Saturday, May 24, 2014
Scotland is widely thought to be one of the most haunted countries in the World. There are reputedly more ghosts, ghouls, banshees and long-leggety beasties than anywhere else. Reference to spectres stretch back centuries, and have their roots in the mists of time. From brutal murders and injustice to crimes of passion and unrequited love, the hereafter is full of spirits attached to the place where it happened or so the para-normalists would have us believe.
Acceptance of ghosts and ghoulies is all rather Celtic with the common belief we walk not only with the dead but also the unborn. That is what the Festival of Samhain is all about (The Mid-Winter Festival from Halloween to Hogmanay). Most Jock Tampson’s bairns take it with a pinch of salt and like Robert Burns as he wrote Tam O’ Shanter, we roar with laughter at the gullibility of others. It is however always good for the tourists and there are plenty of Scottish castles and stately homes with famous ghosts (some of which you can stay in).
Lady ghosts are the most commonly reported in haunted castles. They fall mainly into three catagories: Green, grey or white ladies.
Green ladies are peculiar to Scotland and most are called ‘Jeanie.’ There are two varieties: the most frequently seen is a benevolent slender young woman with long flaxen hair who wears a long green gown which reaches the ground. Sometimes called a gruagach or a brownie they are friendly water spirits. The others are demons or glaistigs and have hairy goat like bodies with cloven hooves for feet. The long gown covers their hideous body. Good Green ladies help protect the home and family. Bad Green Ladies, usually spirits of a previous mistress, prefer to be alone and dislike dogs.
Many historical buildings have Green Ladies:-
Ardblair Castle, Balgonie Castle, Ballindalloch Castle, Comlongon Castle, Crathes Castle; Dalzell House in Motherwell, Dunstaffnage Castle, Argyll, Fernie Castle , Fyvie Castle, Knock Castle (Isle of Skye), Skipness Castle near Loch Fyne, Stirling Castle, Tulloch Castle Hotel, Dingwall, Scotland.
Grey Ladies are the ghosts of women who died violently for the sake of love or through the heartless actions of a family member. They are tragic figures and wander endlessly forever lost. Historical buildings have Grey Ladies include:-
Brodick Castle , Dalhousie Castle Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh, Dalzell House, Motherwell, Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, south of Melrose, Fyvie Castle, near Turiff, Aberdeenshire, Glamis Castle, Angus
The White Lady (or Weeping Woman) is associated with some local legend of tragedy. Common theme is losing or being betrayed by a husband, boyfriend or fiancé. In some myths, the women have murdered their children after betrayal by their spouse, followed by suicide. White Ladies do not have any special powers, other than being visible to some. Like the Irish banshee they do foretell a death. And are most often seen by children and elders. Popular belief says if a child sees a White Lady, that she will bless it and protect it throughout its life. In contrast, when an older person sights a white lady it foretells their death i.e. usually a peaceful and painless death after a long life, surrounded by friends and family.
Historical buildings have White Ladies:-
Castle Huntly, Dalzell House, Motherwell, Drumlanrig Castle
"Oh, ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll get to Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond."
An old belief was when a Scotsman died in a foreign land, their spirits would return to their place of birth by an underground fairway called “The Low Road.” This was also the route taken by the 'fairies' and ‘little people.' The lyrics to the traditional air, Loch Lomond is thought to refer to two Scottish soldiers from Bonnie Prince Charlie's army, who were imprisoned in Carlisle gaol, after the retreat in 1745. One soldier was to be released so that he could return home to Scotland by the High Road; the other was to be executed at dawn. He in turn would travel home more quickly as a Dead Soul by way of the Low Road.
Old Edinburgh was built on the spine of rock and its backbone (The Royal Mile) ran from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. People lived and traded in a series of lanes and alleyways (wynds or closes) off the long street. Closes included tenement houses on either side, stretching up to seven storeys high. This was at the heart of Edinburgh’s busiest and most vibrant streets, open to the skies and bustling with traders selling their wares to the Old Town’s residents. The custom then was to name the close after the most prominent citizen or the most commonly found business in the close. Mary King was daughter of Alexander King, advocate to Mary Queen of Scots, and was a prominent businesswoman, widow and mother of four who traded in fabrics and worked as a seamstress. Mary King’s Close ran from the Royal Mile down to the Nor Loch (Princess Street Gardens) then a stagnant and highly polluted marsh. Biogas gases from the effluence escaped into the close, creating eerie lights and hallucinations. The eastern end of the Nor Loch was drained in 1763 and the rest in the 19th century.
When plague broke out in the city it spread quickly in the overcrowded and squalid conditions. Poor sanitation, armies of rats and fleas plus a lack of understanding how the infection spread led to an epidemic. There was no medical remedy available and mortality rates were high (90%). The Plague was indiscriminate and nearly all households rich and poor were affected. Rats, the carriers of both the bacteria and the fleas which transmit plague to humans, were everywhere. The worst outbreak in Edinburgh was in 1645. Tens of thousands of people died estimated to be about half the population.
In the 17th century the predominant belief was the blighted were doomed, and should be kept far away from the healthy populace. Plague sufferers were confined to their homes and instructed to hang white sheets from the doors and windows, they would then be visited by the Plague Doctor. Treatment was rarely a success. Others were banished to quarantined huts outside the city walls in desperate attempts by the authorities to separate the healthy from the ill. George Rae was a plague doctor in Edinburgh and wore a large beaked mask which was filled with sweet smelling herbs, along with a leather cloak. Rae treatments consisted of bursting open the victim’s buboes (swelling of the lymph nodes) and cauterize them with a hot poker. There were no anesthetics which would make the procedure almost unbearable.
