AN ECCENTRIC aristocrat who was obsessed with the paranormal has left a £34 million fortune in his will.

John Baillie-Hamilton – the 13th Earl of Haddington – died aged 74 in July last year.

He was known in the House of Lords for his interest in crop circles and “healing powers” and he treated fellow peers’ ailments with rock crystal.

His family seat of Mellerstain, Berwickshire, which now hosts a new sculpture park, was designed by renowned architect Robert Adam and is said to boast one of the finest views in Britain.

The earl was convinced the house was haunted and would often tell stories about his encounters with ghosts.

His recently published will has revealed he had a fortune valued at £33,896,376 at the time of his death. His wealth included the Mellerstain estate and surrounding land and part of the Tyninghame estate in East Lothian, which were valued at £14.7m. He also had a share in a farming company worth £13.6m. He had personal possessions valued at £4.5m, cash in bank accounts and a stocks and shares portfolio.

The earl instructed that his estate should be left to his widow Jane and his children.

Mellerstain’s sculpture park opened to the public yesterday for the first time, with a large installation by artist Steve Messam.

Lady Haddington said the family had always thought the grounds would be perfect for hosting art exhibitions to complement the collections inside the property and provide a new attraction for the summer season in the Borders.

Mr Baillie-Hamilton was born at Mellerstain on December 21, 1941. His father, a Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire and distinguished veteran of both world wars, was a noted horseman and forester. His mother Sarah Cook had a role in the formation of the Edinburgh Festival.

As a hereditary peer the earl sat for 13 years in the House of Lords until reform deprived him of his seat in 1999.

His interest in ghosts was sparked when he was two. He claimed he was terrorised by the ghost of a German pilot killed in a bomber crash on the Mellerstain estate.

He said: “It’s about being in the right place at the right time. A lot of people will deny what they are experiencing because they don’t want to believe it. I’m fascinated and welcome it – to a point. I don’t like it following me around – I’ve had that happen to me before, a spirit followed me for six months, every day, till I avenged him.”

His interest in the paranormal alerted him early to the corn circle phenomenon. He was a sponsor of The Cerealogist magazine, which was devoted to the topic, and he could tell at a glance whether a circle was paranormally genuine or trodden by hoaxersIn 1975 he saved the famous Border Bows company, providing premises at Mellerstain for its factory. It ensured he was the most knowledgeable member of Scotland’s Royal Company of Archers, the monarch’s official bodyguard north of the Border.

He and his wife managed Mellerstain, a house open to the public, and the remainder of the Tyninghame estate, and both played a full part in Border affairs. Among several positions the earl held was Patron of Kelso Rugby Club.

His son, George Edmund Baldred, succeeded him as the 14th earl.