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Ghost sightings have been reported in many castles and manor houses. Few old castles do not boast the shade of a jilted lover tumbling from the battlements, a ghostly White Lady, a demonic Monk who vanishes if challenged, a poltergeist, a headless phantom, a spectral coach and horses or disembodied wailing. An especially common theme is that of a victim walled up alive within the castle, whose ghost haunts the castle for centuries afterwards, until the victim's body is found and properly buried. Some stories tend to be regional - spectral pipers on the ramparts of Scottish castles or demonic Black Dogs known as Shucks in the South of England.

Stories of supernatural omens are attached to many castles and the families that own them, generally warning of a forthcoming death in the family, sometimes specifically the lord, chatelain or clan chief. The omen typically takes the form of an unusual animal such as a white deer, a white owl, or a white fox.

In Scotland over a dozen castles claim the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots. In England several castles claim royal ghosts including the Tower of London, Windsor Castle and Berkeley Castle. Many of the best stories have an historical events underpinning them: often an execution or a murder, with supporting detail such as names and dates. There are also a smaller number of reported supernatural creatures that inhabit castles: fairies, banshees and goblins; giants and vampires, and elemental sprites. There are also a large number of ancient legends and curses associated with castles.

On the right you can select ghost hauntings associated with castles in particular countries, or those of a particular type (ghosts, omens, poltergeists, legends, etc). You can also select the best ghost hauntings selected by the webmaster.

These are all well-known and widely reported supernatural visitations. The webmaster (a rationalist) does not warrant the factual accuracy of any of them.

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Ackergill Tower      Wick, Caithness , Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Helen Gunn      
The castle is haunted by the ghost of Helen Gunn. Helen was kidnapped by one of the Keith family who brought her back to Ackergill Tower. She threw herself from the battlements of the tower rather than submit to her captor.

Airlie Castle      Airlie, Angus, Scotland
Omen, The Doom of Airlie Castle      
This harbinger of doom takes the form of a ram that walks around the gardens prior to disaster. A drumming sound is also reported to herald a death in the family.

Airth Castle      Airth, Falkirk, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Phantom Screaming      
Several ghosts frequent the building, currently a hotel. A spectral dog is felt as it tries to bite ankles, two children and their nanny (all of whom died in a fire) still return from the grave, and finally the cries and screams of a maid who was attacked by an enraged master can be heard late at night.

Ardvreck Castle      Inchnadamph, Highland, Scotland
Legend, The Devil      
According to legend the Devil himself assisted in the construction of the castle

Baldoon Castle,       Bladnoch, Galloway , Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Janet Dalrymple      12 September
In the seventeenth century Janet, a young woman, was forced by her parents to abandon the man she loved, and marry David Dunbar. She stabbed him on her wedding night. He survived, but she died shortly afterward. Her wild ghost returns on the anniversary of her wedding to roam the castle dressed in white, blood-spattered clothes but is most often seen on the anniversary of her death. Her ghost became the subject of a novel by Sir Walter Scott - "The Bride of Lammermuir".

Balnagowan (or Balnagown) Castle      Ballchraggan, Highland, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Black Andrew      
Andrew terrorised the neighbourhood, raping local women and murdering locals men. They decided to act against the laird. They stormed his castle and hanging him by the neck from the highest window. Now his ghost remains within the walls of the castle, continuing to harasses visiting women.

Barnbougle Castle      Cramond, Edinburgh , Lothian, Scotland
Omen, Howling Dog      
This dog accompanied his master to the Crusades. Spectral howling was first heard at the castle when his owner died on the battlefield, and is heard again prior to death of the laird of the castle.

Borthwick Castle      Borthwick, Lothian , Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Mary Queen of Scots      
Mary Queen of Scots called at the castle after her marriage (on 15 May 1567) to the Earl of Bothwell. The castle was besieged and she escaped by disguising herself as a page boy. After her death an apparition of Mary, dressed as a page boy, was seen at the castle and she returns every year.

Braemar Castle      Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, New Bride      
A newly married lord went hunting early one morning without informing his recent bride. Convinced that he must have abandoned her, she leapt off the battlements to her death. Her ghost now appears to others, not wanting them to make the same mistake.

Brahan Castle, former site of      Urray, Highland, Scotland
Curse, Soothsayer's Curse      
Before being boiled alive in a cauldron of tar, a local soothsayer predicted the downfall of the family that owned the castle.ΓΏ

Brodick Castle      Isle of Arran, Ayrshire, Scotland
Omen, White Deer      
a White Deer is seen in the grounds of the castle whenever a chief of the Hamilton clan is close to death. The white deer appeared twice in the twentieth century, both times coinciding with the death of the head of the Hamilton Family.

