Scottish Ghosts

Scottish Ghosts and Phantoms - The Haunted History

Apparitions and Phantoms A - F

A

 

Abbey Tower, St Andrews 

Legendary ghost hunter Andrew Green received reports of an alleged haunting at the Round or Abbey Tower and in 1979 he interviewed the couple who had witnessed this sighting.  Ian MacDonald and his wife had both actually seen the apparition. They were on a visit to the golfing centre in 1975 and decided to spend some time looking round the ruins of the cathedral. On nearing the tower in the Abbey Wall they noticed the figure of a woman in `a light grey dress` moving towards them. But what puzzled them was not the fact that she was carrying something that `looked like a prayer-book` but the fact that she was wearing a light veil. `You don't see that these days` Ian said to his wife. At that moment the ghost vanished leaving the couple open-mouthed with astonishment.  See St Andrews Cathedral in Apparitions S-Z

Abbot House, Dunfermline

The Abbot House, over the years has served as a Laird's mansion, an iron foundry, an art school, an orphanage and in recent years as a doctor's surgery.  It is alleged to be haunted by a monk and staff and visitors have heard the rustle of a robe and the flap of a sandal on the main stairs.  Other reported manifestations include strange feelings being felt on the Queen Anne Staircase, the feeling of being pushed from behind on the stairs, sudden drops in temperature on the landing.  The late Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon refused her photographs to be taken in the Radical Room, as she felt very uncomfortable.  Photograph from private collection.

Abbotsford House, Melrose, Borders

The mansion of Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott is alleged to be haunted by the spirit of George Bullock, who died in 1818 and was in charge of some of the rebuilding work.  It is believed that Sir Walter Scott himself saw the apparition of Bullock on more that one occasion.  Other manifestations include the sound of dragging furniture and the apparition of Sir Walter Scott who has been witnessed in the Dining Room.  Footsteps have also been heard at various times throughout the building, these have been reported by some of the visitors to Abbotsford.

Ann Street, Edinburgh

An old house in Ann Street is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of Mr Swan, a former occupant.  His apparition has been witnessed in one of the bedrooms and described as a small man dressed in black.  His ghost is said to be friendly and has wished people 'good night' who are sleeping in the room.

Annan, Dumfriesshire

A stretch of the A75 between Dumfires and Annan is alleged to be haunted, manifestations include, the figure of an old woman rushing wildly towards you whilst waving her arms, an old man with long hair who appears to be screaming, strange creatures, high pitched laughing, screaming and a phantom furniture van.  It is believed that witchcraft was practised in the area.

Atholl Palace Hotel, Pitlochry

The Atholl Palace is a large castlellated Hotel, built in 1875, it is reputed to be haunted by a 'Green Lady', and her spectre has allegedly been witnessed by staff and guests in one of the bedrooms and the the corridor ourside the room.  It is believed that this bedroom is no longer used by guests due to amount of complaints Management received the following morning!!!!

Auchlochan House, Lanarkshire

This ruined mansion house is reputed to be haunted by a 'Black Lady', the beautiful wife of one of the Browns of Auchlochan.

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B

 

Ballachulish, Argyllshire

Ballachulish House is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Stewart of Appin who gallops up to the house. dismounts and vanishes as he reaches the doorway.  On the road leading to the house, the inexplicable sound of horses hoves have been heard many times.  Another phantom connected to the house is that of a tinker who can been seen nearby the gate of the house on autumn evenings.

Ballater, Aberdeenshire

On the South Road there is a little stream which is still known as "The Spinning Jenny Burn".  From time to time a strange apparition which resembles a witch has been allegedly witnessed spinning by the stream.

Ballechin House, Dunkeld, Perthshire

Ballechin once described as the Most Haunted House in Scotland claimed to have a number of ghosts, manifestations included regular sightings of the spirit of Major Robert Stewart, inexplicable sounds of voices, footsteps, banging, rapping, groans and shrieks.  The house was subject to a paranormal investigation before the turn of the 20th century and many noises and a few apparitions were recorded.  Another phantom is alleged to be a 'Grey Lady', the apparition of a nun, and was reportedly seen on the drive near the house.

Bells Wynd, Edinburgh 

The body of a Mrs Guthrie lay undiscovered in a room along this wynd for 21 years. It is said that her ghost manifested itself to a locksmith who broke in, as he was curious to know why the flat was not being used.  Her apparition is also said to haunt the existing close today, many people have witnessed a tall white figure which seems to glide towards the entrance of the close.

