In pictures: 10 of Scotland's most chilling ghosts

If you like the thrill and chill of a good ghost story then you'll adore Scotland's rich mine of dark spirit tales.
Fyvie Castle is said to be haunted by a woman starved to death by her husband. PIC: Creative Commons/Gordon RobertsonFyvie Castle is said to be haunted by a woman starved to death by her husband. PIC: Creative Commons/Gordon Robertson
Fyvie Castle is said to be haunted by a woman starved to death by her husband. PIC: Creative Commons/Gordon Robertson

Forged over centuries, Scotland’s rich storytelling tradition has left a mass of scary yarns to choose from.

They include the poltergeist of a former Lord Advocate who lives in an Edinburgh graveyard to a ‘monster’ who hides out in a secret chamber of an Angus castle which is linked to the Royal family.

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Here were look at nine of the most chilling ghosts of Scotland - and where believers might find them.

1. The Apprentice, Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian

This working church was built for the Sinclair family in the 15th century with flames said to flicker for in the burial vaults when the death of a family member drew near. An apparition of the apprentice who carved the famous Apprentice Pillar and was then murdered by his teacher can sometimes be seen or hear in the vaults of the chapel made famous by the Da Vinci Code, according to tradition.

2. Lilias Drummond, Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire

Lilias Drummond died here in 1601 and some believe she was starved to death by her husband. Following her death, it is claimed her ghost carved her name on the windowsill of her husband’s bedroom on the night of his wedding to his second wife. The writing can still be seen. The ghosts of a drummer and a trumpeter are also said to roam the corridors of Fyvie.

3. The Monster, Glamis Castle, Angus.

A scary story with the saddest of hearts. Officially, Glamis heir Thomas Lyon-Bowes born and died on the same day but many have claimed that the boy, said to have been born extremely deformed, was locked away in a secret chamber of the castle from where his presence struck fear and alarm into visitors during his life and after death.

4. Dead sailors, Sandwood Bay, Sutherland

Long before the lighthouse at Cape Wrath was established in 1828, there were many boating tragedies off this stretch of coast with it becoming known as a shipwreck graveyard.

The ghosts of sailors are said to knock on the windows of Sandwood Bay Cottage and bear down on its sleeping residents on particularly stormy nights.

5. Nuckelavee the horse demon, Orkney.

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With a head ten times bigger than a man’s, breath like venom and a skinless body pumped full of black blood, there is perhaps no more fearsome beast as the Nuckelavee.

Also known as the Devil of the Sea, the horse-like demon from Orkney is said to have roamed both land and water.

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Nuckelavee was feared on Orkney for his bad spirit and was blamed for failed crops, droughts and cases of livestock that had fallen into the sea.

6.Mackenzie Poltergeist, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

There are ongoing accounts of visitors to Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh being attacked by the poltergeist of Sir George Mackenzie, the 17th-century Lord Advocate known as “Bluidy Mackenzie” given his role in the execution of a large number of Covenanters.

One ghost tour operator in the city keeps a log of incidents reported close to his tomb, with scratches, bite marks and burns supposedly among the complaints.

7. Faceless man and others, South Bridge Vaults, Edinburgh

Paranormal experts say the South Bridge vaults is one of the most haunted places in the UK given the sheer number of disturbances recorded there. Encounters usually involve voices and apparitions with some visitors reporting physical contact, usually in the form of scratches and bruises to the skin. A faceless man and a poltergeist are among the culprits.

8. Wee girl, Mary Kings Close, Edinburgh

Often dubbed Scotland’s most haunted street, the ghost of a wee girl is said to roam the close that was bricked over during the plague outbreak of 1645. Toys are left at the attraction for the girl at the attraction.

9. Ubby the island dweller, Skaill House, Orkney

An Orkney man called Ubby, who built the small island in the middle of Skaill Loch by rowing out and dropping stones into the water, is now said to haunt the wing of nearby Skaill House where he once lived.

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He has been described as a tall man with dark hair that is thinning on the top with reports of sightings made by both staff and visitors.

10: Lady Overtoun and suicide dogs, Overtoun Bridge, West Dunbartonshire

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A number of so-called dog suicides have been committed at Overtoun Bridge with several reports of dogs inexplicably running off the side of the stone crossing.

Some believe the bridge is haunted — by the spirit of Lady Overtoun, who is said to have walked along the bridge after her husband’s death in 1908.

Author Paul Owen said: “I was up there one summer’s day and I felt a very strong jab — like a phantom finger — twice in my back. It was the sensation you get when you fear someone might push you over the edge of a train platform.”

Animal behaviourists claim the dogs may leap from the bridge given the strong smell of mink coming from the ground below.