Mary King's Close was the last badly infected location of the Old Town and in a desperate measure to reduce contamination over 300 plague victims were entombed alive when the close was bricked up until the plague had passed. Life continued in the close as normal except no one was allowed to enter or leave. Supplies were passed to them and life continued under death over took.
The plague ended in 1647 and the area around lay deserted for 110 years before fears of the Black Death were largely forgotten. As the city’s population grew an acute shortage of houses in 1685 saw a few families move back in. It is said two brothers were hired to remove any human remains. The pair was lazy and instead of carrying what remained up and down the stairs in the tall buildings, they hacked the skeletal remains to pieces. The new inhabitants of Mary King's Close soon made reports of seeing apparitions and hearing unnerving noises. Reports of a dog, headless animals, a young girl and several severed heads, limbs and other body parts were reported. 'Satan's Invisible World' by Professor George Sinclair (Glasgow University) was published in 1685 and the first published record of paranormal activity in Mary King’s Close.
Eventually the inhabitants of Mary Kings Close were evicted in 1753 to make way for a new building project. All four remaining closes were partially demolished and buried under the Royal Exchange. Access to the remaining close was prohibited to the public for many years and the space was used to store paperwork during the Second World War. Mary King's Close was eventually re-opened to the public in April 2003 and is now a commercial tourist attraction, entry through Warriston's Close and Writer's Court, Royal Mile.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Abergeldie Castle near Crathie, Aberdeenshire
Built around 1550 by Sir Alexander Gordon of Midmar who later became the Earl of Huntly. The castle is reportedly haunted by a ghost known as French Kate or Kitty Rankie. She is said to be a French woman who was employed in the castle at the end of the 16th century. After being suspected of witchcraft she was confined in the castle cellars before being burned at the stake on a nearby hill. Her ghost has been seen at different times in the location of the tall clock tower. Other disturbances at Abergeldie have included strange noises and bell ringing when misfortune is about to hit the family.
Ackergill Castle (Ackergill Tower), Wick, Caithness
Ackergill Tower was built by the Keiths about 1350. Helen Gunn (Fair Helen) was abducted by John Keith on the eve of her wedding by Dugald Keith. She either jumped or fell from the tower at the castle trying to escape. Her abduction and death was the beginning of a long running feud between the families. Fair Helen now seen either as a green lady, or as a lady in a long red ball gown with tall head of black hair.
Airlie Castle, (Cortachy Castle) near Kirriemuir
Airlie Castle was built c. 1432 by Walter Ogilvy of Lintrathen, Lord High Treasurer of Scotland. It was burnt out in 1640. The mansion house was built incorporating some of the ruins in c. 1792–93. It is rumored to be haunted by a Ram, the 'Doom of Airlie Castle', and is said to circle around the building when death is near or about to strike the family. The Ram has not been reported for a number of years now.
Airth Castle, Falkirk
The castle is haunted by a 17th century nanny who according to legend neglected two children and all perished in a fire. In some rooms it is alleged you can hear the sound of the children playing. Guests have also reported hearing screams and cries late at night, which are believed to come from a maid who was brutally attacked by her master. The castle is also haunted by a phantom dog who roams the hallways nipping at people’s ankles. In 1971 Airth Castle became a hotel and country club.
Ardblair Castle, Blairgowrie
A fine 16th century tower house and country yard castle was built on the original site of the castle and is surrounded on three sides by water. It is alleged to be haunted by a 'Green Lady', dressed in green silk. Her spectre is said to appear in the late afternoon or early evening she has been seen sitting in the gallery staring out of the window.
Ardrossan Castle (Castle Crags), Ayrshire
Now stands in ruins destroyed in 1648 by Oliver Cromwell's troops. Ardrossan Castle was the stronghold of the Barclay family which William Wallace (1270 – 1305) captured during the Scottish Battles for Independence. Legend has it his men after slaying the garrison piled their bodies in the basement. This episode was later known as "Wallace's Larder'. On stormy nights, the tall bearded figure of William Wallace is said to haunt the ruins of the castle.
The castle is also associated with the Devil. In the 13th century Sir Fergus Barclay, (the De'il of Ardrossan) was a horseman extraordinaire and famous around the lands for his tremendous skill. Legend states Sir Fergus sold his soul to the devil ' for a magic bridle. Later he tricked the Devil out of the deal and an enraged Old Nick attacked Castle Crag, leaving hoof marks in the jagged rocks around the stronghold. Fergus survived only to be put to death for murdering his wife. He died on the Isle of Arran and was buried there. Oddly, a storm on the night he was buried uncovered his body and it was washed up on the shore at Ardrossan. He was reburied on the castle grounds in the chapel.
Ardvreck Castle, Loch Assynt in Sutherland
Another ruined castle built in the 16th century by the Clan MacLeod family. The legend goes the Macleod’s procured the help of the Devil (Clootie deriving from 'cloot', meaning one division of a cleft hoof) to build the castle and in return Eimhir, daughter of one of the MacLeod chieftains was betrothed to him as payment. In despair of her situation, the girl threw herself from one of the towers and was killed. Many locals believe Eimhir avoided death as she plunged into the caverns of Loch Assynt and hid from the devil. Beneath the water’s surface she made a new home and became the elusive 'mermaid of Assynt'.
Locals also use this legend to account for natural changes in the landscape. When the loch's waters rise above their normal levels, legend tells that these are Eimhir's tears mourning her life lost on the land. Some even claim to have sighted her weeping on the rocks, her body now transformed into half woman, half sea creature. Infuriated by the broken promise of marriage the Devil summoned meteoric rocks from Chaos to obliterate Inchnadamph and MacLeod's kingdom. It is also cited Clootie's rage produced a tectonic rumbling from the earth's core, resulting in the thrust westwards of the European plate, which is understood by geologists to account for the Moine Thrust belt.
Ardvreck Castle is also haunted by a tall man dressed in grey. Many believe this is James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose, who after seeking sanctuary in the castle was tricked by the wife of Neil McLeod and held captive in the dungeons. He was later transported to Edinburgh for trial and execution. Montrose was hung; drawn; and quartered.
Ashintully Castle , Kilmichael Blairgowrie
The castle was built in 1583 by the Spalding Family. 'Green Jean' is thought to be the spirit of a young woman murdered by her uncle. It is said that her footsteps can still be heard as she walks the castle in sadness. In some tales she was murdered in a green dress, and then stuffed unceremoniously up the chimney by a servant. She is also said to wander the family burial ground.
The Spalding family had something of a reputation for cruelty and hung a tinker (tink) for trespassing. He cursed the family, warning that the family line would soon come to an end, the prophecy was fulfilled shortly after his death. The Tinker’s ghost is said to haunt the spot near where he was hanged, by an avenue of tall trees. Another ghost said to haunt the grounds is 'Crooked Davie' a hunchback servant cruelly murdered by another member of the Spalding family.
Auchen Castle, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland
Auchen Castle is a 13th Century castle probably built by Sir Humphrey de Kirkpatrick when he was Senestal of Annandale. The castle now stands in ruins near the current Auchen Castle Hotel and wedding venue. Whilst the former is not haunted the latter is. Many visitors has reported seeing a young girl walking the corridors and running down the main staircase in the very early hours of morning.
Balgonie Castle , Fife
Balgonie Castle is the home of The Laird of Balgonie and Eddergoll. It is said to be haunted by several ghosts. During its history many famous people have stayed in the castle including, James IV, Mary Queen of Scots and Rob Roy MacGregor. The Grand Hall is the most haunted part with ghostly voices and apparitions frequently reported. A skeleton was found under the floor of the great hall, during works in 1912. Sightings of the Green Lady (Green Jeanie) were documented in 1842 and she is frequently seen at one of the ranges. A17th century soldier has also been see in the courtyard, and is said to walk through the castle gateway. Other phantoms include a hooded figure, a medieval looking man and Alexander Leslie, The Earl of Leven.
Ballindalloch Castle , Banffshire
This impressive 16th century tower house has several ghosts. The' Green Lady' sighted in the Dining Room and there is also a 'Pink Lady.'
The ghost of General Grant is said to ride around the lands every night surveying the improvements he had made to his estate while he was alive. His alleged apparition has also been sighted by the wine cellar.
Bedlay Castle, near Moodiesburn
A Bishop 's ghost is said to haunt Bedlay Castle. First recorded in 1880 and later reports in the 1970's the Bishop appears as a tall bearded man. He was believed to have died in suspicious circumstances in 1350. Other haunting include strange footfalls and a ghostly horse and carriage heard in the old coach lane beside the house. Repeated sightings of a black mass in the hallway have been noted. The Campbell mausoleum was also said to be haunted, until the building was moved to a nearby cemetery. There have been several attempts to exorcise the ghost but they do not appear to have been successful, although there have not been any recent sightings.
Borthwick Castle, Lothian
Built at the site of an earlier structure it dates back to 1430 and was built by Sir William Borthwick. The castle remains the Borthwick family ancestral seat. Mary Queen of Scots sheltered at the castle in 1567 but when it came under siege Mary managed to escape disguised as a page boy. Her ghost dressed as a page boy, is said to wander the halls of the castle. The Red Room is purported to be the site of paranormal activity and is haunted by a young servant wench who gave birth to the illegitimate offspring of the family. Both were cruelly put to the sword. The Borthwick family chancellor was burnt at the stake when it was discovered he had stolen money he and the servant girl are said to haunt the spiral staircase and the Great Hall.
Braemar Castle, Royal Deeside
The present Braemar Castle was constructed in 1628 by John Erskine, 18th Earl of Mar as a hunting lodge. It replaced an older building, which was the successor of nearby Kindrochit Castle, which dates from as the 11th century AD. The castle is reputedly haunted by several ghosts. A blonde girl is said to have committed suicide after she thought her new husband had abandoned her. Her ghost usually appears to newlyweds. The spirit of John Farquharson of Inverey or "Black Colonel" is also thought to haunt the castle with the scent of his tobacco said to linger in many of the rooms. A piper has been seen in the back corridor, and a clash of steel can sometimes be heard on the staircase. The cries of a young baby, reputedly murdered in the castle, have also been reported.
Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran
An ancient stronghold and long time the property of the Hamilton’s is now owned by The National Trust for Scotland. The castle has a long turbulent history and is alleged to be haunted by a 'Grey Lady' clad in grey clothing with a large white collar. Her apparition has been seen in the older parts of the castle i.e. Tea Room and the back corridor. The phantom form of a man dressed in a green velvet coat has allegedly been witnessed in the castle library. Other manifestations include a figure seen on the back stair, temperature drops and a recent sighting of a tall dark robed figure which was witnessed in broad daylight in the castle grounds by two people. The figure was followed through part of the Country Walk before mysteriously vanishing in front of the witnesses.
Castle Fraser, Inverurie Aberdeenshire
Originally known as Muchall-in-Mar and was completed in 1636. Castle Fraser is contemporary with other nearby castles: Craigievar Castle, Crathes Castle and Midmar Castle. The castle is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is open to visitors from Easter to October. There are several ghosts in the castle. A young woman was murdered in the Green Room of the castle's Round Tower in the 19th century and dragged down the stairs before being buried. Her blood on the stairs could not be removed. The steps were eventually covered in the wooden paneling as seen today. Over the years many residents have reported seeing her ghost throughout the castle. The ghost of Lady Blanche Drummond who died in 1874 appears in a long black gown in the castle grounds and on the staircase. Apparitional piano music, voices and whispers have also been heard in the empty hall as have the sound of children laughing and singing.
Cawdor Castle, Invernesshire
The castle is built around a 15th-century tower house, with substantial additions in later centuries. Originally a property of the Clan Calder, it passed to the Campbells in the 16th century and is now home to Angie, stepmother of Colin Campbell, 7th Earl Cawdor. The castle is thought to be haunted by a friendly female ghost dressed in a blue velvet dress. She appears near the portrait of John Campbell, 1st Earl of Cawdor and many believe her to be Lady Caroline.
Castle Huntly, Perthshire
Not to be confused with Huntley Castle in Aberdeenshire, Castle Huntly was built circa 1452. In 1947, the castle was refurbished and became a borstal, then a young offenders' institution before becoming an open prison for adult male prisoners. It is now known as HMP Castle Huntly and is the only open prison in Scotland. Most prisoners at the establishment are low risk ones serving short sentences of up to two years although some are long sentence prisoners approaching the end of their sentences.
The castle is said to be haunted by a White Lady, a young woman dressed in flowing white robes. Some believe she may be a daughter of the Lyon family who occupied the castle in the 17th century. After it was discovered she had an affair with a manservant she was banished to a bedroom high up in the tower overlooking the battlements. Unable to endure her suffering, she threw herself (or was she pushed?) to her death from the tower. The ghost of the White Lady has been seen a number of times over the years, often in the grounds surrounding the castle at night.
A second ghost claimed to haunt the castle is a young boy dressed in a double-breasted sailing jacket. He has been seen in the room from which the White Lady is said to have jumped and there is speculation that he may be the son of Colonel Adrian Gordon Paterson. The Colonel's only son Richard drowned in 1939 in a yachting accident on the River Tay.
Comlongon Castle, Dumfies
Comlongon Castle is a tower house dating from the 15th century. The original tower was extended to include baronial style mansion in the 19th century. The castle is now used as a hotel and is alleged haunted by a 'Green Lady', the spirit of Lady Marion Carruthers. Marion was forced into a bethrothal with a man she did not love. Whilst hiding in Comlongon Tower the distraught Marion committed suicide by jumping to her death. The green lady has been seen both in the castle and the grounds.
Corgarff Castle was built in the mid 16th century (circa 1550) but the original castle burnt down in 1571. It was rebuilt as a barracks and a detachment of government troops after the Jacobite risings of the 18th century. In 1831 the tower served as a distillery and housed local workers. It remained part of the Delnadamph estate belonging to the Stockdale family until they passed the castle into state care in 1961 and gave the ownership of the castle to the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society. It is now in the care of Historic Scotland and is open to the public. The castle is haunted by a girl on the upper floors of the tower. Ghostly screams have been heard in the castle, but nobody has hazarded a guess at who, or what, is making them. When the original castle was burnt Lady Forbes and her children perished giving rise to the ballad Edom o Gordon.
Craigcrook Castle was rebuilt by the Adamson family in the 16th century but has many later editions. In the 19th century it was the home of Francis Jeffrey, Lord Jeffrey, and became known for its literary gatherings. The castle has been associated with many ghostly disturbances including the ghost of Lord Francis who died in 1850. Best known for poltergeist there are several reports of objects being moved around and thrown, and the doorbell ringing when no one is there. Noises and strange footsteps are also cited.
Craigievar Castle , Alford, Aberdeenshire
Craigievar Castle was built sometime in the 14th Century and owned by the Mortimer family. The building of the Castle was never finished and the family was forced to sell the building and land to William Forbes of Menie in 1610 due to financial troubles. Building of the Castle as it appears today commenced in 1610 and in 1626. It was the seat of Clan Sempill and the Forbes family resided here for 350 years until 1963, when the property was given to the National Trust for Scotland.
There are several ghosts in the fairytale castle. The Blue Room (The Ghost Room) is allegedly haunted by one of the Gordon clan members, who either fell from a window or was pushed to his death by “Red” Sir John Forbes. Several witnesses have attested to seeing shadowy figures by the window. Many reports include the sound of someone climbing the stairs to room and some have seen an unidentified apparition on the stairs. Spectres have also been seen in the Great Hall and the School Room. Another ghost that haunts the castle is a musician who fell into the moat of the castle and drowned. Apparently he only appears to people with the name of Forbes.
Craignethan Castle, near Crossford, Lanarkshire
The ruins of Craignethan Castle are near Crossford in South Lanarkshire located above the River Nethan, a tributary of the River Clyde. It was built in the first half of the 16th century, circa 1530. Craignethan is believed to be haunted by a headless Mary Queen of Scots. Other ghosts said to haunt the castle, include the apparition of a woman wearing Stuart period dress, mysterious pipe music, unexplained voices of women, a vague shifting apparition and a poltergeist which has been witnessed to throw things around.
Crathes Castle, Banchory, Aberdeenshire
Crathes Castle is a 16th-century castle near Banchory in the Aberdeenshire . The castle and grounds are presently owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland and are open to the public.
The castle tower house is allegedly haunted by two ghosts, a Green Lady and a White Lady. The former appears by a fireplace in the Green Room and is seen picking up a ghostly infant before they vanish. Centuries ago as the castle was being renovated, adult bones, and those of a baby were found buried beneath where she is seen. It thought she was a girl who had a child with a servant from the castle. Queen Victoria is counted amongst those who have witnessed the Green Lady, when she stayed at Crathes Castle. The Green Lady has not been seen for many years and tradition says that when she is seen it is an omen of death for a member of the Burnett family.
. The White Lady (or anniversary ghost) is thought to be the Bertha, the young lover of Alexander Burnett who was allegedly poisoned by Lady Agnes. When confronted Lady Agnes died suddenly crying "She comes, she comes". On the anniversary of the murder a white lady is seen.
Culcreuch Castle, Fintry, near Loch Lomond
Culcreuch Castle was built in 1296 and was the clan seat of Clan Galbraith from 1320 to 1624. Since 1984 it has been a hotel. Culcreuch is reputed to have several ghosts, among these are the ghostly sounds of Harp Music coming from the Chinese Bird Room and the Lairds Hall. There is said to be an apparition of a severed animal head which flies around the battlements and the manifestation of a cold grey mass which has height and proportions of a human being.
Culzean Castle, Maybole, Ayrshire
Culzean Castle is a cliff top castle built between 1777 and 1792, and is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The castle has a number of ghosts (7), these include, a ghostly piper said to herald a Kennedy marriage. His erie apparition has reportedly been seen in the grounds and in an area known as 'Pipers Brae'. The piper is said to have been exploring the nearby caves beneath the castle when he mysteriously vanished. Other ghosts allegedly haunt the castle include a young lady dressed in what appears to be a ball gown, an apparition that has reportedly been seen on the main stair. She is thought to be a young wench foully murdered in the Green Room. A “misty shape” moving up the oval staircase has been common sighted over the years and a spectral figure of a gentleman which has been recently witnessed by the lift lobby. The Supernatural Knight was a knight said to have abducted a young heiress and held her captive in the castle. It may be based on fact as May Kennedy from Culzean was abducted from the castle by Sir John Cathcart, but escaped by pushing him to his death from the cliffs.
Dalhousie Castle Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh
The castle dates from the 13th century with more modifications made in the 15th and 17th centuries. The castle originally had a dry moat surround but this was eventually turned in gardens. In 1972 the castle was converted into a hotel.
The castle is allegedly haunted by a number of ghosts, most notably Sir Alexander Ramsay. He was starved to death in 1342 in Hermitage Castle by Sir William Douglas, and has been seen roaming the halls and grounds of the hotel ever since. The ghost of Lady Catherine, mistress to one of the Ramsay lairds (the ‘Grey Lady’) is frequently seen around the turrets and in the dungeon of the castle. Strange noises are also heard.
Dalzell House , Motherwell, North Lanarkshire
The 15th/16th-century tower house was built by the Dalzell family, who acquired these lands in the 13th century. The building was extensively remodeled in the 19th century.
Dalzell House has reportedly three ghosts: a green lady, a white lady and a grey lady. The green lady haunts the south wing: a young boy babbled that he saw her walking out from a passage; security guards at the time when the house was empty heard noises and saw her briefly; and guard dogs bark into empty room where she walks. The white lady walks around the whole estate and a number of rumours were told about her. One story said she was a maid who jumped off the battlements in the grounds, and another said she was walled up. The grey lady was said to be a nurse from World War I when the house was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers.
Drumlanrig Castle was constructed in 1679 and 1689 from distinctive pink sandstone. Dubbed the “Pink Palace” it was built on the site of an ancient Douglas stronghold overlooking Nith Valley. Only the cellars remain of the original 14th century castle in which Mary Queen of Scots stayed in 1563. Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed at the castle in 1745, after his unsuccessful invasion of England.
The mansion is haunted by three ghosts: Lady Anne Douglas dressed in white, walks around with her detached head in her arms; there is also a reported sighting of a monkey, ape or another creature, which has been witnessed in the Yellow Monkey Room; and after the death of the first Duke of Queensberry a phantom coach-and-six, with a headless coachman, used to be seen on the anniversary of his death, driving up to the castle. The ghost of the Duke, accompanied by a tall, hooded figure in black, emerged from the castle and got into the coach, which drove away at a furious rate, passing through the closed gate of the main lodge.
In the 'The Bloody Passage' thought to be the venue of a vicious killing, there is reputedly blood stains which cannot be removed from the floor.
Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, south of Melrose
The original core of the current building was constructed in 1845. In 1929 it was purchased by the Scottish Motor Traction Company and remodeled to include an east wing. The building became a hotel. Local believe the Grey Lady who haunts the Abbey was a young girl who drowned herself in the nearby River Tweed after the murder of her lover, a monk at the Abbey.
Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven
Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland on the north-east coast of Scotland, south of Stonehaven. The surviving buildings are largely of the 15th and 16th centuries but the castle was restored in the 20th century. The castle has several ghost sightings. The apparition of a girl dressed in a dull (green) plaid-type dress is said to have been witnessed in the bakery. Other ghosts are said to include a young deer hound, a tall Scandinavian-looking man going into the guardroom at the main entrance and noises of a meeting coming from Benholm's Lodging when nobody is apparently present. Screams and cries are said to emanate from the dungeons in the dead of night. In 1685 over 160 men, women and children perished there starved to death their skeletal bodies clothed in rags were found.
The castle may have been built on the site of an early medieval fort, but the oldest surviving portion, with an iron yett, is first mentioned in 1401. Between 1835 and 1850, Sir Charles Barry (Houses of Parliament) remodeled the castle in the Scottish Baronial style for the 2nd Duke of Sutherland. Since 1973, the house and grounds have been open to the public, with private accommodation retained for the use of the Sutherland family. The upper floors of Dunrobin are said to be haunted by the spectre of Margaret, daughter of the 14th Earl of Sutherland. Margaret is said to have been imprisoned in the attic by her father after falling in love with a groom called Jamie Gunn. Sadly during an attempt to be rescued from the room she fell to her death. It is said that since one of the attic rooms has long been disused, her moans and cries still come from the area where she was imprisoned.