Ben Macdui, Cairngorm Mountains, Highlands

The mountain and the surrounding area are alleged to be haunted by the 'Grey Man of Ben Macdui', the mountain over 4000 feet high is one of the highest in Britain.  There are many reports from climbers of unexplained footsteps following them when the hill is covered in mist.  Other reports are of a huge grey apparition, said to be approx 10 feet in height, also a figure in a black robe has been reported near the foot of the hill.  There are reports of sightings, and strange footsteps on record as far back as 1890 and they continue till the present day.

Blackness, The House of the Binns, West Lothian

The Binns, former home of General Tam Dalyell and now managed by the National Trust For Scotland is reputed to be haunted by a few ghosts and include, an old man in a brown habit who is seen gathering sticks on the hillside, water sprites who lurk around the area of the ancient pond below the hill and General Dalyell.  His ghost has been witnessed on a white charger, galloping across the wooden bridge and heading up the hill to his home.  It is also believed that Dalyell had played cards with the devil, and when Dalyell won, the enraged Devil threw the table past him and it landed in the Sergeant's Pond.  Strangely many years later during a dry summer in 1878, the water of the pond was reduced to a new low and there, stuck in the mud was a heavy carved table!!

Blair Street Vaults, Edinburgh (Edinburgh Vaults)

The vaults were built within the foundations of Edinburgh's South Bridge, work started on 1 August 1785 and completed 3 years later.  It was agreed that a great ceremonial procession would take place to mark the first carriage of traffic across the bridge.  It was decided that whoever should be the first to ride across it in a carriage would have a great honour bestowed upon them.  The decision was taken to invite a rich, elderly woman who had lived in the area for many years.  She accepted, delighted and all the preparations went ahead for this great day.  A few days before the ceremony, the old lady died and the bridge committee held a meeting and agreed that they had to honour the promise, and on a March morning the first carriage to cross the South Bridge carried the coffin of the old lady.  The folk of Edinburgh being very superstitious felt that this was a terrible omen, due to the first person to cross being dead and proclaimed that the bridge was cursed.  Over the early years many of the vaulted rooms situated under the nineteen great stone arches were used to to help accomodate the over crowding problem in Edinburgh and local tradesmen set up various small businesses.  Eventually it was decided to abandon the vaults beneath the South Bridge due to a fault in that many of the underground chambers let in water.  Most of the vaulted rooms were sealed off and only a few were still in existance and were used during World War II as air raid shelters.

In the early 1990's the vaults were rediscovered, cleaned out and opened up again for public access.  Since 1997, many strange occurances have been reported in the Blair Street Vaults and continue today.  During Historic and Ghost Walks run by Mercat Tours, many of these occurances have been experienced by the public and reported by guides on their return to Mercat Tours Headquarters.  The manifestations include, breathing on the neck, footsteps, smell of alcohol, tugging on vistors clothes, dragging sounds, breathing sounds, strange smells and battery failure in torches and search lights.  Alleged sightings have included a tall woman dressed in black, a bird which flys over visitors heads, a child, a cobbler, a dog, strange balls of light, a man in victorian clothing and the very erie sighting of a faceless man who wears a blue coat, tri-corner hat and knee length boots.  His evil apparition has been witnessed on many occasions and has been sighted in most of the vaulted rooms.  Many paranormal organisations have held over night vigils in Blair Street, and they have all reported some kind of unexplained phenomena.  Between 2003 and 2004, the prestigious Ghost Club have held three investigations under South Bridge and have reported footsteps, the sound of boots scrunching in the dried mud, an evil growling sound which was witnessed by two investigators, a male voice, a childs voice, strange smells and strange EMF readings.  The Blair Street vaults have been described as the "Most Haunted" place in Scotland!!!!........Enter if you dare!!

