Scots love a ghost story as we live up to our famed reputation as one of the most haunted locations in the world.
With the nation's dark history and ancient folklore resulting in a mass of chilling graveyards and ancient castles scattered all over the country, it's no surprise there are countless sightings of ghosts in Scotland year after year.
And while there are so many places to choose from, we have taken a closer look at some of the most notoriously eerie locations that keep Scots awake at night.
So check out our gallery below to take a tour of Scotland's most haunted place that will no doubt give you the chills.
Edinburgh Castle is reputed to be one of the most haunted spots in Scotland. And Edinburgh itself has been called the most haunted city in all of Europe. On various occasions, visitors to the castle have reported a phantom piper, a headless drummer, the spirits of French prisoners from the Seven Years War and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War - even the ghost of a dog wandering in the grounds' dog cemetery.
The Blue Men of the Minch, also known as storm kelpies, are mythological creatures inhabiting the stretch of water between the northern Outer Hebrides and mainland Scotland, looking for sailors to drown and stricken boats to sink. They appear to be localized to the Minch and surrounding areas, unknown in other parts of Scotland and without counterparts in the rest of the world. They have the power to create storms, but when the weather is fine they float sleeping on or just below the surface of the water. The blue men swim with their torsos raised out of the sea, twisting and diving as porpoises do. They are able to speak, and when a group approaches a ship its chief may shout two lines of poetry to the master of the vessel and challenge him to complete the verse. If the skipper fails in that task then the blue men will attempt to overturn the ship and capsize it.
The castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of William Wallace, who is said to wander 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 around the lands for his tremendous skill. The secret to 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 into giving his soul back. Infuriated by this trickery, the Devil attacked the castle in his rage, and is said to have left his hoof prints on one of the rocks. