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13 Haunted Places in Scotland That Will Give You the Creeps

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A good spooky story is not just for Halloween. If the legends are to be believed, there could be a few bumps in the night not just on 31 October, the most ghostly night of the year, but every night.

To get you into the ‘spirit’ of things, we’ve uncovered some spine-chilling, Scottish ghost stories from our creepiest castles, most sinister houses and eeriest moors.

1. Crathes Castle

With enchanting turrets, towers and ornate rooms, Crathes Castle near Banchory certainly looks like a place spirits would haunt. The castle was first built in the 1500s by the Burnett family with the brooding tower house still standing. It is said to be haunted by the restless spirit of the Green Lady, a ghostly apparition dressed in a green robe. It is said that she was a servant girl or a ward of the Laird who disappeared soon after having a child. In the 1800s, skeletal remains were found behind the fireplace in a room she has been spotted in.

2. Glencoe

The brutal Glencoe massacre, which took place on 13 February 1692, is one of the bloodiest incidents in Scotland’s history. The story goes that a troop of soldiers – acting on government orders – posed as friendly visitors before attacking their hosts, Clan Macdonald, while they lay sleeping in their beds, murdering 38 men, women and children. Other members of Clan Macdonald are reported to have fled to the surrounding mountains, but died of exposure in the bitterly cold mountain landscape. Nowadays people have claimed to see re-enactments of the slaughter, or have heard screams in the glen, particularly around the anniversary of the massacre.

3. Culloden Battlefield

A dramatic sunset over Culloden Battlefield, near Inverness

Sunset over Culloden Battlefield, near Inverness

It was on this bleak moor in 1746 that the bloody battle of Culloden took place near Inverness. In barely 40 minutes, thousands of clansmen were cut down and the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated, ending the Jacobite rebellion. Cries, sword clashes and gunfire have all been heard at the battlefield and a forlorn looking Highlander is said to haunt the area, allegedly murmuring the word ‘defeated’ when encountered.

4. Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle © Kenny Lam

Edinburgh Castle © Kenny Lam

Perched high above the Scottish capital, world-famous Edinburgh Castle is thought to be one of the most haunted places in Scotland and there have been numerous reports of paranormal activity over the years. Former prisoners are said to haunt the dungeons and a headless drummer, first seen shortly before Oliver Cromwell attacked the castle in 1650, has also been spotted. Although many people have heard the sound of his drums coming from the battlements, his physical appearance is rare and is said to foretell danger for the castle.

5. Skaill House, Orkney

Built in the grounds of a Neolithic settlement at Skara Brae in Orkney, Skaill House sits on land inhabited for over 5,000 years. It is said it could be built on top of an ancient Pictish burial ground, which could be why there have been so many sightings of ghostly figures in empty rooms and odd occurrences like the sudden waft of cigarette smoke. There’s one particular spirit that most intrigues visitors to the Skaill.

6. Eilean Donan Castle

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Eilean Donan Castle overlooks the Isle of Skye, at the point where three great sea-lochs meet. Bishop Donan chose the tranquil spot back in 634AD to settle on and create a monastic cell. The first castle was later established in the 13th century by Alexander II in an effort to help protect the area from Viking incursions. War came to Eilean Donan during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1719. Britain had gone to war with Spain in 1718, and Spain saw a chance to destabilise Britain by inciting another Jacobite Rebellion. In April 1719 a small Spanish force under George Keith, Earl Marishcal landed first on the Isle of Lewis and then at Loch Alsh making Eilean Donan Castle their headquarters. With the support of numerous clans, including Clan Mackenzie and Clan MacGregor, the army proceeded inshore in an attempt to incite more Clans to rally to their cause. However, their absence was timely as on 10 May 1719 a Royal Navy detachment attacked the castle, launching a heavy bombardment that forced the garrison to surrender. Following this, Eilean Donan lay in silent ruin for the best part of two hundred years. The castle we see today was reconstructed as a family home between 1912 and 1932 by Lt Col John MacRae-Gilstrap, and opened to the public in 1955. Eilean Donan has also made several appearances in films including Highlander (1986), James Bond: The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) to name a few. • Follow @DailyDoseOfScotland for more! Follow @DailyDoseOfScotland for more! • 📸CREDIT: @m.visuals ————————————————————————- #scotlandshots #scotlandlandscape #scottishlandscape #scotlandinsta #beautifulscotland #scotland #scottishphotography #isleofskye #ilovescotland #edinburgh #edinburghcastle #scottishcastle #scottishhighlands #scottishcountryside #scottishviews #landscapephotography #highlandcow #mountainphotography #aerialphotograohy #ig_scotland #amazingview #wilderness #ig_bestshots #artofvisuals #shotsdelight #beautifulshot #ig_bestshots

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One of the most photographed castles in Europe, if not in the world, Eilean Donan Castle near Kyle of Lochalsh is said to be haunted by a Spanish soldier who was killed in a siege in 1719 during the first Jacobite rebellion. The ghost of ‘Lady Mary’ has also been spotted in one of the castle’s bedrooms.

