Spooky Isles’ Scotland editor CHRISTINE MILLER picks the top 25 Haunted Scotland places to visit
It’s fair to say that Scotland has more than its share of haunted castles, hotels, roads, kirkyards and inns. With that said, we have compiled what we believe is the ultimate list of the scariest places to visit.
Some places on the list you will instantly know of as purporting to be haunted. Others, however, may come as a surprise. But, of course, if you disagree with us, tell us all about it in the comments section below!
So, without further ado, enjoy Spooky Isles’s list of 25 of the spookiest Haunted Scotland destinations.
Haunted Scotland Top 25 Places to Visit
1. The Drovers Inn, near Loch Lomond
Those wishing to relax after a busy day of walking might not have the most restful sleep if they decide to spend the night at the inn. After all, there’s more than one ghost that enjoys making itself known in the dead of night.
Take, for example, the family of spirits that have shown themselves to a terrified couple at the bottom of their bed or the young girl who drowned whose cold, wet spirit clambers into bed with visitors for warmth in room 6.
It’s not just the bedrooms: even the ground floor has its tales of the unexplained.
“Angus,” a cattle drover in life, lost his way during particularly violent weather, freezing to death has been seen and heard all around the downstairs halls of the inn, shrieking long into the night.
2. Central Station, Glasgow
Opened in 1879, the Central Station is the busiest railway station in Scotland and the second busiest in all the UK, with over 100,000 people using the station every day.
Yet, underneath the bustling modern Glasgow station lies a deep, dark, foreboding labyrinth of sprawling passageways, which hold their fair share of unsettling history.
Take during the Second World War, for example. Although the station survived the Blitz without being hit, the bodies of soldiers were laid out underneath the station.
There’s also the curious (if grim) tale of a man who reportedly murdered his wife underneath the station for her life insurance after losing his money during the depression. Having reached the next world, both the man and woman are said to have lingered on at the station; she, in particular, has been spotted by very unnerved staff in the boiler room.
3. Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire
William the Lion allegedly constructed Fyvie Castle sometime in the 13th century. The most famed ghost of the castle, the Grey Lady, thought to be the spirit of one Lady Meldrum, who lived in the castle not long after it was first built.
Legend has it that she wished to be buried within the walls of a secret chamber in the home. And, whether she really did want to or not, that’s what she got. Her remains were uncovered in the 1920s, which seemed to unsettle her long-dead spirit, which has been seen on occasion roaming throughout the castle. Many visitors come especially to catch a glimpse of the woman – and don’t leave disappointed.
4. The Scotia, Glasgow
The Scotia has long held a mantle as one of the most haunted pubs in Glasgow – not surprising when it’s the old surviving public house, having first been established in 1792.
There have been many reported ghost sightings at the pub, including one from the pub’s manager, who has seen a young child lingering in the doorways. A woman in a green dress boldly walks the length of the bar, fully aware of the surrounding living. Another woman with a wimple sits in the snug before quickly vanishing and appears very informed of those who frequent.
5. Culloden Moor, Inverness
The last battle to have been fought on British soil took place between the Jacobites and the House of Hanover in the 18th century in Inverness, Scotland. It was a gruesome fight: in the space of less than an hour, the bloody battle was over, with scores of Jacobites having been slaughtered.
It is said that each year on 16th April, the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, the ghosts of long-dead soldiers return to earth to relive the battle of 1746.
The sound of swords being wielded and clashing, war cries, and even sightings of phantom corpses have been seen on this same date over the years. It has been reported that more than one unfortunate witness has seen the deceased bodies of fallen Jacobites, identified by the tartan they wore, lying throughout the moor.
What is perhaps just as alarming, is that birds refuse to sing anywhere near the area where the battle was fought,
It’s not just on the Battle of Culloden anniversary that things get spooky; regardless of what time of year you visit, Culloden Moor is said to host the most unsettling feeling in the air.
6. Glamis Castle, Forfar
The famed Glamis Castle is well-known for its spine-chilling ghost stories; after all, it might prove to be surprising if a castle of such an age and magnitude was free from the wandering, restless dead.
