Monday, October 13, 2014

Festival Of Fear: Day 13: The List: Eleven Haunted Scottish Castles

If I were able to travel anywhere in the world, I'd most like to see the United Kingdom, in particular Scotland and Northern Ireland due to both my own heritage and my hubby's.  I'm also addicted to the Starz network series Outlander, and am fascinated by the Highlander history and most especially all the lovely castles.

But most of these castles have a violent past that creates a picture of haunted malevolence. And that, my friends, is why we're here today.

While we won't be hitting on Glamis Castle (because I already wrote about it back in 2012, as part of another haunted castle post, there are loads of castles in Scotland - plenty of strongholds to feature!

Many of these hauntings feature a "grey lady", a spectre that most likely met a violent death and refuses to leave the castle.  And due to Scotland's violent history of battles and uprisings in the search for independence, there are also countless stories of soldiers meeting horrific untimely deaths.  This makes for an extra-haunted country....

Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, Scottish Highlands

Founded in the 13th century on a small tidal island where 3 lochs meet, this castle was partially destroyed during a Jacobite rising in 1719 but was restored in the early 1900's.  Clan Mackenzie and Clan Macrae both claimed this beauty as their home. It is supposedly haunted by the ghost of a Spanish soldier who lost his life during the Jacobite battle - he is oft seen near the castle gift shop, holding his head. Another ghost is called Lady Mary, and she haunts one of the bedrooms but there is little information as to why.

Inveraray Castle 

This beautiful castle in Western Scotland is the ancestral home to the chief of Clan Campbell and has been since 1746.  Ghostly legends here include a haunted galleon that when seen sailing up the adjacent loch foretells the death of a Clan chieftain, a harpist who had been hung for stealing sordid looks at the Duke's lady of the house, and the ghosts of a Highland battle have been seen in the sky over the castle on several occasions. Of note: one of the Christmas episodes of Downton Abbey was filmed at this picturesque location.

Stirling Castle, Stirling

 Surrounded by cliffs on three sides, Stirling Castle was one of the most important strongholds in Scotland and has been the site for the coronations of several kings and queens, including the infamous Mary, Queen of Scots. The Green Lady is the most famous presence here, and is presumed to be the servant of Mary. When a fire broke out in Mary's bedchamber, the servant saved Mary's life but lost her own in the process.  Also frequently seen is the Highlander ghost, a spectre dressed in full Highlander garb who is often mistaken for a tour guide by soon-to-be-surprised guests.

Auchen Castle, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland 

 An absolutely stunning example of medieval architecture, Auchen castle is currently used for weddings and is highly sought out for such events.  But it is haunted by the unidentified ghost of a small child often seen running up and down the halls, mostly in the morning hours.

Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran

 Thought to have had an old Viking fort on the grounds, Brodick Castle is haunted by several ghosts, one of which is the Grey Lady.  Another servant destined to haunt their charge, she drowned herself on the grounds after being spurned by a captain of the guard.  Another spin on the Grey Lady has her a victim of the plague, forced to live out her final days in the castle dungeon. This castle also holds another prophetic legend - it is told a stag is said to appear near the edge of the grounds when one of the chiefs of Clan Hamilton is about to die.

Castle Fraser, Aberdeenshire 

Started in 1574, this beauty was the stronghold of the Fraser clan for centuries.  Its most interesting ghostly legend tells the tale of a princess that was murdered and then dragged down several flights of castle stairs, leaving a trail of blood that could not be washed away.  The stains remained until they were covered over by wood to disguise the bloodshed. Eerie piano music is often heard at night and many visitors claim to have seen the woman walking the halls of the castle.

Delgatie Castle, Turriff 

 Dating to 1030, Delgatie has the distinction of being so haunted that a minister had to be called to perform an exorcism.  Apparently a Hays family member had a dream about someone being buried behind a wall. This wall was excavated and sure enough, a skeleton was found. Soon after, the castle was relentlessly haunted by what appeared to be the ghost of a monk. There were also several reports of ghosts by soldiers stationed at the castle during WWII - even enough to make the entire unit flee in the dead of night.

Fyvie Castle, near Turiff, Aberdeenshire

 In the 13th century a woman known as Lady Meldrum died and her body was placed in a sealed room, never to be disturbed, at her request. Unfortunately in the early 1920's, a skeleton was discovered when the castle was being renovated. The remains were interred in the cemetery on the grounds.  This is when the hauntings started.  They became so bad that the castle's Laird, having researched the history of the keep, had the skeleton sealed back up into a room in the castle, causing the hauntings to cease.

Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire

The pinkish hue of Craigievar may make it look like a fairy tale castle, but its reputation for being haunted is more in tune with the many gargoyles that line its turrets.  The Blue Room boasts the most talk of supernatural occurrences, with plummeting temperatures, ghostly music, dark figures in corners, and disembodied footsteps.  Legend has it that one of the Gordon clan fell through a window in the Blue Room to his death.  Apparently he's never left.

Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland

 The ghost at Dunrobin is a classic lover's tale of woe.  Margaret, the daughter of the 14h Earl of Sutherland, was in love with a boy her father found unbefitting of someone of her stature and royalty.  So he locked her in one of the attics.  Margaret and her servant devised a plan for her to escape her prison, but it involved climbing down a rope from high in the castle to her lover waiting below.  Her father arrived just in time to frighten her and make her lose grip on the rope, falling to her death below. It's said you can still her cry for her lost love.

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

 Standing high at the top of Edinburgh's Old Town, this impressive fortress is built upon an extinct volcano and dates back to the Iron Age. It boasts an extensive military history but also claims to be one of the most haunted locations in all of the UK. One of the ghosts is a bagpiper who was sent into the vast series of tunnels running under the castle to explore. When the bagpipes stopped, the haunting started.  Word is you can still hear the pipes, even from inside the castle, as the ghost wanders...lost in the underground. There is also a ghostly drummer boy and countless other restless spirits who lost their lives as prisoners within the many dungeons of the castle.

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