IT seems like wherever you go and whatever stories you here about Scottish castles, there is likely to be a ghost story lurking in the background, ready for anyone who will listen.
Some ghosts have the ability, it would appear, not only to delight the committed ghost-hunter but also to convince the most sceptical of unbelievers.
We take a look at five lesser gruesome ghosts that haunt Scottish castles:
The Castle of Mey
The Castle of Mey, the Highland home for many years of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, stands in the very far north of Scotland, a few miles from John O’Groats.
Its grounds are now regularly open to the public.
The castle is haunted by a Green Lady who appears in a room at the top of the old tower. She is said to be the ghost of Elizabeth Sinclair, the daughter of George, fifth Earl of Caithness. She fell in love with a local lad, a farm worker.
A lad such as this, from the humblest of origins was considered by the girl’s father to be a most undesirable suitor.
He sought to put an end to the relationship and confined his daughter to the tower until she saw sense. It is said that when the girl leaned out of the tower window to try to catch a glimpse of her sweetheart working in the fields in the distance, she lost her balance, toppled over and fell to her death.
Cortachy Castle, north of Kirriemuir in Angus, is the family seat of Ogilvy Clan.
To this day the castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a drummer but only on certain omninous occasions - for whenever the drumbear is heard, so they say, a death in the Ogilvy family is imminent.
READ MORE - Five of the most haunted castles in Scotland
Bedlay Castle stands close to Glasgow, at Chryston.
It was first built in the twelfth century as a palace for the Bishops of Glasgow.
The castle appears to have avoided notoriety until one day, around the year 1350, when a certain Bishop Cameron had the misfortune to be found dead, floating face down in the waters of a nearby loch.
The Bishop, it would seem, had not gone willingly into the afterlife, for after his death he continued to appear in the castle in ghostly form.
The appearance of Bishop Cameron and the sounds that he made caused considerable torment to the inhabitants of the castle in the centuries to come, so much so that an exorcism was reported to have been attempted towards the end of the nineteenth century, It was unsuccessful.
The castle has been owned by a number of people over the years, among them an antique dealer and his family in the 1970s, who claimed both to have seen the large figure of the Bishop appearing before them and to have heard him pacing restlessly about in neighbouring rooms.
Brodie Castle in Morayshire is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland.
It has been the seat of the Brodie family for many centuries, and in 1889 the family experienced something for which no rational explanation has been found.
The castle had been rented out for a while, as the then Earl of Brodie was abroad, in Switzerland.
One night in September, the butler at Brodie Castle told some of the other servants that he could hear noises coming from the Earl’s study. It sounded as if someone was inside.
When the other servants listened, they too could hear noises - moaning sounds and what sounded like pages being turned or papers being rustled. This was very odd, as the Earl had locked his study before his departure, leaving strict instructions that no one was to enter the room in his absence. Thinking that there might be an intruder, the servants searched for a key to the room but could not find none.
The next day, news reached the castle that the Earl of Brodie had died in Switzerland the previous night. It could only be assumed that the Earl’s ghost had returned on the night of his death, perhaps with a wish to deal with outstanding business.
Craigievar Castle is home to a number of ghosts, so it is said.
The Blue Room in the tower is reputedly haunted by a member of the Gordon Clan who fell from the window there. He was forced to his death at sword-point by ‘Red’ Sir John Forbes, a man of some notoriety. People have heard the footsteps of the unfortunate Gordon climbing the step to the Blue Room, as if re-enacting the moments before his death.
One of the other ghosts at Craigievar is said to be very selective in his appearances. It is thought that he is the ghost of a musician, a fiddler who fell into the well at the castle and drowned. He is said to appear only to those who bear the name of Forbes.