Of course, no stately home would be complete without a Grey Lady. Glamis’s spectral woman in white is said to be that of Janet Douglas, also known as Lady Glamis: she was accused of being a witch, and, not content with accusing her of poisoning her infant son to death, she was also denounced for plotting to kill King James V.
Although the charges of infanticide were dropped, the more serious matter (to the Crown, at least) of venturing to poison the monarch were taken very seriously indeed. Douglas was burned at the stake in Edinburgh, but it is Glamis Castle where she calls home in death. She is often seen floating through the long, winding corridors of the castle, forever restless and feeling cheated out of life.
Within the estate ground, another spirit of a woman covered in blood has been seen faltering and signalling to her mouth when it soon becomes apparent that her tongue has been cut out.
7. The Coylet Inn, Lock Eck
Home to the spirit of “The Blue Boy”, the legend of The Coylet Inn is so famous it was even turned into a film starring Emma Thompson.
The story goes that a young boy, who was staying with his parents in the 17th-century coaching inn, sleptwalked out of the family’s room, entering into the frigid temperatures of Loch Eck, situated mere feet away from the entrance to the inn.
The young boy’s lifeless form was found the following day, and he soon became known as “The Blue Boy”, thanks to the colour of his skin from his duration in the icy-cold water.
His helpless spirit is most commonly sighted in March and April of each year, or when children visit the inn: staff and patrons alike have borne witness to a tiny frame flitting round the ground floor level of the property. Although there have been reports of little wet footprints in the upper halls also attributed to the ghost.
It is said that even in death, the boy continues to search for his mother, who, not long after her son’s death, fled the area in all-encompassing grief, never to return to the banks of the loch.
8. Ardgowan House, Inverclyde
Nestled snuggly amongst 400 acres of stunning park and woodland, the 18th-century Ardgowan House is home to the spirit of a mischievous child, or so it is believed, who is said to regularly display some hairy-raising antics.
Lady Shaw-Stuart, owner of the estate, spoke to Tatler about her experiences with the unearthly child:
‘We think he’s a child who can’t bear to be left out. He teases builders and tried to push the nurses who looked after my husband down the stairs. He plagues my son Ludovic and his friends by banging on the window bars and buzzing on the intercom all night…’
Whilst the child isn’t the only ghost to wander the grand passageways of the house, he is certainly the most disruptive.
Clearly happy to stay at their former place of employment, various members of staff dressed in old-fashioned clothing are often seen, happily not making as much of a stir as their young ghostly counterpart.
9. Huntingtower Castle, Perthshire
Located not far from Perth, Huntingtower Castle has long been reputed to be haunted by a mysterious spectre known as “Lady Greensleeves”.
She has been seen in a green dress wandering in and around the perimeter of Huntingtower for years. She is said to be an omen, a terrible forewarning of bad luck to come.
It’s not only Her Ladyship that you should take note of when visiting: look out for the well within the grounds, which for centuries has been said to have strange and magical healing powers.
Just be sure to leave a coin or similar token of your appreciation.
10. Glencoe, Argyll
On the 13th February 1692, a battle, forever to be known as the Glencoe Massacre, took place.
On each anniversary, particularly in the evening, the painful screams of the slaughtered MacDonalds can be heard reverberating through the aptly named “Valley of Weeping”. Campbells slaughtered the MacDonalds in their settlements.
Some have even claimed to see the violent struggle play out before their eyes by spectral figures, doomed to replay their brutal demise into eternity.
11. Cathedral House Hotel, Glasgow
Having been first built in 1877 as a halfway house for prisoners of the nearby Duke Street Prison, the building today is now a popular hotel where guests and staff have both seen and heard some genuinely unnerving sights.
There’s a rumour that a woman drowned two of her young children in a bathtub on the hotel’s top floor. The ghost of a little boy has the run of the building, and it is thought that he might be one of the unfortunate children in question.
Described as a friendly, if somewhat mischievous little spirit, he has been known to lightly touch guests on the back or shoulder as they ascend the staircase. He’s also been seen in the bar area, quickly galloping through, only to disappear as he gets halfway across the room.