Broomhill House, Larkhall (Applebank Inn)

Nothing remains of Broomhill House, a property of the Hamiltons from 1473.  The house later passed to the McNeil-Hamiltons of Raploch, but was demolished after a fire in 1943.  The House for years was reputedly haunted by a 'Black Lady', seen in both the house and in the area, including the Applebank Inn. It is believed that the Black Lady had a connection to the house and very strangely disappeared about 1900.  The house featured in a television programme 'Tonight' with Fyfe Robertson, in the 1960's when a live exorcism was performed.  Her ghost is also said to haunt the Applebank Inn after a door lintel from Broomhill was used in an extension.  Items in the pub are said to move by themselves, Pots in the kitchen are said to move position on the cooker. a greyish figure has been reported at the side of the bar and when the Ghost Club conducted a paranormal investigation in the pub they experienced some rapid temperature changes and the strange sound of glasses or pottery jugs clinking together when no glasses were apparent.  For a full report on the Applebank Inn Investigation, please click here: www.ghostclub.org.uk/applebank.htm

Buckingham Terrace, Edinburgh 

An unknown house in Buckingham Terrace was the scene of a terrible murder followed by a suicide in the nineteenth century.  A former sea captain took his own life after murdering a baby whilst drunk. His apparition which had been described of a scruffy form was seen racing around the building on a number of occasions, although no recent reports have been recorded.

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C

 

Caroline Park House, Edinburgh, 

Caroline Park House, also known as Royston was alleged to be haunted by the apparition of Lady Royston, her green tinted spectre was said to rise from the ground somewhere in the garden and drift slowly towards the front door before disappearing. Other manifestations included loud banging which was sometimes heard coming from one of the rooms, it was thought to be a cannon ball bouncing around - its motivation was unclear.

Cartland Bridge Hotel, Lanark

Originally 'Baronald House' home of Captain James Farie of Farme, the Cartland Bridge was converted into a hotel in 1962.  The Hotel is said to be haunted by the apparition of Annie, daughter of the Farie family, Annie is believed to have died while riding in the grounds of the house and her ghost has been witnessed in the hotel.  She has been witnessed in a certain room which is belived to have been her 'Dolls Room'  Annie is buried in a private graveyard within the gounds and a large oil painting of her hangs up in the Portrait Room Restaurant.

Cathedral House, Glasgow

The Cathedral House Hotel is alleged to be haunted by the ghosts of two children and staff and guests have reported strange happenings from time to time.

 

Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

The square dates from between 1792 and 1820, and was designed by Robert Adam.  Charlotte Square is said to be haunted by a few ghosts, these include, the strange figure of a monk; a woman in 18th century dress; an old man and a phantom coach.  Other manifestations have included the sound of music being played on the piano which can be heard clearly over the noise of the traffic in the square.

 

Chessel's Court, Edinburgh

This courtyard in the Old Town of Edinburgh is surrounded by restored tenements and dates from about 1745.  In the 1850's one of the upper flats was alleged to be haunted by the figure of a woman who had tragically hanged herself there.  The sounds of breathing were heard and the apparition of a tall woman with a black veil was also seen.

Clydesdale Hotel, Lanark

The Clydesdale, formally known as the New Inn, was built in 1792 on the site of the Francisian friary of Lanark.  The basement of the hotel is said to incorporate part of the friary buildings and it is here that the apparition of a monk has reputedly been seen.  Other manifestations include the sound of slamming doors, rattling of glasses and the feeling of someone brushing past people in the cellar area.  The sound of a weeping child has also been reported on an upper floor, when no children are booked into the hotel.

Covenanter Hotel, Falkland

The Covenanter Hotel, a former coaching inn, sits in the picturesque and historic royal burgh of Falkland in Fife, the building is reckoned to be three or more centuries old and over the years the hotel has been considerably altered inside.  The Covenanter is alleged to be haunted by a female figure who has been witnessed floating around various bedrooms from time to time.  Nobody is certain of the identity of this apparition but some have claimed that this is the unhappy spirit of Mary Queen of Scots, who had lived for a while at the nearby Falkland Palace.

County Buildings, Wellington Square, Ayr 

The County buildings were built in 1818-22.  The site covers the former jail, and the buildings include the classic courthouse.  The area is reputed to be haunted by the headless apparition of a man, who it is believed may have been executed on the site.

Cowgate, Edinburgh 

On certain nights a strange figure can be seen lurking near the place he was executed, the ghost has been reported to still carry the rope burns from the hangman's rope still around his neck.

Coylet Inn, Loch Eck

Standing on the banks of Loch Eck, the Coylet Inn is a small country hotel and dates from the 18th century.  The inn is alleged to be haunted by the 'Blue Boy', the apparition of a young lad who returns to find his mother.  It is said that objects have mysteriously disappeared from one area to strangely reappear in another.  Other manifestations include cold spots and wet footprints when nobody has been present to make them.  It is believed that the 'Blue Boy' is a young lad who was staying at the Coylet and was known to walk in his sleep, it is believed that one night in a dream he left the hotel, crossed the road and wandered down to the Loch, where he drowned.  In 1994 this story was incorporated into a film.