Dunstaffnage Castle, Argyll
Partially ruined castle it lies near Oban on a promontory at the south-west of the entrance to Loch Etive, and is surrounded on three sides by the sea. The castle dates to the 13th century. The castle now preserved by Historic Scotland. It is alleged to be haunted by a few ghostly figures, including The Green Lady (“The Scanniag” or “Elle Maid”). Her appearances are also said to be associated with poltergeist activity around various parts of the castle. It is believed that the activity is an omen of notable occurrences, which are either good or bad, about to befall the Campbells. It is also said that she also pulled off bedclothes, especially to children. and often woke up family and guests by stamping up and down the floor.
Earlshall Castle, near Leuchars, Fife
Earlshall Castle was built by Sir William Bruce in 1546. The castle was abandoned and fell into ruins before it was restored in 1892.
Sir Andrew Bruce of Earlshall or Bloody Bruce was a cruel man and beheaded and dehanded Richard Cameron, a noted Covenanter. It said that the ghost of bloody Bruce can still can be seen on the turnpike staircase and in 'Bloody Bruce's Room'. Other manifestations alleged to have been witnessed include a figure of an old woman in the 'Mary Queen of Scots Bedchamber' and a depression on a bed. There is also a knight on horseback wearing full armour in the grounds of the castle.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
The castle positioned on the Castle Rock dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh. There has been fortified building on the site of Edinburgh Castle since 850 BC and a royal castle on the rock dates from the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. The British Army is still responsible for some parts of the castle, although its presence is now largely ceremonial and administrative. The castle is in the care of Historic Scotland and is Scotland's most-visited paid tourist attraction.
There are several ghost said to haunt the castle and surrounds.
Edinburgh Castle has a number of secret tunnels leading to the Royal Mile. When these tunnels were first discovered, a piper was sent down to explore. The idea was that he would play the pipes as he went and his progress could be tracked. Suddenly the pipes stopped and the piper was never seen again. Many have reported hearing the phantom piper within the castle.
It is also believed a headless drummer boy sounds the warning when the castle is under attack and the tormented spirits of French prisoners from the Seven Years War and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War still haunt the castle. There is also the ghost of a dog wandering in the grounds' dog cemetery.
Eilean Donan Castle, near Dornie in Wester Ross
Eilean Donan sits high on a site where three Scottish Lochs meet. The present castle was built in 13th Century to defend against the Vikings. It was the stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and their allies the Clan Macrae. The castle was destroyed in 1719 by the English and then reconstructed in the 20th century.
The Spanish Soldier is believed to be the ghost of one of the fifty mercenaries beheaded here during the Jacobite rising of 1719. His tormented spectre has been seen holding his head under his arm in the room that used to be the gift shop, but is now used for the introductory exhibition. One of the bedrooms is haunted by a Lady Mary.
Ethie Castle , near Arbroath in Angus
Ethie Castle is a 14th-century castle built on the site where monks from Arbroath Abbey built a sandstone keep. The castle became the property of the Beaton family and was used by Cardinal David Beaton who was both Abbot of Arbroath and Archbishop of St Andrews. In 1546 Beaton mysteriously died. Ethie Castle is now a hotel.
The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of David Beaton and a Grey Lady spectre . The sounds of phantom footsteps climbing a stair and other unexplained noises including the sound of heavy dragging across a floor have been reported.
Fernie Castle, Near Couper, Fife
Built as a tower house in the 16th century the building had several later additions. Fernie Castle is now a hotel.
The west tower of Fernie is said to be haunted by a 'Green Lady', her apparition appears in some of the bedrooms. Other manifestations include electrical equipment and lights switching themselves on and off.
Fyvie Castle , near Turiff, Aberdeenshire
The earliest parts of Fyvie Castle date from the 13th century with some sources claiming it was built in 1211 by William the Lion.
It is reputedly haunted by a 'Green Lady', the spectre of Lilias Drummond, wife of Alexander Seton, who died in 1601. Lilias was starved to death by her husband, or may have died of a broken heart. Seton married Grizel Leslie only months after Lilias's death and it is said that Lilias's ghost carved her name on the stone window sill of the newlywed’s bedroom soon after they were married. To this day the writing can clearly be seen 'D(ame) LILIAS DRUMMOND. Her ghost is recorded often appearing on the main turnpike stair. Other manifestations include a ghostly 'Grey Lady', phantom drummer and the mysterious sound of trumpet playing. Thomas the Rhymer is said to have cursed Fyvie after being refused entry into the castle and legend has it that if tragedy is going to strike the owners of the castle, certain stones are said to 'weep'.
During renovation work in 1920 skeletal remains of a woman were discovered behind a bedroom wall. On the same day her remains were laid to rest in Fyvie cemetery, the castle residents started to be plagued by strange noises and unexplained occurrences. The skeleton was exhumed and replaced behind the bedroom wall, at which point the haunting ceased. There is said to be a secret room in the southwestern corner that must remain sealed, lest anyone entering will meet with disaster. It is not clear if this is the same room in which the woman's skeleton was found.
There is also an indelible bloody stain, two apparitions and two curses associated with this place.
Glamis Castle, Angus
Glamis Castle has been the home of the Lyon family since the 14th century, though the present building dates largely from the 17th century. The property has long been held by the Lyon family.
Glamis Castle is widely renowned as one of the most haunted locations across the British Isles.
The most famous legend connected with the castle is that of the Monster of Glamis, a hideously deformed child born to the family. According to legend the monster was kept in the castle all his life and his suite of rooms bricked up after his death. It is said the deformed Earl was allowed to exercise there during the night, out of sight of possible passers-by. There is a part of the roof known as Mad Earl’s Walk where awful sights and sounds are experienced to this day. The legend of the monster may have been inspired by the true story. Somewhere in the 16-foot-thick (4.9 m) walls is the famous room of skulls, where the Ogilvie family, who sought protection from their enemies the Lindsays, were walled up to die of starvation. The ravaged remains of the Ogilvies were discovered years later. Another monster is supposed to have dwelt in Loch Calder near the castle.