However, it’s not all affable spirits in the hotel; Cathedral House boasts ample tales of poltergeist activity. From chairs being thrown across guest bedrooms to growls and whispers being heard, it might prove challenging to get much sleep in certain rooms with the hotel!
12. Southern Necropolis, Glasgow
Although not exactly purported to be haunted per se, the stunningly beautiful Glasgow Southern Necropolis was home to some legendary implied paranormal phenomena back in the 1950s.
On 23 September 1954, what was estimated to be around 400 school children all stormed the Necropolis in search of “The Gorbals Vampire”.
Word had gotten around the local youngsters that the bloodsucker had iron teeth and stood at least seven feet in height.
What quickly ensued was chaos. Even the police were little match for this army of Glasgow wains, all of which seemed to be possessed of an intense fervour that dictated their hell-bent intentions to meet, and sort out the vampire. It wasn’t until a local headteacher turned up and threatened the children with all forms of punishments that the gang did finally begin to disband and turn for home.
The event quickly made its way into international news.
13. RAF Montrose, Angus
Having been opened in 1913, it wasn’t long before the RAF Montrose suffered its first casualty, with the event producing the first aviation death in Scotland.
The ghost of the victim, Lieutenant Desmond Arthur, is said to have haunted the base ever since his BE2 biplane broke up in mid-air on 23rd May 1913.
He is known to be particularly active in the mess area of the base, where he has been seen by various members of staff walking towards the mess door and simply vanishing out of sight. One of these staff members was Major Cyril Foggin, a senior flying instructor, who Peter Underwood described as witnessing the ghost (presumed to be Arthur) no less than five times in total.
Another witness to the ghost also went on record to say that, when he awoke one night, he was confronted by the spirit of a male calmly sitting on a chair in his room. It wasn’t until he questioned the figure, who suddenly disappeared, did the man realise what he had just witnessed.
Was it Lieutenant Desmond Arthur’s spirit unsettling members of the base again? Who knows. Perhaps Arthur isn’t the only restless spirit to remain. After all, one pilot noted that -certainly in its early days – Montrose was a dangerous place to be stationed, with a “crash every day and a funeral every week”.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that RAF Montrose is considered one of the most haunted airbases in the United Kingdom.
14. Skaill House, Oban
First built as the home of Bishop George Graham in 1620, today Skaill House stands as an impressive tourist attraction.
When it was being renovated to be opened to the public, a total of 15 skeletons were found under the floorboards. Prior to the removal of the remains, believed to be Norse in origin, the house proved a peaceful setting. However, with the displacement of the skeletons, things soon began to change.
Tourists have seen and even spoken to individuals whom they believed were members of staff, when in actual fact there were no staff in the building at the time. The staff themselves have witnessed a rather tall, dark-haired man who wandered into the shop, and when witnesses go to investigate he has vanished.
Worryingly of all is the multitude of overnight visitors who have felt a human-shaped form place itself on their beds, only for it to shift off the bed when they reach for the nightlight.
15. Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow
Home to one of the most famous ghosts in the West of Scotland, the Royal Infirmary has been providing care for Glasgow residents for over 200 years.
And, so have the spirits, apparently.
There is a tale of a sister who has been seen over the years by a host of staff and patients alike. She looks completely normal from the waist up – witnesses have reported that she is completely invisible from the waist down and has no legs.
A mass of paranormal reports come from Ward 27, where dozens of dying patients have claimed to have spoken to a man named Archie in their final hours.
The most sensational story came from a doctor rushing through the hospital to respond to a call that a patient had gone into cardiac arrest. He was approached by a man asking for the exit on his way. The doctor hurriedly pointed him in the right direction and carried on.
When the doctor arrived at his patient’s bedside, the man had sadly already passed away; the very same man the doctor had shown the way to the exit.
16. Hill House, Dunbartonshire
Hill House in Helensburgh is alleged to be the home of the spirit of Walter Blackie, who once owned the impressive structure, originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Some say that Blackie, a publisher in life, loved it so much that a minor inconvenience such as death wasn’t going to stop him from enjoying it.