7. St Andrews Cathedral

St Andrew’s Cathedral is rumoured to be haunted by two ghosts, a friendly monk who has been encountered on the stairs at St Rule’s Tower, and the beautiful White Lady. For the past 200 years people have reported sightings of a lady wearing white gloves, gliding through the grounds before vanishing at the cathedral’s haunted tower. Legend has it that stonemasons, repairing the haunted tower in the Fife town, broke through into a sealed chamber and found a number of coffins. One lay open and contained the well-preserved body of a young woman, wearing white gloves.

8. Dunnottar Castle

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Home to the Earls of Marischal, Dunnottar Castle has held host to William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II. ▫️ Most famously though, it was at Dunnottar Castle that a small garrison held out against the might of Cromwell’s army for eight months and saved the Scottish Crown Jewels from destruction. ▫️ After the war the heavily damaged Dunnottar was retained by the Army and used as a depot until returned to the Keith family in 1695. During this period the ruling Stuart dynasty had been overthrown and replaced with the dual Protestant monarchs of William of Orange and his wife Mary. ▫️ Although widely accepted, a Jacobite movement emerged and in 1707 William Keith, Ninth Earl Marischal was implicated and imprisoned. Although released, his son – George Keith, Tenth Earl Marischal – later participated in the 1715 Jacobite rebellion including fighting at the Battle of Sherrifmuir. With the defeat of the uprising he fled abroad, only returning in 1763 after a pardon granted specifically at the request of Frederick the Great of Prussia. ▫️ During this period Dunnottar had been sold into the hands of the York Building Company who plundered the ruined remains for masonry, lead and other items of value. ▫️ The impregnable fortress is perched on a giant conglomorate on the edge of the North-Sea. ▫️ Image by @lensereflection ————————————————— #lovescotland #scotland #scottish #visitscotland #travelinggram #visualsoflife #thisisscotland #master_shots #instascotland #ig_worldclub #igersscotland #discoverglobe #discoverearth #roamtheplanet #castlesofscotland #beautifuldestinations #passionpassport #discoverscotland #scotland_greatshots #kings_villages #greatnorthcollective #mytinyatlas #travellingthroughtheworld #travelblogger #earthfocus #gameofthrones #traveltheworld #earthpix #scottishhighlands #exploretocreate

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Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven has been the scene of many dramatic chapters in Scotland’s history and is home to several ghosts. A girl dressed in a plaid dress has been seen in the brewery while a Scandinavian-looking man was spotted going into the guardroom.

9. Dunrobin Castle

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Home to the Earls and later, Dukes of Sutherland since the early 1300s, Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland's great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. ▫️ As holders of one of just seven medieval earldoms in Scotland, the Sutherlands were part of the ruling elite, intermarrying with the Royal Family. The 5th Earl married Princess Margaret, daughter of Robert the Bruce and the 6th Earl married Margaret, daughter of Alexander; the illegitimate son of King Robert II. ▫️ In 1514 the Earldom of Sutherland passed by marriage to the Gordon family. In 1567 the 11th Earl and his Countess were murdered by an aunt hoping (unsuccessfully) to change the course of the succession. The 12th Earl married the divorced ex-wife of James Hepburn, who became the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. ▫️ At the start of the 1800s the Sutherland estates amounted to some 1.5 million acres and formed the biggest private estate in Europe. What followed was one of the most controversial episodes in the story of the Sutherlands when, between 1811 and 1821, a huge number of people were cleared from the Sutherland estates. These events still have resonance today. ▫️ Improvements to the castle were undertaken for the 2nd Duke, who commissioned Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, to make additions to the castle in 1845 and to provide a Royal Suite for the visit of Queen Victoria. ▫️ During World War I, Dunrobin was used as an auxiliary naval hospital. Fire broke out in the castle and destroyed part of it. After the war Sir Robert Lorimer was commissioned to carry out the repairs and alterations we see today. ▫️ Image by @anastasia.shuraeva ———————————————— #lovescotland #scotland #scottish #visitscotland #travelinggram #visualsoflife #thisisscotland #master_shots #instascotland #ig_worldclub #igersscotland #discoverglobe #discoverearth #roamtheplanet #travel #castlesofscotland #beautifuldestinations #architecturelovers #passionpassport #discoverscotland #scotland_greatshots #kings_villages #greatnorthcollective #mytinyatlas #instagood #travelblogger #disney #earthfocus #earthpix #traveltheworld

