With a history as rich and long as Scotland's, it's no wonder there are endless ghost stories about different locations throughout this beautiful country. Many of the mist-covered hills, dark and eerie castle ruins, and enchanted moors hold stories of betrayal and murder from the past.
With many of these locations, you can literally feel the change in energy when you enter them. There is a shift in the air, and something is just different. Do you just have an over-active imagination? Perhaps. But, with stories like these, you can't help but wonder if there is some truth to them. Here are 1o haunted places to visit in Scotland.
The hauntingly beautiful hills of Glencoe are home to one of Scotland's most terrible events, the Massacre of Glencoe, which happened on February 13, 1692. According to legend, a troop of soldiers pretended to be friendly travellers passing through and they received food and lodging from the members of Clan Macdonald.
In the middle of the night, this group of soldiers slaughtered 38 men, women, and children as they lay in their beds asleep. Several others members of the Macdonald Clan tried to flee, but many of them died of exposure in the freezing cold. Many people have claimed to see the ghostly apparitions reenacting the murder or hear the screams coming from the glen.
9 Culloden Battlefield
Culloden moor is the sight of one of the bloodiest battles in Scotland's history. In support of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Scottish Jacobite army charged the field to battle the English troops on that bleak day in April, 1746. The Battle of Culloden was also one of the quickest battles, as the Scottish army was defeated in only 40 minutes, marking the end of the Highland clans and traditions.
The English army defeated the Scottish rebels quickly, and to this day, visitors to the moor can hear sounds of swords clanging and guns firing, along with apparitions of the injured and even a Scottish Highlander who murmurs the word "defeated" whenever confronted.
8 The Old Tay Bridge
The remnants of the Old Tay Bridge is a constant reminder of a devastating tragedy that occurred on December 28, 1879. In the midst of a raging storm, the center of the bridge weakened and eventually collapsed, right as a passenger train was crossing the bridge. All of the passengers on board the train were killed.
It is said that on the anniversary of this tragedy, people have seen a ghostly train crossing the Tay, right where the old bridge would have stood. You can still see the pillars from the original bridge sticking out of the water, a regular reminder of what took place there.
7 Eilean Donan Castle
One of the most beautiful and most photographed castles in Scotland, Eilean Donan castle also comes with its own share of ghost stories. Built in the 13th century by Clan Mackenzie and Clan MacRae to protect against invading Vikings who controlled Northern Scotland during that time, Robert the Bruce was known to hide in this castle for a time during the Scottish Wars of Independence, and many people were executed on the castle grounds.
There have been sightings of a ghostly Spanish soldier who may have been killed there during the Jacobite rebellions in the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors have also seen a Lady Mary roaming one of the bedrooms in the castle.
6 Skaill House, Orkney
Built on lands that have been inhabited for 5,000 years, Skaill House in Orkney was originally built by the man who discovered the neolithic settlement of Skara Brae in 1850. The southern wing of the house stands on a Pictish burial ground, which explains the supernatural occurrences at the home.
People have seen ghostly apparitions in empty rooms throughout the house, and sometimes there will be strange occurrences like the sudden smell of cigarette smoke.
5 Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle has been one of the most important castles in Scottish history, having been besieged and reclaimed throughout the Scottish Wars of Independence. One of the most famous ghosts of Stirling Castle is the Highlander himself, wandering through the hallways, and often being mistaken as a tour guide, before disappearing before one's eyes.
Another popular ghost that many people claim to have seen is that of the Green Lady, who is said to be a servant of Mary, Queen of Scots. There is speculation that perhaps this lady died in a fire protecting Mary, although that isn't for certain. Some say they have also seen the actual ghost of Mary herself, who was beheaded in 1587.
4 Dunrobin Castle
The beautiful grounds and breathtaking architecture of Dunrobin castle makes it look like it is straight out of a fairy tale. This castle, however, has a darker past than those of fairy tales.
Legend has it that in the 15th century, the Earl of Sutherland imprisoned a beautiful young lady in the castle, with plans to marry her. The young girl was from the rival clan, and she attempted to escape the castle. After tying sheets together and trying to escape, she ultimately fell to her death. Visitors to the castle often hear crying coming from the Seamstress's Room in the upper floors of the castle, where she was imprisoned.
3 Mary King's Close
Mary King's Close is part of the underground maze of streets and buildings that occupy Edinburgh's Royal Mile, and it is steeped in history and folklore. The close was inhabited during the 16th and 17th centuries, with buildings that housed shops and homes built on top of one another. During the devastating plague that spread through Europe, the close was bricked up and sealed off from the public, in hopes of containing the spread of sickness.
There are many stories of ghosts occupying this area, and one of the most popular ghosts is that of a young girl who has since been named "Annie", who is suspected to have been left behind to die by her family. The temperature drop in her room is quite obvious to those walking through, and there have been many sightings of her over the years.
2 Greyfriars Kirkyard
If you are brave enough to tour through Mary King's Close, then you must take a moment to visit Greyfriars Kirkyard as well. Known to be Scotland's most haunted cemetery, Greyfriars Kirkyard has many ghost stories attached to it.
The most famous apparition is known as the Mackenzie Poltergeist, claimed to be the ghost of Sir George Mackenize. This poltergeist is said to have been released when a homeless man broke into his tomb one cold night; ever since then, visitors to the site have been scared, bumped, bruised, and scratched. This kirkyard is also the place where the famous body snatchers, Burke and Hare, first dug up corpses to sell for science experiments.
1 Edinburgh Castle
Perched up on its rocky cliff, Edinburgh Castle has a long and bloody history, with many battles fought on its grounds, and many executions taking place within its walls. As such, it is no surprise that this famous castle comes with its fair share of ghosts and ghost stories.
The most famous ghost to occupy Edinburgh Castle is that of the headless drummer boy, who is said to show up when the castle is about the be attacked. The first spotting of this ghost was back in 1650, just before Oliver Cromwell and his troops attacked the castle. While the drums are heard often throughout the castle, only the actual sighting of this particular ghost means supposed danger for the castle.