Although paranormal investigations have rarely been granted at Hill House, those that have, have documented some interesting – and alleged paranormal – findings. For instance, the unmistakable smell of pipe smoke has been smelt by many, while a dark shadow dressed in a cloak has briefly been glimpsed as it dashes around corners.
When he was living, Blackie was fond of enrobing himself in a black cape and had quite the pipe habit also, so it seems certainly possible that he might have decided to stay put in the afterlife.
17. Tulloch Castle, Dingwall
Home to various spooks, most notably a Green Lady, the most active room in Tulloch Castle is said to be room 8.
Numerous guests have claimed that something nefarious wakes them up in the middle of the night by straddling their chests tightly, so tightly, that they wake up gasping for air, Yet they are completely unable to move.
While some might dismiss the nocturnal activity in that room as simply nothing more than Old Hag Syndrome, those that have stayed the night are confident that some very sinister paranormal activity befell them, with one even recounting his alarming experiences on TripAdvisor.
The ghostly form of one of the previous maids to the castle is seen in both the Pink Room and the Great Hall. For reasons unknown, she strides throughout these rooms in a state of confusion and fear, according to those who have seen her, before simply vanishing.
18. Glasgow Arches, Glasgow
It wasn’t until 1991 that the underground Glasgow Arches were opened to the public. Prior to this, the area had been an unnecessary by-product of the above Glasgow Central Station.
In recent times, there have been one or two intriguing encounters having occurred within the underground arches in Glasgow’s city centre.
Reports have stated that staff have seen a young girl looking confused and scared, dressed in old-fashioned clothing, wandering through the dark corridors just before the area is closed for the night.
Feeling desperately sorry for the child, a few different staff members (on separate occasions) sought to communicate with her and advanced towards her. On approach, the girl emitted an ear-splitting, unearthly scream, vanishing into thin air as she did so.
19. Newark Castle, Inverclyde
Newark Castle in Port Glasgow is home to a medieval castle with a tragic tale of the most appalling cruelty during the 17th century.
The victim in question was Lady Margaret Crawford, married to Sir Patrick Maxwell and mother of 16 children. She would suffer over four decades of physical, emotional, and mental abuse from her husband. She was starved, locked up for up to six months at a time, savagely beaten, berated in public, and even once attacked with a sword.
Mediums visiting the castle, which is situated overlooking the banks of the River Clyde, have picked up on the forlorn spirit of a woman who gazes longingly out to the water from Lady Margaret’s bedroom.
There are also particular spots of intensely ice-cold temperatures throughout the room. Some visitors (without knowing the upsetting history of the castle) have felt a deep sense of emotional hurt and despair within the room, without quite knowing why.
More worryingly still, there seems to be a more menacing spirit that calls the castle home. The spirit of a male is said to enjoy tripping up the living on the steep spiral staircases and following them from room to room. Many visitors complain of having the unmistakable feeling of being watched by unseen eyes.
20. The A75, Dumfries and Galloway
The notorious road running through Dumfries and Galloway is responsible for a large percentage of traffic accidents each year, but that is not all the highway is ill-famed for.
The paranormal stories surrounding the A75 started in 1950. Still, it was a few years later when the road began to give up its secrets.
In 1953, two men called Derek and Norman Ferguson were travelling the road when they described seeing an old woman jump into the path of their car just before vanishing. She was preluded just moments earlier by a chicken catapulting itself through the air, only to similarly vanish before it hit the men’s car windscreen.
The men soon began to see all manner of animals sprout up from nowhere, again only to quickly disappear split seconds before the strange spectres would have collided with their car.
It didn’t end there: they also encountered a ghostly furniture van, with all this activity taking place in no more than half a minute.
21. Boleskine House, Inverness
Boleskine House was supposedly built on the site of a church that, in the 10th century, was mysteriously raised to the ground, killing all worshippers gathered inside. The house itself has since burnt down at least twice; once in 2015, and then again in 2019.