Cardoness Castle      Anwoth, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Legend, Curse      
After a curse was placed on the castle three owners went bankrupt. The forth and his family were drowned in the nearby loch when the ice cracked while they skated on it.

Cawdor Castle       Nairn, Highland, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Muriel Calder      
The castle became part of the Campbell empire when Muriel Calder, heiress to the castle, was kidnapped at the age of 12 and married to the Earl of Argyll's son, Sir John Campbell in 1511. A ghost wearing a blue velvet dress has been reported in the castle and she is believed to be the ghost of Muriel Calder.

Claypotts Castle      Dundee, Angus, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Marion Ogilvie      29 May
The castle is haunted by a "White Lady" seen at a window in the castle each 29 May. She is reputed to be the ghost of Marion Ogilvie, the mistress of Cardinal Beaton who was murdered in St Andrews on 29 May 1546.

Closeburn Castle      Closeburn , Dumfries and Galloway), Scotland
Omen, Bleeding Swan      
Prior to death in the Kirkpatrick family. Swans once brought peace and happiness here, until one was killed by a family member. Now, family death is heralded when a swan appears with a red-stained breast.

Cortachy Castle      Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland
Omen, Drummer      
Caught having an affair with the wife of the castle's owner, a drummer was placed in his own drum and rolled out from a tower. On the verge of dying he cursed all future generations who would live at the castle. His ghostly drum can be heard beating before a death in the family.

Craigievar Castle      Lumphanan, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Gordon      
A member of the Gordon family was murdered by Sir John Forbes who forced him out of a high (seventh storey) window at sword point. His ghost now haunts the Blue Room at the castle

Dean Castle      Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
Omen, Rolling Head      
On 18 August 1745 a female servant in the building once saw the decapitated head of William Boyd, 4th Earl of Kilmarnock, her master, roll across the floor in front of her, even though he was still alive and well in another part of the building. Soon afterwards the earl joined the unsuccessful '45 Jacobite uprising. He was was beheaded in the Tower of London on 18 August 1746, exactly a year after the premonition.

Duart Castle      Isle of Mull, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Omen, Headless Ghost      
Prior to a death in the MacLean family a decapitated figure on horseback is seen. The figure is reputed to be the ghost of a man executed by the MacLean family.

Dunbarre Castle      Alyth, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
Legend, Modred's House      
This castle is said to be the former base of Modred (or Mordred), the nephew of King Arthur. He was killed when the fort was overrun by Scots and Picts. Guinevere may have also been killed here, and is reportedly buried at nearby Meigle.

Dunrobin Castle      Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland , Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Margaret      
the daughter of the 14th Earl of Sutherland who was imprisoned by her father to stop her from marrying someone he regarded as unsuitable. She tried to escape down a rope from an upstairs room but fell to her death. The ghost which haunts the upper floors of the castle is reputed to be hers

Dunstaffgne (or Dunstaffnage) Castle      Oban, Argyll, Scotland
Omen, Glaistig      
The Glaistig is a fairy-like entity attached to the Campbell nobility. She bursts into song, cheers when good news is to be heard, and cries when bad news is to be heard. The Glaistig has not been heard since the castle burnt down.

Duntrune (or Duntroon) Castle      Duntrune, Argyll, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Bagpipe Music      
The castle withstood assaults by Coll McDonnell (Coll Ciotach) or of his son, Sir Alexander. McDonnell sent forward his piper in disguise to gain admission to the castle and report how best it might be attacked. The piper's disguise was penetrated and he was shut up in an upper room, but not untill he had had time to observe that the gateway was so constructed as to render attack disastrous without the aid of artillery. The next morning he saw from the window McDonell's army advancing to the assault. With a view to warning his master, the piper played the air then known as " Dunniveg's Warning" (now called "The March of Duntroon Castle"). McDonnell understood the signal and sheared off, leaving the piper to his fate. A hundred years ago it was commonly believed in the adjoining hamlet that the place was haunted by the ghost of a fingerless piper. This would seem to give a clue to the unfortunate man's fate. It is generally assumed that his captors heard him playing and ran up, slicing off his fingers with a blow of the sword as the quickest method of stopping the tune. Wild pipe music can still be heard in the castle.

Dunvegan Castle      Sligachan, Isle of Skye, Highland, Scotland
Fairies, Fairy Bridge      
The Fairy Bridge near the castle is considered inherently evil, and upsets animals.

Dunvegan Castle      Sligachan, Isle of Skye, Highland, Scotland
Legend, Fairy Flag      
The Flag of the MacLeod's was given to them by a fairy that changed herself into a mortal and married into the family. Each time the flag is waved, it grants the MacLeods victory over a foe, but the flag can only be used three times. It has been used twice so far, in 1490 at Glendale and and in 1580 at Trumpan, both times with success.