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A young woman is said to haunt the Seamstress’s Room in the upper floors of Dunrobin Castle, near Golspie. The story goes that in the 15th century the Earl of Sutherland imprisoned a beautiful young woman from a rival clan, with plans to marry her. She tried to escape by climbing down a rope of sheets, but fell to her death. Sounds of her crying can still be heard coming from the room to this day.

10. Stirling Castle

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Presents➖ Stirling Castle, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Stirling Castle is one of Scotland's most historically important sites and was once a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations at the castle. Castle dates from at least early 12th century, present buildings mostly built between 1490 and 1600. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. In 1296, Edward invaded Scotland, beginning the Wars of Scottish Independence, which would last for the next 60 years. The English found Stirling Castle abandoned and empty, and set about occupying this key site. They were dislodged the following year, after the victory of Andrew Moray and William Wallace at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. Many of the garrison were killed during the battle, after which the English commanders William FitzWarin and Marmaduke Thweng retreated into the castle. However, they were quickly starved into surrender by the Scots. Next summer, the castle changed hands again, being abandoned by the Scots after the English victory at Falkirk. Edward strengthened the castle, but it was besieged in 1299 by forces including Robert Bruce. King Edward failed to relieve the garrison, who were forced to surrender. By 1303, the English again held the upper hand, and Stirling was the last remaining castle in Scottish hands. 📸 | @scotdrone . #stirlingcastle #stirlingshire #visitstirlingcastle #stirling #castleexploring #castlehunting #castlehunter #drone #dronephotography #scottishcastles_ #castlesinscotland #castles #scottishhistory #epic_castles #scotlandcastles #castlesoftheworld #worldwide_castle #stirlingcastlescotland #braveheart #fantasticearth

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One of the most important castles in Scotland’s history, Stirling Castle is reportedly haunted by a ghostly Highlander, dressed in full traditional costume, complete with kilt. He is often mistaken for a tour guide and stories have been told of visitors approaching him, only for him to turn away and disappear before their eyes.

11. Culzean Castle

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Presents: 🏰 Culzean castle 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 #scotland 📷 @lifeofcraigo 👏 ⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜ 🛡Community of Travelers & Castles Lovers ⚔️ 🔖Use tag #bestcastles to be featured 🔄🔁 📍Find location of the 🏰 above each photo↗🖼 🚸Be sure to follow us ⏩ @best.castles ⏪ ⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜⚜ #scotland #greatbritain #europe #castle #castles #schloss #chateau #palace #burg #castello #castillo #château #medieval #architecture #explore #fortress #travel #best #trip #voyage #holiday #turismo #landscape #amazing #awesome #beautiful #drone #follow #followme #bestcastles

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Hanging on a cliff face on the Ayrshire coast, Culzean Castle looks every bit as haunting on the outside as it is inside. Several ghosts are said to roam the castleincluding a young woman wearing a ballgown and a ghostly grey mist, which was spotted moving up the grand oval staircase. A ghostly piper is also said to play his pipes in the grounds, particularly when a member of the Kennedy family is about to get married, and he has also been heard playing on stormy nights, mixed in with the sound of wind and crashing waves from the ocean.

12. Inveraray Castle

Beautiful Inveraray Castle, set on the shores of Loch Fyne, is said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. A young Irish harpist, who was killed by the Duke of Montrose’s men in 1644, reportedly haunts the MacArthur Room while the castle’s ‘grey lady’ has only been seen by daughters of a Duke of Argyll. Another spooky apparition is the ghostly ‘Galley of Lorne’, which can be seen floating away on the horizon when a Duke dies.

13. The Old Tay Bridge

The Tay Bridge disaster is one of the most memorable engineering catastrophes in Scotland’s history. On 28 December 1879, just two years after it was opened in Dundee, the bridge was hit by a terrible storm which weakened its central section and caused it to collapse while a passenger train was crossing, killing all on board. It is said that on the anniversary of the disaster a ghostly train can be seen crossing the part of the Tay where the ill-fated bridge would have stood before disappearing at the point of the collapse. What remains of the old bridge’s pillars can still be seen beside the current Tay Bridge.

Find out more about Halloween in Scotland, discover Scottish Halloween traditions or learn more about the Scots language.