The Ghosts of Scotland

With its long and often bloody history, it's only natural for Scotland to be fertile ground for ghosts and hauntings. In fact, Scotland has more reported ghosts than almost any other country, The Ghosts of Scotland some of which are quite famous. For instance, there have been reports of the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots haunting many places. And you would be hard pressed to find ANY Scottish castle that isn't inhabited by a ghost or two (and sometimes many more).

Second only to castles, the most haunted parts of Scotland are of course the sites of some the country's most historic battles. One of the nation's most historic battles, that of Culloden Moor, is also one of the most haunted. The most common ghost at Culloden is that of a lone, weary-looking warrior in highland dress (wearing the Stuart Tartan). It's also been said that for quite a while after the battle, you could watch a re-enactment of the battled, fought by two phantom armies.

I'm sure everyone's heard the axiom "life imitates art" and ghostly occurrences in Scotland are no exception, specifically one which could have been ripped straight from the pages of a Shakespearean drama. King James IV is said to have seen an apparition of an old man at St. Michael's Parish Church in Linlithgow. The phantom told the King (along with several of his advisors who were with him at the time) that if he were to proceed south to attack the English, he would fail and be himself killed. He ignored this advice and proceeded with his plan, but the prophecy came true; James' army was defeated and he was killed.

Just as in the Baird's plays, there is more than one occurrence in Scotland's history of the folly of ignoring supernatural counsel. On the 27th of July 1689, Viscount John Graham of Claverhouse (commonly known as "Bonnie Dundee") made just such a mistake. Dundee was the commander of the Highland Jacobites who defeated William of Orange's troops at the Pass of Killiecrankie, and on the night before the battle he was warned by a blood-soaked man not to descend from the high ground with his troops to attack the English. Dundee took this seriously, and it was only with great reluctance the next day that he finally ordered his troops to descend from the high ground to attack Orange's forces. Seeing that the highlanders were on their way to a sound defeat of the enemy forces, Dundee regained his confidence and began to follow his troops downwards, but he was shot and killed by an enemy musket in the process. A red glow is said to hang over the Pass every year on the anniversary of the battle.

There are also several more modern ghosts sighted in Scotland today. One of these is the ghost of not just a person, but his car as well. This ghost-car has been seen speeding along the A7 towards Edinburgh driven by a man who all witnesses have described as evil or malevolent-looking. He may very well be, as this specter has caused several accidents, mainly when motorists have swerved to avoid the ghostly vehicle.

There are many more well known spirits which have been sighted in Scotland over the years (too many to list here in fact), but those are just some of the most well known. The subject of Scottish hauntings has become so popular with visitors; in fact, there are tours available in both Edinburgh and Glasgow that focus solely on reportedly haunted sites.

MORE about The Ghosts of Scotland on Gathering of the Clans:

Famous Scottish Ghosts: Ghosts of Scotland Part One

Famous Women Ghosts: Ghosts of Scotland Part Two

Famous Children's Ghosts: Ghosts of Scotland Part Three

Great Books on Scottish Ghosts: Ghosts of Scotland Part Four

Those who want to further explore the subject of the ghosts of Scotland should take advantage of the enormous amount of information available on the Internet. Below are links you can follow to find out more about Scottish Ghosts and hauntings.

SBB, October, 1999


Walking tours of haunted sites from Gruesome Glasgow

Stories of many Scottish hauntings and other ghost stories

Great locations and stories in Scotland on Shady Ladies

Ghosts of Scotland and their stories by county

Famous ghosts of Scottish castles on Highland Ghosts

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

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