Cross Keys Hotel, Peebles

The Hotel, which dates from 1693, was once the Town House of the Williamsons of Cardrona.  Since the 18th century it has been an inn.  The Cross Keys Hotel is alleged to be haunted by the ghost of Marion Ritchie, a former innkeeper.  Disturbances have been reported and include, items being moved about, electrical equipment being switched on and off, glasses thrown around, unexplained bangs and crashes.  The figure of Marion has also been seen throughout the hotel, but bedroom number five, where Marion died, has been reported by Paranormal Investigators to be the centre of the activity.

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D

 

Dalmahoy Hotel, Kirknewton, Edinburgh

Dalmahoy is a fine Georgian Mansion, designed in 1720 by William Adam, father of Robert Adam.  The property was held from 1296 by the Dalmahoys, but sold around 1650 to the Dalrymples and again in the middle 18th century to the Douglas Earls of Morton.  Dalmahoy, now a hotel, is said to be haunted by a White Lady, sightings of this appartition have been reported in both the corridors and bedrooms of the old part of the building.  She is reported to be a very friendly ghost and is thought to be Lady Mary Douglas, daughter of the Earl of Morton.  Her portrait hangs in the hotel.

Dalmarnock Road Bridge, Glasgow

When travelling on this road, there have been a number of eye witness accounts of 'A normal-looking young man, standing on the bridge looking down towards the Clyde'.  Drivers have actually stopped on the bridge thinking it may be a suicide attempt, just as they reach the man, he is decscribed to jump off the bridge, as the eye witness looks over the bridge he vanishes into thin air.  All drivers describe an identical experience having seen the victim as, 'A youngish man of around 30 wearing a navy-blue three-quarter length coat, and coal black trousers.  He has his hair in a crew-cut style.'

Dalry Road, Edinburgh 

The Ghost of John Chiesly haunted the area for 300 years, there were many reports of an apparition running around with a bloody stump where his arm should have been, screaming and cackling. Over 100 years ago when a one armed skeleton was found hidden under the floorboards of a local house and removed for burial, the entity vanished forever.

 

Discovery Point, Discovery Quay, Dundee

Discovery Point is the home of the RRS Discovery, and it is this boat that is alleged to be haunted by unexplained footsteps on deck and other disturbances.  It is thought that the ghosts identity could be Ernest Shackleton; or Charles Bonner, a crew member who tragically fell from the crow's next to his death around 1901.

Drymen, Stirlingshire

The ruined nineteenth-century Buchanan Castle once housed Rudolph Hess, Hitler's deputy leader.  The castle is alleged to be haunted by a strange moaning or gasping sound which is reported mostly in the summer months.  The sounds usually begin around eleven o'clock and continue till dawn.

 

Dumfries, Dumfriesshire

The County Hotel is alleged to be haunted by Bonnie Prince Charlie.  In 1936 a visitor witnessed a male figure in Jacobite attire emerge from the area of a room, turn and disappear.  The following day the visitor learned that the area he had witnessed the figure had been Bonnie Prince Charlie has slept in 1745.

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E

Number 17 - House of Terror, Edinburgh

This house which was close to the Botanical Gardens, was in a very attractive area of Edinburgh and made up part of a row of houses, now demolished.  It was known for many years that number 17, held a particularly dark and gruesome secret.  Not long after the turn of the nineteenth century, number 17 was bought by an enterprising husband and wife who knowing it had lain empty for a number of years wanted to use this attractive property as a boarding house.  It was not long before the couple noticed that one of the attic rooms had a very strange and unpleasant atmosphere in it.  Many house guests were extremely reluctant to enter the room, let alone use it.  Sometimes it seemed as if there was something, or someone, in the room.  On one occasion a young girl working as housekeeper went into the attic room only to re-emerge at once, screaming hysterically.  She collapsed with the shock of whatever she had seen and when the housekeeper was revived, she could not state what had terrified her so much.  Soon after this the word had spread round Edinburgh that number 17, "The Boarding House" was haunted and students from Edinburgh University began to dare each other to take up residence at number 17 and spend time in the top attic room. 

