The Truth Behind the Hauntings in Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle History

You can find the legendary Eilean Donan Castle, where the three sea lochs meet. The Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh meet on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The picturesque castle was built in the early 13th century during the reign of Alexander II. When you visit Eilean Donan, you’ll see it was used as a major fortified defence.

It was originally used to protect the castle grounds. And the surrounding mountains of Kintail against Vikings from 800 AD. Over time, the Castle expanded and grew, making for an epic spot for feuding clans to fight and defend.

In 1263, Alexander III forced the Norse people out of Western Scotland. And then, the Earl of Ross took over. The battle went back and forth for a while. And then, the Clan Mackenzie, led by Kenneth Mackenzie, sheltered Robert the Bruce and gained the rights to the castle.

Fun (horrific) fact:
In the beginning years of the 1300s, Robert was hiding in the Castle. And something truly gruesome went down. The Earl of Moray ordered for 50 men to be executed and then – get this – showed off their decapitated heads. Their heads were all along the castle walls. Creepy, right? We’re just getting started!

Clan MacRae

The Jacobite uprising between the 17th and 18th centuries sadly destroyed the castle. Some Spanish soldiers were defending the castle. And the English government forces heard all about it and sent three Royal Navy frigates to Loch Duich to sort it out.

More Royal Navy frigates sailed into the sea gate Loch Duich. The battle lasted three days, and the government blew up what remained. For 200 years, the castle was silent; until it wasn’t.

Clan MacRae, led by Lt Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap, bought the Castle in 1911. At one point, 400 warriors, led by Donald Gorm, attacked it. The MacRae family managed to defend the main entrance and ultimately killed Gorm. The MacRae Colonel spent the following years restoring Eilean Donan. The Colonel intended to restore it to its former glory, and finally finished in 1932.

In 1937, the Colonel, a Scottish icon, passed away. Fast-forward a couple of years to 1955. And the Colonel’s grandson, John MacRae-Gilstrap, opened Eilean Donan to the public.

The Hauntings At Eilean Donan Castle

Carlos, The Spanish Soldier

Now that you’ve got the backstory let’s get to the good stuff!

This is a story about the not-so-friendly neighbourhood ghost. The ghost residing in the Castle is Carlos, the Spanish soldier. During the Jacobite revolt, the fort was home to 46 brave Spanish troops. They had travelled to Scotland to lend a hand. That is until catastrophe struck the warriors who looked for refuge in the castle.

The castle was attacked by government vessels one fateful day. Despite their brave attempts, the warriors could not fend off the attack. And the fortress was eventually demolished. According to legend, Carlos, one of the troops, suffered a pretty horrific death.

People have seen his ghostly apparition several times. He’s spotted behind the curtain wall at the gift store area, with his head cradled beneath his arm. Spooky, right?

If you’re planning a ghost-hunting adventure to catch Carlos in action, it might help to have an Amethyst Pendulum. That is if you’re ready to hear his stories! It could help you learn more about Carlos and the spirits who haunt Eilean Donan.

An Amplified Vibrational EVP Microphone could even help you catch him in action. It will magnify the tiny vibrations of the spirit realm. This clever technology catches the electronic voice phenomenon (EVP). And it makes it louder for you and your ghost-hunting buddies.

The Lady Mary

According to legend, Lady Mary’s supernatural presence has been seen several times. People see her in one of the castle’s bedrooms in the fortress.

But here’s the interesting part:
Eilean Donan isn’t the only fortress that Mary Queen of Scots claims to have visited. Other castles claim spiritual visits from the lady herself. The other castles include Stirling Castle, Borthwick Castle, and Lochleven Castle. What a travelled ghost! If you spot her regal ghost floating around the stronghold bedrooms, you will be one of the lucky ones!

There haven’t been tons of reports. But if you could catch her, we’d guess you’d be pretty famous. And make a name for yourself in the ghost-hunting community!

The castles have had their fair share of dark and twisted history of wars and death. We are surprised there aren’t more ghouls and ghosts that call this spooky place home.

It is important to have the proper tools when investigating the mysteries of haunted castles. Even the quietest murmurs from the ghostly realm will not escape your scrutiny.


Eilean Donan Castle is a terrific tourist spot when you’re not ghost-hunting. First things first, let’s get you there. Drop the stronghold’s address in your GPS: Eilean Donan Castle, Dornie, by Kyle of Lochalsh, IV40 8DX. You’ll want to take your camera (or phone, at least) out when you get there. You’ve seen this photographed castle when scrolling on Instagram.

It’s been featured in many films and has an awesome backdrop of mountains and water. This stronghold includes a fantastic bright modern visitor centre. You can learn more about the castle’s rich history and the stories hidden behind its ancient walls.

And while we’re on history, explore the spectacular banqueting hall. Tons of grand celebrations have occurred in the banqueting hall, and the walls have many stories to tell.

Of course, you must watch for Carlos in the gift shop!

If you want to explore more, Fort William and the nearby War Memorial are close. And you can catch them on the same bus.

If you’re considering getting some exercise to prepare for your hunt, Glen Shiel has lovely hiking trails. Make a stop at the gift shop before you head out. You can buy some Scottish gifts as souvenirs from your ghost-hunting adventures!


Can visitors go ghost-hunting at Eilean Donan Castle?

Ghost-hunting is not an official activity. But visitors can explore the castle and watch for Carlos and Lady Mary.

Is there a specific area in the castle where ghost sightings occur?

Lady Mary’s apparition is seen in one of the castle’s bedrooms. And the soldier Carlos has been spotted in the gift shop area.

What is the most haunted castle in the UK?

While it’s difficult to measure a castle’s haunted-ness level, some of the most haunted castles are Glamis Castle, Dover Castle, and Bolsover Castle.


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!