Edinburgh Castle      Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, James Graham      
James Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee or Bonnie Dundee as he was known, was the Jacobite commander of the forces at the Battle of Killiecrankie on the 27th July168, where he was mortally wounded. The Viscount was seen on the same day by Lord Balcarres in Edinburgh Castle. Lord Balcarres later discovered that the Viscount had died at Killiecrankie around the time of the sighting.

Finavon Castle      Finavon, Angus, Scotland
Legend, Rhyme      
A local rhyme states that when the castle is reduced to dust, the world will end.

Fyvie Castle      Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Omen, Lady in Green      
A green lady, is seen and not heard as she drifts down the corridors to the 'Murder Room' always presaging a death in the family at the castle.

Fyvie Castle      Fyvie, Aberdeenshire , Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Lady in Green      
Dame Lillias Drummond was starved to death by her husband, Sir Alexander Seton, who remarried soon after. Her ghost, a Green Lady, scratched her name on the window sill of the bedroom of the newlyweds and can still be seen there.

Fyvie Castle      Fyvie, Aberdeenshire , Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Lady in Grey      
The castle is haunted by a "Grey Lady". When building work was being carried out in the early part of the twentieth century a skeleton was found in a secret room. The Grey Lady was seen frequently afterwards, until the bones were returned to the room and things quietened down again.

Fyvie Castle      Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Omen, Andrew Lammie      
The ghost of Andrew Lammie blows a single long note on his instrument as a death approaches the family.

Glamis Castle      Glamis, Angus, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Monster of Glamis      
The most famous legend connected with the castle is that of the Monster of Glamis, a hideously deformed child born to the family. In the story, the monster was kept in the castle all his life and his suite of rooms bricked up after his death. An alternative version of the legend is that to every generation of the family a vampire child is born and is walled up in that room. There is an old story that guests staying at Glamis once hung towels from the windows of every room in a bid to find the bricked-up suite of the monster. When they looked at it from outside, several windows were towel-less. The legend of the monster may have been inspired by the true story of the Ogilvies. Somewhere in the 16-foot-thick (4.9 m) walls is a famous room of skulls, where the Ogilvie family, who sought protection from their enemies the Lindsays, were walled up to die of starvation.

Glamis Castle       Glamis, Angus, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Earl Beardie      
"Earl Beardie", who has been identified with both Alexander Lyon, 2nd Lord Glamis, and Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford wanted to play cards on the sabbath, but no-one would play with him. Lord Beardie became so furious that he claimed that he would play with the Devil himself. A stranger then appeared at the castle and joined Lord Beardie in a game of cards. The stranger was the Devil who at the end of the game condemned the Earl to play cards until doomsday. The large bearded ghost of "Earl Beardie" still haunts the castle. (A similar sory is told at Lordscairnie Castle)

Glamis Castle       Glamis, Angus, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Grey Lady of Glamis      
James V hated Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis along with all of her family. James had Janet's family members and servants subjected to torture to obtain false evidence against her. Janet was convicted of witchcraft and was burned at the stake on 17 July 1537 on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle, which her young son was forced to watch. Her ghost is the "Grey Lady of Glamis". A seat in the chapel is always reserved for the "Grey Lady" and although the chapel is often full, no one else is allowed to sit in that seat.

Castle Guthrie      Guthrie, Forfar, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Lady Guthrie      
During a visit by the Bishop of St Andrews in 1620 the ghost of a former Lady Guthrie came to make sure he was comfortable. Since then the ghost of Lady Guthrie has returned to look after whoever is sleeping there. Guests in the castle (now an hotel) often say it has been the most peaceful sleep they have ever experienced.

Hermitage Castle      Hawick, Borders, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Sir Alexander Ramsey      
Sir Alexander Ramsey was starved to death in 1342 in the castle dungeon by Sir William Douglas. Legend has it that Sir Alexander survived for seventeen days by eating small quantities of grain that fell through the cracks in the floor of the castle granary above the dungeon. His ghost now walks the castle grounds.

Hermitage Castle      Hawick, Borders, Scotland
Legend, Hidden Treasure      
There is a hoard of hidden treasure under the ruins of the castle, but the Devil watches over it. When people have tried to dig for the treasure, violent storms have always driven them away.

Inveraray Castle      Inveraray, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Battle in the sky      
On 10 July 1758 five witnesses in two different places watched a battle between the Highlander regiment and garrisoned French troops, in the skies over the castle. This battle mirrored real events in America at the same time, where 300 Highlanders were killed assaulting a French fort.

Inveraray Castle       Inveraray, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Omen, Ghost      
A ghost appears at the castle when a Campbell chief is close to death.

Kindrochit Castle      Braemar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Plague Victims      
When the Black Death was discovered in the castle, local villagers blocked the external castle doors so that no one could escape and spread the disease. All of those who died inside the castle haunt the castle.

