While watching horror films and eating copious amounts of sweets are popular ways to spend Halloween, there are a wealth of locations to visit in the UK if you’re hoping for a real scare. The UK is home to a number of impressive castles, many of which play host to some hair-raising ghost stories - including several in Scotland. Whether you’re a believer in ghosts, or still a sceptic, these 13 Scottish castles all have a strange history and are allegedly said to be haunted.
Glamis Castle is reputed to be the most haunted castle in Scotland and hides many dark family secrets. Many rooms have spooky tales, including the Hangman’s Chamber, believed to be where a butler once hanged himself, and several ghosts are thought to reside here, including the Monster of Glamis, the Grey Lady, the Tongueless Woman and Earl Beardie.
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This 17th century castle is allegedly home to the wandering spirit of a man dressed in a period costume, and two photographs, taken in 1977 and 2008, appear to show the mysterious figure standing in an old doorway.
This castle had been home to the Barons of Culcreuch since 1699 and was later converted into a hotel in the 1980s, before closing to the public in early 2020. It is reputedly haunted by several ghosts, including a phantom harpist whose music has often been heard in the dead of night.
The ruined castle is said to be inhabited by the spectre of John Wilson, who was wrongly imprisoned and hanged there in the 16th century. It is claimed by locals that his groans and rattling chains can still be heard.
Built in the 1500s, this brooding castle is believed to be haunted by the spirit of the Green Lady, a ghostly apparition dressed in a green robe. She is said to have been a servant girl who disappeared soon after having a child. In the 1800s, skeletal remains were found behind the fireplace in a room she had been seen in.
A ghostly bagpiper is believed to haunt this castle in Argyll, after being sent by his master to secretly study the building’s defences. After residents grew suspicious, he was locked up and later had his fingers chopped off and was left to die.
Considered one of the most haunted places in Scotland, Edinburgh Castle has had many reports of strange goings-on over the years, including former prisoners haunting the dungeons and the ghost of a headless drummer, whose music has been heard come from the battlements.
The Seamstresses’ Room on the upper floor of the castle is allegedly haunted by a young woman who was imprisoned by the Earl of Sutherland, who planned to marry her. She tried to escape by climbing down a rope of sheets but fell to her death, and her cries can still be heard today.
Reports of paranormal activity at this castle range are abundant and it is said that the meat cellar is haunted by three grumpy women, believed to be a coven of witches.
This hilltop castle has been linked to a number of ghosts, including the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots, one of her servants, and a ghostly highlander dressed in a kilt. Visitors have reported tales of mistaking him for a tour guide, only for him to turn and disappear when approached.
Perched on a cliff face on the Ayrshire coast, this castle is reputed to be home to at least seven ghosts, including a young woman wearing a ballgown and a piper who is said to play his pipes in the grounds.
Previously used as an artillery fortification, a prison and an ammunition depot, this 15th century castle is believed to be home to a phantom knight who guards the prison town. He is said to occasionally leap out at visitors and give them a fright.
Sightings of a ghostly nanny with two young children who are thought to have died in a fire have been reported at this castle, with the sound of the children playing said to be heard in rooms three, nine and 23. There have also been reports of screams from a maid who was attacked by her master, and a ghostly dog that likes biting ankles has been seen roaming the hallways.