Scotland… a land of legends and ancient castles. With such a vast and fascinating history, it shouldn’t come as a shock that there are a couple of ghosts and spirits that haunt some of the country’s most famous buildings.
With dozens of haunted locations, it is no surprise that Scotland is a ghost hunter’s dream location!
This article will briefly mention some of the most haunted places in Scotland and then delve into five ghost hunts you can join to come face to face with some Scottish ghosts.
The Most Haunted Places In Scotland
Before looking at the different ghost hunts, let’s first learn a little bit about some of the haunted destinations in Scotland.
1. Closeburn Castle, Dumfries
Closeburn Castle was once home to the Kirkpatrick Family. It dates back to the 13th century and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited buildings in Scotland.
The Kirkpatrick Family used to herald swans as bringers of good luck until one family member shot a swan with a crossbow. Then, these regal birds became the omens of death and misfortune and were linked to a centuries-old family curse.
The Castle has many spooky residents, including a mysterious lady in black. This was also the site where Robert the Bruce murdered John “The Red” Comyn – who is said to still haunt the castle today.
2. Inveraray Jail, Argyll
Inveraray Jail is a popular destination for a paranormal investigation. This jail hasn’t housed a criminal for over 100 years, yet it seems some inmates never left!
People who go ghost hunting here retell tales of cold spots, footsteps when no one is around, and shadows floating just out of sight.
Sam Potts, a prison guide, tells his story: “Cell 2 in the Old Prison is interesting. A number of times I’ve seen young children crouching in the left-hand side of the cell chatting. When the parents ask who they’re talking to they say ‘the old lady’.”
3. Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire
This magnificent castle is one of the most well-known in Scotland – it is the royal family’s holiday home! But, Balmoral Castle is also one of the most haunted areas in the country.
John Brown is the most famous ghost there. He roams the castle in his kilt, looking for a treasured item that was reportedly buried in the castle grounds.
Balmoral Castle also acted as a refuge from the London Blitz during WWII, and it is no surprise that tortured souls still cling to their past lives here.
4. Edinburgh Vaults, Edinburgh
Although the vaults beneath the South Bridge were closed in the 19th century, they were rediscovered in 1988. Since then, it has been reopened to the public, and tales from these haunted rooms under the bridge have flooded in.
There is a menacing spirit, Mister Boots, who throws rocks. Then there is the ghost-child Jack, who grabs the hands of passers-by. Due to a history of famine, disease and even the storage of cadavers, there are many more haunted happenings here, like cold spots, disembodied voices, and a sense of unease.
5. Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh
Underneath the bustling streets of Edinburgh lay an entire subterranean city. This maze of streets and homes was once the Old Town, which was closed off due to the plague. The new Edinburgh as we know it today was simply constructed on top. Mary King’s Close is but one of the streets beneath the city.
The most famous apparition at Mary’s King Close is Annie. This young girl succumbed to the sickness of 1645, and her ghost was crying because of a doll she lost. This has prompted hundreds of ghost believers to bring toys and games as a gift to the room she haunts.
There is also a poltergeist who has been known to attack visitors. It’s got so bad, that the room where the poltergeist activity was reported has been closed off!
Other ghosts include that of a little dog, a mysterious lady in black, and the spirit of Andrew Chesney (a previous inhabitant of the close).
5 Ghost Hunts In Scotland
Now that you know what some of the most haunted locations are in Scotland, let’s uncover some of the most popular ghost hunts you can join.
1. Haunted Rooms
If you want to go on an organised ghost hunt in Scotland, then Haunted Rooms probably has a tour that will appeal to you!
You can join Haunted Rooms on a variety of events, including:
- Closeburn Castle
- Inveraray Jail
- Bannockburn House
- Old Gala House
- Edinburgh Vaults
- Jedburgh Castle Jail
- Secret Nuclear Bunker
- Renfrew Baths
Their ghost hunts are facilitated by an experienced team to guide you along the way. Attendees will also have access to ghost hunting equipment and there will be some snacks available during the event.
2. Go Scotland Tours
If you’re venturing north of the border, then Go Scotland Tours has plenty of tours in many of the country’s major areas, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.
But, you’re not here to find out about boring old sightseeing tours, are you?
Go Scotland Tours also has a Spooky Scotland Ghost Tour (information on the 2024 tour is upcoming). The tour takes you to some of Scotland’s most haunted locations:
- Glasgow (visit the Tron Theatre, a location linked to the Hellfire Club)
- Isle of Arran (Brodick Castle)
- Inveraray (Inveraray Jail)
- Glencoe (the site of a horrible massacre)
- Castle Menzies
3. Haunted Happenings
Haunted Happenings is one of the most revered ghost hunt organisers in the UK.
And, they have a “Terror of Scotland Weekend Ghost Tour” where attendees get to go ghost hunting in Stirling.
You’ll get to investigate the fascinating history of Bannockburn House and explore the terrifying setting of Stirling Old Town Jail.
The tour price includes staying at Hotel Colessio, breakfast, the ghost hunts, as well as a ghost walk in the surrounding neighbourhood.
4. City of Edinburgh Tours
If you find yourself in Edinburgh and are keen to do some spectre hunting, then The World Famous Underground Ghost Tour is perfect!
You’ll explore the Old Town, looking for ghosts at St. Giles Cathedral and Greyfriars Kirkyard. Then you’ll head underground, into the vaults beneath South Bridge.
While this is a guided tour, and you will have to stick to the tour schedule, you can still conduct your own ghost hunt or paranormal investigation as you go from one haunted location to the next.
5. Gothic Glasgow
Edinburgh gets a lot of attention from paranormal investigators because of its vast and fascinating history, but Glasgow has its own fair share of paranormal goings-on.
Gothic Glasgow offers a sinister walking tour that reveals the “ghostly, strange and creepy history of Glasgow.” Attendees will learn about the history of vampires in the city, as well as how body snatching has resulted in angry ghosts.
Which underground location in Scotland is the most haunted?
Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh (or, technically, under Edinburgh) is the most haunted underground location in Scotland. This 17th-century close is a popular ghost-hunting destination because of the many ghosts that haunt the underground passageways and homes.
What should I pack for a ghost hunt?
The first thing is to wear comfortable clothes and warm, layered clothing. You will be walking in old buildings, often in the dark, so you want to make sure you are dressed appropriately.
We’d also recommend you bring a torch or light. Often the organisers of these events will have paranormal investigation equipment you can use, but if you have your own, bring it along.
Lastly, pack some snacks and water for the duration of the hunt.
What can I expect during a ghost hunt in Scotland?
Each ghost hunt is different, but in general, you will receive an introduction from the team about the site of the ghost hunt and what to expect. The hunt will combine storytelling and the use of equipment to detect paranormal activity.
These events are often at night, so you always have to be prepared for spooky encounters!
Going on a ghost hunt in Scotland will give you unrivalled access to many of the most haunted locations and buildings in the country.
It can be exciting to go on a ghost hunt by yourself, but joining an organised ghost hunting event is a great way to learn about the history of the place, as well as the ghosts that linger there. Not to mention, there’s safety in numbers!