One young student by the name of Andrew Muir took up the dare, he had said at the time that he was very interested in spiritual matters and he was known as a very religious man.  He approached the couple and offered to spend the night in the room, the owners were deperate to end these rumours which were sweeping through Edinburgh and kindly agreed.  For safety they gave Andrew a bell, along with strict instructions to ring the bell if he saw or heard anything out of the ordinary.  The owners and other inhabitants in the house prepared for bed and retired for the night, leaving Andrew Muir to conduct his vigil in the attic room.  A couple of hours passed and all was silent, when all of a sudden they were awoken by the noise of the bell and an accompanying scream of fear and horror.  The inhabitants of the house all rushed up the stairs to the attic room, and when they oppened the door, a terrible sight met their eyes.  Andrew Muir lay dead with the bell at his side, on his face was a look of sheer terror.  Andrew had seen something so awful, that it appeared to have frightened him to death.  After this the attic room was never used again and the house was demolished some twenty years later.

Eilean Mor Lighthouse, Outer Hebrides

On the 15th December 1900 the light ceased to function for several days, by the 26th December a party from the local seafaring community were sent out to investigate.  As they approached the rock they were very interested to speak to Thomas Marshall, Head lighthouse-keeper and his two crew men, James Ducat and Donald McArthur.  As the crew of the rescue boat managed to tie up alongside the quay at the lighthouse, they noticed that there was no welcoming party for them, in fact what was even stranger was there did not seem to be any sign of life at all.  The rescue crew then proceeded to check the lighthouse, the small outcrop but could find no sign of ligthouse crew.  Everything seemed to be in place and they only strange thing the crew could find was an unusual piece of seaweed that none of the rescue crew had ever seen before.  On leaving the lighthouse the rescue crew took the logbook which was later read out in court during the enquiry into the disappearence of the three men.  They read:

12 December: "Gale north by northwest.  Sea lashed to fury.  Never seen such a storm.  Waves very high.  Tearing at lighthouse.  Everything shipshape.  James Ducat irritable."

Later: "Storm still raging, wind steady.  Stormbound.  Cannot go out.  Ship passing sounding foghorn.  Could see lights of cabins.  Ducat quiet.  Donald McArthur crying."

13 December: " Storm continued through night.  Wind shifted west by north.  Ducat quiet.  McArthur praying."

Later: "Noon, grey daylight.  Me, Ducat and McArthur prayed."

14 December: No entry in log.

15 December: "Storm ended, sea calm.  God is over all."

It was also stated at the time of the enquiry that the lighthouse boat was not there, so it was assumed that the three men had abandoned their post and set off in the boat.  What were the men so frightened of, it was felt at the time that the three crew were very experienced in dealing with very stormy weather.  However something very unusual was reported about the storm, from various records at the time, it appeared that this storm had only been local and that the island of Lewis which was only 20 miles away had reported nothing.  During the enquiry a further piece of evidence shrouded this tale into an even bigger mystery.  Two sailors passing the lighthouse on a ship reported seeing three crew members in full heavy weather gear rowing out to sea.  The sailors concerned by their sighting shouted on the the three crew members but there came no reply.  By the end of the enquiry it was felt by many of the locals that the crew members had been lost at sea, a mystery which has never been solved.

 

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F

Frendraught House, Aberdeenshire

The house dates from the seventeenth century and built around what was once a castle is situated close to the town of Huntly, the ghost of Frendraught House is said to date back as far as 1630.  Sir James Crichton the then laid of Frendraught was said to have killed Gordon of Rothiemay in a dispute over some land.  As part of his penalty through the crime he was ordered by the Marquis of Huntly to pay compensation to Gordon's family.  Some years later Sir James became involved in a feud with Leslie of Pitcaple, during this, Sir James secured the services of the Marquis of Huntly's son, Viscount Aboyne and the new laird of Rothiemay to protect him.  One night while all the men were lodging in the Tower House, a terrible fire broke out and Aboyne, Gordon of Rothiemay, Colonel Ivat and servants were killed.  It was suspected at the time that the fire had been started deliberately and one of the main suspect was Lady Crichton.  An investigation was held after the fire but there did not appear to be enough evidence to blame Lady Crichton.  Legend has it that the Lady of Frendraught so troubled by her conscience, after death has returned to Frendraught House, there have been numerous sightings of a figure in white.  These sightings have been witnessed by people living or visiting the house.  Other manifestations include the sounds of raised voices and louding banging sounds, when investigated reveal no rational explanation. The Photograph of Frendraught House is by kind courtesy of Scottish History Online.  To view their website please click on the following link: www.scotshistoryonline.co.uk/