Happy Halloween guys and ghouls! Between the growing popularity of pop up haunted house and the rise of spooky costumes, (prepare to see a number of Joaquin Jokers around this week), Scotland provides a multitude of adrenaline-inducing thrills all over the country. If you’re one of those folks who needs an extra exhilarating jolt of fear on the day of the dead, you’re in luck, because this month’s blog highlights some of Scotland’s most haunted castles – one of which you can actually spend the night in, if you dare…
#1 Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands
Probably the most famous and most photographed castles in the world, the Eilean Donan Castle has been rumoured to be haunted since 1719 during the Jacobite rebellion by a Spanish Soldier. The Spanish soldier was one of the 7,000 Spanish troops who backed an attempt to restore exiled James Francis Edward Stuart to the throne of Great Britain. Yet, the spirit of the soldier with his head tucked under his arm was not discovered until the castle was restored in the early part of the 20th Century in the area that now serves as the gift shop.
#2 Fraser Castle, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Featured on TV’s Most Haunted, Fraser Castle has been host to many ghosts, but the ghost of a murdered princess is the most famous of them all and has been spotted by many residents throughout the castle after her death. The princess was supposedly dragged down a stone staircase which left a bloody trail that was never fully removed. The steps had to be covered in wooden panelling that is still present today. Visit the castle and listen up for ghostly piano music, voices and whispers and the sounds of children laughing and singing with no children to be seen as heard by many other visitors and members of staff.
#3 Castle Stuart, Inverness, Scotland (The Haunted Castle you can stay in)
There are many ghost stories that have circulated around Castle Stuart, but the most common dates back to the 18th century. Legend has it that the Early of Moray inherited the castle and wanted to rent it out, but had difficulties doing this due to rumors of a headless man who tormented the servants of the castle. In attempts to prove the castle was not haunted, he offered a reward to four local men who were willing to spend the night with the door locked the entire night.
The first three men, a minister, an Elder in the Presbyterian Church and a Shoemaker all reported haunted dreams and sightings of a blood-spattered or dark figured man in the room. The fourth visitor, Rob Angus, a stocky Scottish man who claimed to be afraid of nothing, was found dead lying on the ground. A sheep farmer claimed that he heard loud screams and witnesses a light on in one of the castle’s windows where he can see the body of Rob Angus explode through the glass. The farmer claimed that he saw hideous face was grinning down at him that he believed to be the devil.
#4 Glamis Castle, Strathmore, Scotland
Considered to have more ghost stories and legends attached to it than any other castle within the British Isles, Glamis Castle is home to up to 20 alleged spirits. One of the worst ghosts to haunt the grounds has been a woman with no tongue with blood spatters on her face. She has been spotted running about the grounds pointing at her mutilated face.
Yet, most of the paranormal activity has been found in the castle’s “secret room” over the last 600 years. To this day, if you count the number of windows outside of the castle and then count the number of windows inside, you will always be two windows short or what is known as the secret room in Glamis. Some theorists believe that the secret room was a place of black magic and occult rituals where others think it to be be where the Bowes Lyons were slaughtered. The staff believe that the secret room is located somewhere on the top story of the castle, but the location remains unknown.
#5 Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
Oh yes, even the castle of the capital earns a slot in the top 5 most haunted Scottish castles due to its dungeon’s rich history of torture and bloodshed. In fact, the city of Edinburgh has been called the most haunted city in all of Europe and here are only a few reasons why.
The missing piper:
If you were ever brave enough to take the Edinburgh Dungeon tour you would have learned that Edinburgh has a hidden underworld where a series of secret tunnels lead from the castle down the Royal Mile. After the discovery of the tunnels, several hundred years ago, a bagpiper was sent to navigate through the tunnels whilst playing a series of loud tunes so that he can be tracked by those above. Once he reached the half point of the Royal Mile the piping came to a halt and the piper was never found. Several rescue parties were sent in but there was no trace of a piper or his bagpipes. His music has been believed to have been heard from within the castle and on the streets above the tunnels even today.
Scientific evidence points to paranormal:
In 2001 Dr Richard Wiseman conducted a research study that analysed the reactions of people to various parts of the dungeons and surrounding areas. All of the research subjects had no previous knowledge of the castle but were able to feel something far more often in the areas with a reputation for being haunted than anywhere else in the castle. This is one of the few castles where the presence of ghosts were scientifically proven.
Hope we did(n’t) frighten you too much this Halloween and happy Trick or Treating!