Spooky Scotland

The Midgie's guide to the most haunted places in Scotland

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Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle

Reported to be one of the most haunted castles in Scotland, Glamis is the original seat of the Bowes and Lyons family. The castle is the setting of many a good ghostly yarn, including Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s also rumoured to contain a hidden room which has concealed a terrible secret for centuries. It is believed that in 1821 the first son of the eleventh earl was born horribly deformed and that in order to hide this family shame, the boy was declared dead and locked up away from the public. Other ghosts include the Grey Lady, who was burnt at the stake in 1537 on charges of plotting to kill the king, and Earl Beardie, an evil man who, as the story goes, is spending his eternity in the afterlife, gambling with the devil.

Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield forms a beautiful, haunting part of Scotland’s history. On 16 April 1746 the last ever battle to take place on British soil was fought on Culloden Moor. Here the Jacobite Rebellion, vastly outnumbered, were massacred in the field. This was the grim beginning of the repression of Highland customs and traditions throughout the next centuries. As you might think, any battle as bloody as this is bound to leave a few tormented souls. Legend has it that every year on the battle’s anniversary, war cries can still be heard as the warriors fight on through the afterlife.

Edinburgh Old Town

Edinburgh is considered to have such a ghastly, ghostly reputation that in 2001, Dr. Richard Wiseman conducted a research project on spooks in the capital’s Old Town. The results showed that 51% of people experienced paranormal creepiness in spaces reputed to be haunted, without having any prior knowledge of their ghostly associations. Edinburgh Castle has a particularly musical collection of ghouls. The beats of a headless drummer are often heard inside the castle. Rumour has it that he only shows himself when the castle is in perilous danger, but that hasn’t happened since 1650 when a drumming, headless boy appeared as an omen of Oliver Cromwell’s impending march on the fortress. The ghost of a piper also haunts the royal environs. The bagpiper, sent to explore the network of underground tunnels, became lost between the Castle and Holyrood Palace and is now stuck in subterranean limbo somewhere beneath the cobbled Edinburgh streets.

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