Estate.

[Click here to read full article]


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