Creepy Scottish Ghost Stories

Scottish ghost stories

Scottish people have a rich folklore and storytelling tradition that has produced a wealth of Scottish ghost stories. Let’s check out some of the most chill-inducing.

Top 9 Scariest Scottish Ghost Stories

“The dead hand has too long hampered the freedom of the living.” – James Robertson, a Scottish writer

Unfortunately, the most amazing and scariest Scottish ghost stories are all rooted in great tragedies or death. The mysteries these ghost stories hold are yet to be fully uncovered, leaving much room for personal interpretation.

The stories gathered here are some of the creepiest. But beyond being unsettling, they reflect the rich folklore and diverse cultural and religious heritage of the Scottish people:

1. The Green Lady’s Room of Crathes Castle

The Haunted Crathes Castle has long been a fertile haunting ground for all types of ghosts.

This story starts in the now infamous Green Lady’s dressing room, where visitors have reported seeing the ghost of a young woman carrying a baby. The sighting was later tied to the bones of a small child found underneath the fireplace during one of the castle’s many renovations.

Apart from being home to the ghost of the Lady, this castle is haunted to such an extent that it is also known for another equally intriguing Scottish ghost —the White Lady.

It’s widely assumed that the ghost is no other than Lady Bertha, a young girl who was the lover of Alexander Burnett, the first earl of the castle. According to the ghost story, Lady Agnes, mother to Alexander, poisoned Bertha because she deemed her unworthy of her son’s love.

2. The ghost in Castle Fraser

Scottish ghost stories can be pretty gruesome, and this one is no exception.

It starts with a young woman who was brutally murdered in the Castle Fraser Green Room. Her lifeless body was dragged down the castle’s steps, staining them with her blood. After the murder, it would be impossible for the stone to be cleaned fully, which is why the stairs were later covered with wooden slabs to hide the gruesome evidence of the macabre event.

Reportedly, her footsteps and soft, unintelligible whispers can be heard through the Great Hall. It’s said that her spirit still wanders the grounds and castle, along with other resident ghosts.

3. The Green Lady of Fyvie Castle

According to local legend, Lilias Drummond was starved to death by Alexander Seton, her husband and the lord of the property, because she was unable to give him a male heir. The lord planned to remarry in the hopes of continuing his line. But Lilias had the last ghostly laugh.

The tale is that Lilias’ ghost appeared in the castle on the eve of Alexander Seton’s second marriage. She caused a disturbance in front of the master bedroom, etching her name on the stone walls. The ghostly writing can still be seen on the premises today.

Another ghost haunting this place is the notorious Grey Lady, whose skeleton was found in the castle walls.

4. The haunted chapel of Glamis Castle

After her husband’s passing, Jenet of the Douglas clan married Archibald Campbell of the Skipness clan, and they moved to Glamis Castle. Unbeknownst to her, Archibald held a strong, deathly resentment towards the Douglas clan and was actively seeking revenge.

Like many men of that time, he would go down the “she’s a witch, burn her at the stake” route. At the time, it would be more than enough. On July 17, 1537, Jenet was burned at the stake on Castle Hill, but her ghost would never stop haunting Glamis Castle.

Her ghostly footsteps can still be heard echoing around the chapel. Many chapel visitors have also reported seeing the apparition of a young woman falling to her knees in prayer.

5. The drunk ghost of Leith Hall

Neither a wary sceptic nor a full unbeliever can say with any degree of honesty that there isn’t some sort of Scottish supernatural happenings at Leith Hall.

Leith Hall has been haunted by the ghost of John Leith for almost four centuries. As the story goes, John was shot during a drunken dispute in Aberdeen and was then transferred to his family’s home to heal from his injuries. However, he died three days later, on Christmas Day in 1763.

Since then, many visitors have been reporting seeing a gigantic figure wearing green trousers and a shirt, screaming in pain, with his head covered in blood-stained bandages.

6. The haunted Pass of Killiecrankie

The Jacobite Rebellion of 1689 is one of the most famous examples of Scottish clans rising against the crown. During the rebellion, an unnamed soldier managed to escape the battle by making an almost impossible jump over the River Garry at the place now called the Soldier’s Leap.

Every year, on the battle’s anniversary, this notoriously fertile haunting ground is filled with the sounds of marching armies and the clunking of metal weapons.

7. The drummer of Cortachy

Cortachy Castle is a famous Scottish stronghold and the birthplace of one of the weirdest Scottish ghost stories.

The castle is the eternal resting place (or the place of unrest, really) of the drummer of Cortachy – the ghost of a young man who was reportedly murdered on the grounds of this property.

According to legends, he was either an enemy spy or the secret lover of one of the daughters of the Oglicy family, to which the castle belongs. This mysterious figure met his demise by being shoved into his own drum and then pushed from the ledge of a window.

8. The House of Dun

Considered one of the most haunted places in Scotland, House of Dun seems to be brimming with ghost activity. This property was repurposed as a field hospital during WWII and was the place of death for many wounded soldiers.

It’s reportedly home to a headless horseman who occasionally roams the halls and scares unsuspecting visitors and locals.

9. Ghosts of Drum Castle

Drum Castle was a gift from Robert Bruce (holder of the Scottish throne in the 13th century) to the Irvine family, famous for their well-documented lineage that traces back all to the beginning of the Middle Ages.

It’s presumed that the property is home to many ghosts from the Irvine family, including Anna Forbes Irvine and her child Alexander.

10. Honourable mentions

There are too many Scottish ghost stories to fit in one article. Here are some other popular ones that didn’t make the cut:

  • The Ghost of Culzean Castle
  • The witches of Pollok House
  • The Hill House spirits
  • The hauntings of Culross
  • The Aloa Tower ghosts

FAQs

Are ghost stories okay for kids?

Psychologists claim that children are capable of understanding the concept of death between the ages of 5 and 10. With that in mind, it’s recommended not to introduce them to ghost stories before that time. This goes for lighter ghost stories (like Casper The Friendly Ghost) but not stories that focus on death and gore.

What is the most popular book of Scottish ghost stories?

The most popular collection of ghost stories from Scottish folklore is written by James Robertson and is called simply “Scottish Ghost Stories.” The book was written in the manner of Hugh Miller (a 19th-century folklorist and stone mason). This authoritative collection also offers fascinating reflections on the author’s own haunted life.

Final Thoughts

No matter where you stand on the “Are ghost stories real” debate, one thing you can’t deny is that they are fun to read and are a part of the storytelling traditions of almost any community.

Is every ghost story inspired by a gruesome murder really about the vengeful spirit left behind? Or is it about our collective consciousness trying to deal with unspeakable acts of horror? It’s up to you to decide.

If you’re curious to learn the answers, a good place to start is to gather some ghost-hunting gear and learn how to become a paranormal investigator.

Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!