The Windhouse At Yell is considered the Shetland Island’s most haunted house. RICK HALE tells us why.
For most of my life as a student of the macabre and the haunted, I typically fall in line with many of the established theories of psychical research.
However, there is one long-held belief that I could never get behind: If you build over a burial ground, well you’re sure to anger any ghosts that may be sleeping along with their mouldy, old bones.
While it may be disrespectful, like the unscrupulous real estate in Poltergeist 1982 found out the hard way, building over a burial ground doesn’t necessarily cause a haunting.
Nevertheless, don’t try telling that to the people of the Shetland Islands. Because according to them, their most cherished haunt was caused when the remains of two skeletons were discovered unceremoniously buried beneath the Windhouse at Yell.
Far to the north, in the cold frigid waters of Scotland can be found the Shetland Islands and its largest island, Yell.
Although settlements on this windswept island goes as far back to the Neolithic era, it was the Norse who brought culture to Yell and was even mentioned in the Orkeyinga saga.
When strong winds forced these ancient farmers and warriors into Yell sound, they remained and according to the Saga they feasted there.
Throughout World War 2, German U boats sheltered at Yell and the dreaded Luftwaffe went on a bombing run to break up communications.
Since that time, Yell has suffered major depopulation and is primarily used as a transportation hub for its neighbouring islands.
But one thing it’s well known for is the imposing and sinister looking building known as the Windhouse. A building that has become well known for being haunted.
History Of The Windhouse At Yell
The imposing structure known as the Windhouse may have been built in the early 18th century, but it’s an earlier structure that may be the cause of the ghostly terrors that lurk behind its almost impenetrable walls.
According to historians the earlier house, with some of the ruins still standing nearby, was owned by a succession of cruel men.
Beatings, torture, and hangings were allegedly practiced at the old house built sometime around 1600.
Eventually that older house was abandoned and razed to the ground to make way for the Windhouse at Yell.
Although that horrific place no longer existed, it did not stop the ghosts claiming what they obviously thought was still theirs.
A Strange Note
Katie Sutherland was a young girl who took up residence in the Windhouse in 1906 with her parents.
Shortly after moving in, she received a note in the post with a bizarre message that simply read, “I hope the ghost is not frightening you.”
What an odd thing to receive from a total stranger. Obviously this could only come from a person who previously lived in the house.
A person with first hand knowledge of the phantoms that resided within. The message was certainly vague on ‘the ghost’. Nevertheless, there are a handful who could potentially fit that bill.
The Women In Silk
Stairways seem to be a constant place where apparitions are sighted. And the Windhouse at Yell certainly has its own.
A woman in a silk dress has been glimpsed walking up and down the stairs.
She is believed to have been the mistress of a former lord of the Windhouse who met her fate after taking a tumble down the stairs.
This belief was strengthened when the skeleton of a woman was discovered at the foot of the stairs when workmen pulled up the boards.
The Tall Man
A second candidate of that bizarre note could be the figure of a tall, dark man dressed in a long black coat and top hat.
The tall man is regularly seen wandering the halls of the Windhouse at Yell, but seems to favour the front terrace.
Witnesses have watched in awe as he walks through a wall and vanishes from view.
No one can say with any degree of certainty who he was in life. But an explanation has been offered.
There is a story of a similarly-dressed tax collector who paid a visit to the Windhouse and was never seen leaving.
A commonly held belief was the tax man went to settle a debt and was murdered.
And as with our previous ghost, the woman in silk, a skeleton of a 6 foot man was discovered on the property.
To some, this undoubtedly is the mortal remains of the dark figure who haunts the Windhouse.
The Girl and the invisible staircase
A third apparition regularly seen at the Windhouse at Yell is a young girl who climbs an invisible staircase. And when she reaches the top she vanishes.
This ghost sounds like nothing more than a psychic echo captured in time and has no clue she’s being seen.
Although these three apparitions are the ones regularly seen at the Windhouse, there is an abundance of mysterious activity that could be attributed to all of the spirits that haunt this old building.
Footsteps are heard stomping about. Bone-chilling cold spots are said to follow people about the building.
In various rooms, disembodied laughter and voices are heard in conversation.
And lastly, in one instance, a young boy reported that he watched in horror as a spectre rose up out of an old sea chest only to dissolve before his eyes, and disappear back into the chest.
To say that the Windhouse on the island of Yell is extraordinarily haunted would be a gross understatement.
The scant few people who inhabit this island are all too familiar with the countless ghost stories surrounding the Windhouse.
And, they cherish every single one.
Tell us your thoughts about the Windhouse at Yell in the comments section below!