Shadows and Dread Haunt Inverary Jail


Inverary Jail in Argyll, Scotland, is a 19th century prison full of ghosts and unexplained activity, says RICK HALE

Haunted Inverary Jail in Scotland

Despite what some TV shows and movies have tried to tell us, being locked up is by no means a fun time.

Prison is supposed to be a place of punishment, rehabilitation and paying your debt to society.

Unfortunately, some correctional institutions take matters a little too far with the punishment aspect and Scotland’s Inverary Jail was one such place.

To say Inverary Jail was a miserable place would be a gross understatement and its many ghosts are a testament to it’s dark past.

History Of Inverary Jail

For several generations, the town of Inverary was the seat of the powerful Duke of Argyll.

Before the prison we see today, the courts met in the upper floors of the town house and the basement served as the county prison.

The conditions of the prison were deplorable and inmates were forced to live in cramped cells without light and  heat.

Conditions were so bad, several inmates managed to escape from the building.

Daily escapes became occured often and the citizens of Inverary took it upon themselves to guard the prison. As proper guards were too few to keep the prisoners in line.

In 1807, noted Edinburgh architect, Robert Reid was contracted to build a bigger, more spacious prison.

Reid’s vision for the new prison was dashed when it was determined the build would be far too expensive. 

The contract passed into the hands of a different architect and the new jail was finally completed in 1848.

Although the jail was more modern with heated rooms and gaslit cells, Inverary Jail became a place of unimaginable cruelty.

Inmates, even including children, were forced to work ten hour days in their cells and inmates were not allowed to speak to each other. 

According to those who oversaw the prison, this was a place of quiet contemplation and repenting of one’s sins. If anyone was caught fraternizing, the punishment was quick and painful.

The Haunting Of Inverary Jail

After the closing of the jail in 1889, the building sat empty for almost a century before reopening as a tourist attraction. 

As more and more people paid to tour the facility, it became apparent that many of the long dead inmates refused to leave.

The stories of Inverary Jail became so widespread, ghost hunters from across Britain flocked to the jail in the hopes of encountering the ghosts said to lurk in it’s cells and corridors.

The haunting became so famous, it attracted the attention of the wildly popular paranormal reality TV show, ‘Most Haunted.’  Inverary Jail was quickly becoming legendary.

Inverary Jail
Inverary Jail

The Shadow

Over the years several employees have claimed to encounter the jail’s most unnerving ghost, a large black mass that exudes a sense of dread.

One employee of the Inverary Jail, Rob Irons, had a bone chilling encounter with the malicious ghost.

One day while making his rounds, Rob claimed the Shadow entity passed through him, leaving him terrified with and an unnatural cold that penetrated to his bones.

When he was able to finally collect his thoughts, Rob questioned a nearby colleague if he had seen anything. And his reply was no. 

Cell 10

Whatever lurks in cell 10 isn’t so much seen as it is felt. Visitors report feeling a keen sense of dread.

Almost as if some unseen malicious entity resides there and clearly doesn’t want anyone in it’s space.

Dogs appear to be the ones most affected by whatever haunts cell 10.

Dogs refuse to enter the cell choosing to stand at the threshold and growl at something only they can see. 

The Kitchen

Visitors, mostly female, refuse to  enter the kitchen under any circumstances, claiming they feel a sense of distress.

The apparition of a woman has been seen cowering in the corner with a look of horror etched into her face.

An explanation has been offered that this was a cook cornered by an inmate who attacked her and left her for dead. 

She pleads for mercy before fading from view.

Unexplained Phenomenon

Apart from apparitions and diabolical shadows, other unexplained activity has been witnessed by staff and visitors.

Traveling cold spots follow people around as they tour the prison.

The feeling of cold dead hands have grabbed people and shoved them against the wall.

And strange misty images have been captured on film, with people swearing up and down they saw nothing when they took the picture.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt Inverary Jail is Scotland’s most haunted house of corrections.

Today, Inverary Jail is open to the public as a living museum.

Tourists can wander the halls and listen to employees dressed as inmates telling harrowing  tales of horror and torture as they did their time behind bars.

And no visit to Scotland’s most haunted jail would be complete without visiting The Torture, Death and Damnation exhibition.

There you can learn of the history of execution and torture that occurred behind the walls of Inverary Jail.

A visit to Inverary Jail may seem like fun to those who visit. However, I assure you that for the former inmates who are stuck there for all time, it is anything but fun.

Watch Paranormal Investigation of Inverary Jail Video

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Rick Hale
Rick Hale, is a native of Chicago, Illinois and first became interested in the paranormal after having a positive interaction with an apparition at a young age. Rick is the author of The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghosts and Demons. Behold! Shocking True Tales of Terror...and Some Other Spooky Stuff. And Bullets, Booze and Babes: The Haunted History of Chicago and Illinois. Rick is the co-host of The Shadow Initiative Paranormal Talk. Rick was featured in the documentary Ghost Tapes 2. Rick is a featured writer for Spooky Isles and Rick has also been published by Haunted Times, Paranormal Underground, The Supernatural Magazine and Legends Magazine.


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