Knockdolian Castle      Colmonell, Ayrshire, Scotland
Curse, Mermaid's Curse      
The mistress of the castle ordered the destruction of a water-side black rock, which stood a short distance away, in order to prevent a mermaid sitting on it and singing. In revenge, the mermaid cursed the family, ensuring they all died without leaving an heir.

Lordscairnie Castle      Moonzie, Fife, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Beardie      31 December, Midnight
Alexander Lindsay, 4th Earl of Crawford played cards with the Devil and lost. His ghost, Beardie, can be seen playing cards with the devil at midnight each New Year's Eve, though anyone watching it will travel to hell with them at the end of the match. (a similar story is told at Glamis Castle)

Moy Castle      Island of Mull, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Omen, Bean-nighe      
The Bean-nighe is a Scottish spirit, an ill bringer who would be seen washing the clothes of those soon to die. This creature has long breasts, slung over her shoulders, and if one was grabbed from behind she would tell to whom the clothes belonged. If they were yours, she could change your fate. The laird of the castle, upon seeing the creature, tried to grab her but failed and died in battle the following day

Noltland Castle      Pierowall, Orkney, Scotland
Fairies, Broonie      
Broonie is a helpful brownie named who ensures that boats remain safe during storms.

Noltland Castle      Pierowall, Orkney, Scotland
Omen, Shuck      
Forthcoming deaths at the castle ar announced by the howls of a large black dog.

Noltland Castle      Pierowall, Orkney, Scotland
Omen, Spectral Light      
The castle was owned by the Balfour family. A ghostly light flickering at the castle window still shines when a birth or death occurs in the Balfour family.

Castle of Park      Cornhill, Banff , Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Pregnant Servant      
This castle incorporates a 16th century tower house. A green woman appears at an upstairs window. She is the ghost of a servant who was dismissed because she was expecing a child, and who subsequently committed suicide. Residents say they feel as though they are being watched and objects mysteriously move from one room to another.

Peel Castle      Peel, Isle of Man, Scotland
Shuck, Moddey Dhoo      
A local shuck (a demonic black dog), the Moddey Dhoo, haunted the local guardroom, appearing at night to sleep by their fire. One guard grew tired of hiding away from it and went to face the creature alone in 1660; he returned soon afterwards, silent and dying, but the creature was never seen again.

Pitcaple Castle      Pitcaple, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Omen, Robin      
To find a robin perched within the castle walls is considered the ultimate in misfortune, as it denotes a family death.

Rait Castle      Rait, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Handless Girl      
During a bout of clan warfare, a daughter of the Comyns had her hands chopped off by her father who falsely believed she had betrayed him to their enemies (the MacIntoshes). She jumped from the castle battlements, rather than to bleed to death; her wraith is now seen drifting the castle ruins.

Ruthven Castle      Kingussie, Highland, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Chess Game      
The castle was once home of the infamous 'Wolf of Badenoch' a laird who reigned hardship and terror on the locals. The laird played chess with the Devil and lost. Now the match is replayed for evermore in spectral form.

Castle Stalker      Loch Linnhe, Argyll, Scotland
Omen, Hovering Light      
Prior to a death of a Stewart chieftain, ann orb of brilliant light hovers over the castle

St Andrews Castle      St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Cardinal Beaton      
Cardinal Beaton who served as the Archbishop of St. Andrews. Beaton was little interested in the Church, living in open concubinage, and providing lavishly for his children from ecclesiastical property. He imprisoned Protestants in the dungeon beneath the castle. Eventually, these prisoners would go insane in the darkness, at which point they were murdered. Cardinal Beaton's barbaric treatment of Protestants included the arrest, trial and execution of George Wishart who was burned at the stake in front of St. Andrews Castle on March 1st, 1546. In response, Protestant infiltrators penetrated the castle and assassinated the cardinal. His body was suspended over the castle walls by an arm and leg, to form the cross of St. Andrews.Although just a ruin today, Cardinal Beaton still roams the castle As for the Cardinal, I grant, He was the man we weel could want' And we?ll forget him soon! And yet I think, the sooth to say, Although the loon is well away, The deed was foully done.

Tulloch Castle Hotel      Dingwall, Highland, Scotland
Ghost Haunting, Two Little Girls      
A guest staying the night in Room 8 reported feeling the two adolescent girls sitting on his chest as he lay in bed, as if trying to suffocate him. Previous guests in the room have reported a figure sitting at the end of their bed, door handles rattling, and other strange disturbances

Castle of Vayne (ruins)      Fern, Angus, Scotland
Legend, Guardian Beast      
Protecting a wealth of gold and jewels, this monster remains hidden unless threatened by treasure hunters.


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