Legend Of The Lochmaben Castle Vampire

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Scotland’s Lochmaben Castle was the site of a real-life vampire case in 1991. KIERAN MacRAE, from Generally Spooky History Podcast, takes a look

Lochmaben Castle Vampire

A 700-year-old ruined castle sits on the banks of Lochmaben in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Once, it was home to the Earls of March. Now it’s said to be home to something much more sinister…

In 1991, paranormal investigator Tom Robertson was asked to investigate the ruins by the area’s locals. They told him stories of a creature spotted lurking around the castle. People were finding animal carcasses which, Tom claimed, had been drained of blood.

Never a man to back down from a challenge, Tom ventured out to the ruins himself. In his own words, this is what he saw:

“Just 15 foot or so away stood the most hideous sight – a walking, decomposing corpse. Its face was as grey as granite, its eyes as black as coal. The skin seemed transparent, except for the purple veins protruding from the creature’s dead, withered tissue. It was tall but round-shouldered and a hood was pulled over its head, dressed in sacking.”

“Vampire. The word popped into my head.”

“The creature suddenly took flight, springing up on to a branch and gliding from tree to tree like Tarzan on steroids. I was worried about Margaret sitting alone in the car, so I forced myself to move faster. I unlocked the door, started the engine and put my foot down on the pedal to get away.”

It was 8 years before Tom returned to the woods where he’d first seen this vampire. He’d had to take time to care for his sickly wife. He set up camp in the woods, eager to meet this creature again, and here’s what he saw, according to an interview he gave:

“I camped out in the woods. It was nearing dawn. I had seen nothing. I walked some distance. Then I noticed a shadow. It was the vampire – stooped over like a hunchback. It stopped and turned its head towards me. It glared at me with evil intensity. This grotesque beast looked like it had crawled out of the grave.”

What could explain the Lochmaben Castle Vampire?

There is one theory we talk about on our podcast. The theory relates to a second vampire story that originates just 15 miles from Lochmaben at Annan Castle.

A long time ago, a Yorkshireman became convinced of his wife’s infidelity. Determined to catch her in the act, he hid in wait up in the rafters of their bedroom. 

After some time, his wife comes in. She’s holding the hand of her lover. The Yorkshireman is so shocked that he falls from the ceiling with a crash and gets knocked out cold.

Lochmaben Castle
Lochmaben Castle

He eventually wakes up but comes down with a mysterious disease that leaves him weak and bedridden. The local monk could see that death was close by and tries to get the man to make a final confession and receive his last rites. But the man refuses and passes away, having never received them.

After he is buried, strange things start happening. Packs of barking dogs start hanging around the grave, making lots of noise and generally being nasty. 

It got even worse when people in the surrounding town claim to see him wandering the streets, and some of them even saw him in their homes. They were so scared they started making extra effort to lock their doors at night to keep him away. 

These events were actually recorded by William of Newburgh in the 12th century who said:

“Those precautions were of no avail; for the atmosphere, poisoned by the vagaries of this foul carcass, filled every house with disease and death by its pestiferous breath.”

No hope seems in sight until two brave young men who’ve lost their father to the disease vow to act. They dig up the corpse of the Yorkshireman and drag it from its grave across town to a funeral pyre they’ve built. 

One of the brothers declares the body will not burn in its whole form, and so they cut at it with their spades until they tear out the “accursed heart”. The body is condemned to the cleansing flames upon which the pestilence in the air clears, and the people are once again safe to leave their houses at night. 

Could this have been the vampire that Tom Robertson saw? Risen again to once more spread its pestilence? Who can say. 

All I can say is that you should be careful next time you visit Lochmaben Castle.

KIERAN MacRAE co-hosts Generally Spooky History, a podcast that delves into Scotland’s mysterious and spooky history. You can listen to Generally Spooky History’s podcast on the Lochmaben Castle vampire.


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