"Earl Beardie", who has been identified with both Alexander Lyon, 2nd Lord Glamis, and Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford. Several versions exist, but they all involve "Earl Beardie" playing cards. Earl Beardie was a compulsive gambler who liked playing cards. It was on a Sabbath, and either his hosts refused to play, or a servant advised him to stop. In any case, Beardie became so furious he claimed that he would play until doomsday, or with the Devil himself, depending on the version. A stranger then appears at the castle and joined Beardie in a game of cards. The stranger was identified with the Devil, who took the Earl's soul and, in some versions, condemns the Earl to play cards until doomsday, in a secret room in the castle. Earl died a few days later and his apparition has been seen in one of the bedrooms during the early hours of the morning.
The Grey Lady is thought to be the spirit of Lady Janet Douglas, the widow of John Lyon 6th Lord Glamis and sister of the Earl of Angus, and she was burned at the stake as a witch in 1537, on charges of plotting to poison the King. To this day, in the family chapel at Glamis Castle there is always an empty seat, and staff will tell you it’s reserved for the Grey Lady. She appears as a solid figure dressed in a grey robe that moves through the chapel before vanishing mysteriously into thin air.
Amongst the other sightings have been a tongue-less lady who runs through the grounds with her hand clasped to her bleeding mouth, a man given the name ‘Jack the Runner’ as he walks the park land, a butler who appears in the room in which he committed suicide, a small girl who gazes from a tower window, a tall man in a grey coat, , a black servant boy in the Queen Mother's Sitting Room, two armored figures sword fighting in a corridor, a 'White Lady' seen walking up the avenue to the castle and there is a legend of vampire existence at Glamis.
Hermitage Castle,Newcastleton, Hawick, Roxburghshire
Hermitage Castle was supposedly built by one Nicholas de Soulis around 1240, in a typical Norman Motte and Bailey pattern. It stayed in his family until circa 1320, when William de Soulis forfeited it because of suspected witchcraft and the attempted regicide of King Robert I of Scotland. Legend has it that Soulis was boiled to death in molten lead. In actuality, he died, a prisoner, in Dumbarton Castle. The castle became obsolete after the Union of the Crowns, in 1603 and fell into disrepair, by the turn of the eighteenth century it was a ruin. The castle is now cared for by Historic Scotland.
The castle is said to be haunted by Mary, Queen of Scots. Ghostly screams and cries are reportedly heard and Soulis's own ghost is said to haunt the castle and vicinity. Another manifestation is the ghost of Alexander Ramsay.
Inveraray Castle , Loch Fyne
Inveraray Castle lies next to Loch Fyne and has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell since the 17th century. The house is a mostly mid-18th-century neo-Gothic design.
Inveraray Castle is believed to be haunted by the "ghost of a harpist who was hanged in 1644 for peeping at the lady of the house". The sound of a mysterious harp playing has been reported by visitors to this castle.
Jedburgh Castle Jail was built in 1823 on the site of the old castle. After it closed in 1868 the building was restored to a 1820s appearance in 1964 opened to the public as Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum.
Jedburgh Castle has been the subject of many reported paranormal occurrences. Many ghosts have been seen and there have been many reports of a ghostly piper seen standing on the battlements. Strong presences have been felt and on many occasions strange lights have been witnessed by visitors.
Kellie Castle , Pittenweem, Fife
Kellie Castle is a 12th century castle and was originally a simple tower house then later editions were added. The castle is a fine example of Scots Baronial domestic architecture, with an imposing mix of gables, corbelled towers, and chimneys and is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland.
The spirit of Anne Erskine who fell from one of the upstairs windows is said to haunt the main turnpike stair, her apparition is rarely reported, but it is said that her ghostly footfalls are often heard on the main stair. The ghost of James Lormier also is said to have been seen, seated in one of the corridors.
Knock Castle (Isle of Skye)
Knock Castle (Castle Camus) is a former stronghold of the MacDonalds but now lies in ruins. Built circa 1300 and remodeled in 1596 but by 1689 the castle was abandoned and started to decay. Most of the stones were then used for nearby buildings.
It is claimed by tradition that the castle is haunted by a Green Lady, a gruagach, who appears happy if good news is to come; if there is bad news she will weep. The castle is also said to have had a glaistig, a spirit which is said to have a particular concern with caring for the livestock.
Leith Hall ,
Leith Hall is a country house in Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire. It was built in 1650, on the site of the medieval Peill Castle, and run by the National Trust of Scotland since 1945. The manor was the home of the Leith-Hay family for nearly four centuries. The hall is reportedly haunted by the ghost of Laird John Leith III who was killed on Christmas Day in 1763 in a drunken brawl. His ghost is said to appear in great pain with a dirty white bandage over his head and covering his eyes, wearing dark green trousers and a shirt. Other apparitions have also been sighted.
Langside Queen’s Park, Glasgow
The Battle of Langside was fought in 1568. The Battle marked the final defeat for Mary Queen of Scots who had put together an army of more than 6000 men under the command of the Earl of Argyll. The battle lasted 45 minutes with 300 casualties and many of Mary’s troops joined her flight.
Apparitions of long dead soldiers have been reported near the boating lake on the anniversary of the Battle.
Newbattle Abbey , Newbalttle Midlothian
Newbattle Abbey is a Cistercian abbey with parts dating back to the 12th Century. It was founded in 1140 by monks from Melrose Abbey. One of the principal sources of income was the coal mines in its possession and the Newbattle monks were among the first, if not the first, coal miners in Scotland. The Abbey was burned by English royal forces in 1385 and once more in 1544.