Occultist and all-round hellraiser Aleister Crowley owned the property for almost 14 years, allegedly not closing down a ritual that he had been performing in the home. This purportedly soon led to a gargantuan amount of highly problematic supernatural activity within the walls of Boleskine – not just in Crowley’s time, but after.
More than one individual has been witness to what is believed to be the 11th Lord Lovat, Simon Fraser’s decapitated head rolling around the upstairs landing of the property. It’s not always seen, but it is very often heard. It’s also been claimed that the Devil himself has walked the floorboards of the library with his cloven hooves after being directly summoned by Crowley.
Although somewhat difficult to distinguish between the acts and mere myths surrounding Boleskine, one thing that is certain is the number of unfortunate deaths that have occurred in the immediate area, and even in the house itself.
Some, many in fact, claimed the house to be cursed, and some locals even refuse to glance at the house when passing, so strong is their terror of the soon-to-be restored Boleskine House.
22. South Bridge Vaults, Edinburgh
Incredibly, the South Bridge vaults lay untouched and forgotten until the late 1980s Lately, they have regularly featured as part of many paranormal programmes, including Most Haunted and Ghost Adventures.
Visitors report feeling sudden gusts of icy cold air as they tour the vaults and voices have been heard too. These spirits don’t mind getting up close and personal, with many reporting something unseen whispering in their ears. Some have even said they have felt someone’s breath breathe against them as they hear disembodied voices.
Mr Boots is the most famous ghost to inhabit the vaults. He said to wear old-fashioned high boots, hence his moniker. He enjoys lurking in the corners of the vaults and more frighteningly, he has been known to get rather handsy with tourists, pushing them suddenly or hurtling stones into the crowd.
Most often of all, his boots are heard slowly marching up and down the passageways.
23. Castle Menzies, Perthshire
All manner of strange happenings has been reported over the years at Castle Menzies by ghost hunters and the general public.
Disembodied whistling, tutting, children’s laughter; it’s all happened at the 16th-century castle.
One tour guide claims that a group of 40 visitors all saw an orb moving quickly through one of the hallways. While initially baffled, the guide brushed it off, only for the same thing to happen only a few days later to another group.
Due to the abundance of activity, location is firmly on the bucket list of many a brave investigator.
In the bedrooms, there are particular cold sots – even on the warmest of days – and lurking in the meat cellar are said to be the spirits of a group of women, possibly accused of being witches.
24. Overton Bridge, Dunbartonshire
Infamous the world over for being known as the “dog suicide bridge”, Overton Bridge is a peculiar, yet highly popular area for families and walkers alike to visit.
Just make sure your canine companion is firmly secured to their lead before you venture there: the bridge has been known to be a popular spot for dogs jumping to their death.
Scientists are dumbfounded as to what has caused the deaths and “attempted suicides” of upward of 50 dogs since the 1950s. While there have been a variety of theories put forward, there is no one consensus within the scientific community, leaving the question of why dogs behave so bizarrely at Overtoun Bridge quite the mystery.
Locals, however, believe the answer to be supernatural in nature.
Overtoun House, which sits just beside the bridge, is said to be haunted by the one-time owner of the estate, Lady Overtoun.
Generally, she is blamed for the large number of dogs jumping, or at least attempting to jump from the bridge.
People commonly report that, when walking over the bridge, they are met with an incredibly uneasy feeling that they are being somehow pressed or lured towards the bridge’s edge, which leads to a 50-foot drop.
25. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh
City of the Dead Tours in Edinburgh has exclusive access to one of the most infamous, not to mention active poltergeists the world has ever seen.
Known as the Mackenzie Poltergeist, the entity is said to be responsible for hundreds of documented reports of those on the tours being bitten, scratched, tripped, punched and even knocked out in Greyfriars Kirkyard.
It gets worse, though: the Mackenzie poltergeist has even been accused of murder. In 1999, Colin Grant, a spiritualist minister, tragically died mere months after attempting to perform an exorcism, an act that he himself stated could end his life.
The City of the Dead website has a disclaimer for those who wish to partake in the tours:
WARNING: The Mackenzie Poltergeist and South Bridge Entity can cause genuine physical and mental distress. You join City of the Dead tours at your own risk.