‘Dark tourism’ must-sees revealed in new Scotland guide book

Greyfriars Kirkyard is said to be haunted by Lord Advocate George Bluidy Mackenzie. Picture: Victoria Stewart
Greyfriars Kirkyard is said to be haunted by Lord Advocate George Bluidy Mackenzie. Picture: Victoria Stewart
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A seven foot tall vampire roaming the streets of Glasgow, a poltergeist haunting an iconic Edinburgh graveyard and a monster locked up in an Aberdeenshire castle are among the terrifying tales featured in a new guide to Scotland’s most “spooktacular” locations.

Tapping into the growing popularity of “dark tourism”, the e-book guide, compiled by national tourism organisation VisitScotland, also features The Green Lady – a spectre said to haunt Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire – the fabled Gorbals Vampire, which was the subject of a much-­publicised hunt involving hundreds of schoolchildren at Glasgow Necropolis in September 1954, and the ghosts of soldiers spotted on the battlefield of Culloden.

“Dark tourism”, a concept coined by John Lennon director of the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development at Glasgow Caledonian University, is when people travel to places historically associated with death and tragedy.

The introduction to the book describes the supernatural bent of Scottish folklore.

It says: “In Scotland, you can expect the unexpected. Be it in the tallest tower of an imposing castle, the darkest depths of a secluded forest, or just below the surface of a murky loch, it’s not unusual to experience something that just can’t be explained.”

Among the other spine-chilling places explored in the online book is “Scotland’s Ghost Road”, the A75 in Dumfries and Galloway, which has been the scene of various unexplained phenomena over the years; Edinburgh’s Grey­friars Kirkyard, said to be haunted by the ghost of Lord Advocate George “Bluidy” Mackenzie; and Glamis ­Castle in Angus, which is supposedly home to a monster.

Famous Scottish legends such as the Loch Ness Monster, kelpies and the Ghillie Dhu are also featured, with each entry accompanied by the places to visit for a haunting holiday experience.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said the organisation was also opening an online forum for people to discuss their experiences. He said: “Scotland’s ancient castles and extraordinary landscapes, coupled with our rich tradition of storytelling, means that spine-chilling tales of ghosts, monsters and other unexplained phenomena are plentiful.”