Scottish history

Paranormal stories from Scotland’s buildings: part 4

Warning: contains topics that may cause an uneasy feeling. Advised to not read at night or rather with someone when easily feeling unsettled.

Scotland has many buildings that behold ghost stories, or well, paranormal ones. I’ve always been interested in such stories, including abandoned buildings. Sure, the question will always be the same: are such stories true? Multiple buildings have been visited by paranormal scientists, and they said it was true. In several parts, I’ll be telling all paranormal stories and the history of Scotland’s buildings! Today: the fourth part!

  1. Dunstaffnage Castle

Dunstaffnage Castle is close to the beautiful coastal town of Oban. Often described as the gateway to the islands, Oban provides a port for ships traveling to the inner and outer Hebridean islands, including Mull, Tiree and Barra. Close to this peaceful town is Dunstaffnage Castle, which is over thirteen hundred years old and was visited by Robert the Bruce and King James IV. Flora MacDonald was also imprisoned in this large castle for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape Scotland after the Battle of Culloden. A lady dressed in green is said to roam the ramparts of the castle. The owners of Dunstaffnage Castle, Clan Campbell, would know whether good or bad luck is coming their way based on sightings of the lady in Green. When she smiles, happiness is on the way, but when she cries, the Clan knows trouble lies ahead. A ghost, known as the ‘Ell-maid of Dunstaffnage’, is said to haunt the castle. A type of gruagach, the ghost’s appearances are said to be associated with events in the lives of the hereditary keepers.

Dunstaffnage Castle.jpg
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2. Ardrossan Castle

Ardrossan is a small town in North Ayrshire, from which CalMac Ferries travels to Arran and Campbeltown. Located just around the bay from this busy port on a high climb are the ruins of Ardrossan Castle. Today the haunted ruins still watch over the city; however, according to legend, the castle is haunted by the ghost of William Wallace. Wallace conquered the castle in the 13th century; the history of the castle is bloody and violent and is home to the infamous ‘Wallace’s Larder’. Wallace lured the English out of the castle by setting fire to a nearby building. Wallace and his men slaughtered the men and threw their bodies in the pantry to rot. His ghost wanders the ruins on stormy nights. The castle is also associated with the devil. Sir Fergus Barclay, also known as ‘the De’il of Ardrossan’, was a horseman, famous throughout the country for his tremendous skill. The secret of his skill, however, was a magical bridle, which was given to Barclay by the devil in exchange for his soul. However, the devil was tricked by Barclay to return his soul. Enraged by this deception, the devil attacked the castle in his rage, and is said to have left his hoof marks on one of the rocks. Sir Fergus Barclay is buried in the castle chapel, a few hundred meters inland from the castle, further down the hill.

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3. St Kilda

St Kilda, 66 miles west of Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides, is the UK’s most remote part of the country. This fascinating archipelago, with its exceptional cliffs and sea stacks, has not been inhabited by humans since 1930. The islands of St. Kilda are haunted by a harsh past full of struggles from the natives and passing visitors. From the stories of the St Kildians making the brave attempt to reach Australia and perishing in the raging waves, the stories of the dogs on the island who drowned in the sea before the last islanders left the archipelago or the many castaways trapped in the cruelty of the cliffs and steep stacks of the islands.

St Kilda | National Trust for Scotland
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4. Callanish Standing Stones

Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis is one of Scotland’s best-known stone circles, the stones were built on the site between 2900 – 2600 BC and there’s some evidence that structures previously existed on the site. The stones are known as ‘Fir Bhreig’ which means ‘the false men’ in Gaelic and legend has it that the stones were giants who were turned to stone by St. Kieran because they didn’t want to convert to Christianity.

BBC - Earth - The strange origin of Scotland's stone circles
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5. Duntrune Castle

Duntrune Castle is located in Argyll on the Poltalloch estate on the north side of Loch Crinan and is considered the longest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. Apparently this historical beauty is followed by sounds by the ghost of a bagpipe player, said to have been murdered by Clan Campbell. The story goes that the bagpiper had taken orders from his master, an Irishman named Coll Ciotach, with the aim of discovering some insider information about Clan Campbell’s defense. Ciotach wanted to make war on the Clan, and they soon became suspicious. They locked the bagpipes, but in an attempt to warn his master, the bagpipes began to play. The clan cut off his finger and bleed him to death. For hundreds of years, there have been stories of thumping sounds and flying objects heard and seen at Duntrune Castle. There have even been reports of a mysterious sound from the occasional playing of bagpipes. For years, people actually thought that the mutilated bagpipe player’s story was just that – a story. But while a renovation project was underway in Duntrune in the late 1800s, an Episcopalian bishop reported that workers had found the skeletal remains of a man. They dug up the bones: skull, arms, legs, torso – everything was there – except his hands. The remains were reburied outside the castle walls in an unmarked grave. Later, another excavation revealed the bones of two hands, without leaving a body, buried under one of the chambers of the castle.

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Which story had you heard before? And which one seems the most ‘creepy’ to you?

Love, Deem/Skye Lewis ❤

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