The Abbey is said to be haunted by the Grey Lady. The story concerns Sir John Herris who was Baron of Gilmerton at the time when King David II (1324 – 1371) reigned. Gilmerton was a small town close to Newbattle. Sir John’s pride and joy was his beautiful daughter Margaret. Margaret loved the old abbey and its beautiful grounds and used to while away her leisure hours wandering round the gardens or sitting on the banks of the Esk river on a mild or warm day. Inevitably she met a handsome young monk and soon the two fell in love. It was not long before Sir John got to hear of his daughter’s infatuation. He was furious that his beautiful and clever daughter for whom he had great plans should waste her time on a sterile young monk, whose looks and charm were significantly less appealing to the Baron. He called Margaret before him and angrily threatened to kill her if she did not cease her unholy liaison.
It was not too long before Sir John received word that the Lady Margaret together with her nurse and chaperone had been seen entering a cottage on the Melville Estates with two monks from the abbey. Blind with rage he raced to the cottage as fast as his horse would carry him and set ablaze the dry thatched roof. Whether or not Sir John really preferred his daughter dead rather than disgraced we cannot tell. Thatched timber framed houses caught fire quickly and easily and she together with her nurse and both monks perished in the blaze.
He was indicted for his crime and so it was that he fled to France. In time and after matters had cooled down his friend Sir Walter Somerville pleader successfully on his behalf for a Pardon. But as a concommitment he was constrained to make over that part of his land where the murders took place to Newbattle Abbey where it is said, Grey Lady still wanders around the grounds and ancient hallways.
Norwood Hall Hotel, Aberdeen
Norwood Hall Hotel was built in 1881 on the site of the 15th Century Pitfodels Castle. Owner James Ogston originally purchased for his mistress so they could meet whilst he lived across the river with his young family. After years of torment his wife and mistress wanted James to leave the other but James refused.
Norwood Hall hotel is said to be haunted by the ghosts of James Ogston, his lovers and his vengeful wife.
Pinkie House, Mussleburgh, East Lothian
Pinkie House dates from the 16th century, was substantially enlarged in the early 17th century. Pinkie was formerly the country seat of the Abbots of Dunfermline. The building now forms part of an independent boarding school.
The ghost of Alexander Seton's first wife, Lilias Drummond, is said to haunt Pinkie House, sometimes accompanied by a child, as a "Green Lady". She is also said to haunt Fyvie Castle.
Skibo Castle ,Dornoch in, Southerland
Skibo Castle dates back to the 12th century the castle was a residence of the Bishops of Caithness. The building was bought by Andrew Carnegie in 1897, when wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie and he added extensively to it in the 19th and early 20th century. It is now operated as the Carnegie Club, a members-only hotel and country club.
A ghost of a young girl used to haunt old castle. Bones were later found in the castle walls and once they had been buried, the haunting was never seen again.
Skipness Castle , near Loch Fyne.
The castle dates from the 13th century and was the seat of the Clan MacSween. The castle was finally abandoned in the 17th century.
The Green Lady of Skipness Castle is said to be haunt the location. This ghost has protected this castle and its family for hundreds of years. One story about this ghost recounts how she helped the castle while it was under attack. It is said she cast a state of “confusion” over the enemy as they attacked the castle. Because of this, they had to retreat. Once they regained focus they tried to attack again but as they marched toward the castle, they became confused once more.
Stirling Castle, Stirling
Stirling Castle sits on top of Castle Hill, and dates from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542.
The castle has several ghosts. The Green Lady is Stirling’s most famous ghost and thought to be a maidservant to Mary Queen of Scots. Mary almost perished in a fire but for her maidservant who tragically died waking her mistress. Since then, the phantom of the Green Lady has appeared unexpectedly in different parts of the castle, as if checking for fires. The "Green Lady" appears as an omen of bad news (green is an unlucky colour in Celtic mythology). Alternative reason given for the haunting is the spectre belongs to a poor girl driven to despair was separated from her love trapped in the castle starved and died during King Edward’s siege of the castle. Yet another version posits the Green Lady was the daughter of a governor of the castle who was betrothed to an officer garrisoned there. Supposedly the poor man was accidentally killed by the girl’s father and in despair and anguish she is said to have thrown herself from the battlements to her death on the rocks 250 feet below.
The Pink Lady is a beautiful apparition dressed in a pink gown. Some say she is the ghost of Queen Mary, and other stories suggest she is a young widow searching for her husband who was killed in battle. The Pink Lady is usually seen walking from the castle to the nearby church.
The Highland ghost is often sighted by staff and visitors who see an apparition wearing a full traditional costume, kilt and all. Mistaken for a tour guide on many occasion, visitors have been shocked when they approach him, he simply turns and walks away, vanishing in front of their eyes.
Tantallon Castle , East Lothian, Scotland
Tantallon Castle is a semi-ruined mid-14th-century fortress, looking out onto the Firth of Forth. Tantallon comprises a single wall blocking off the headland, with the other three sides naturally protected by sea cliffs.
Reported sightings of a ghostly figure standing behind railings in a wall opening were recorded on camera several times. The pictures a courtly figure dressed in a ruff.
Tulloch Castle Hotel, Dingwall, Scotland
Tulloch Castle dates to circa mid 16th century. It was used as a hostel for students from the west coast of Scotland who were studying at Dingwall Academy until 1976. After this, the castle fell into disrepair until it was renovated and converted into a hotel by local family before being sold onto the Oxford Hotels and Inns chain.
Tulloch Castle is said to have many ghosts with the Green Lady is the best known. She appears in bar in the castle (called the Green Lady Bar) and a portrait of the lady believed to be the Green Lady, Elizabeth Davidson, hangs in the Great Hall.
Castles in Scotland Historic UK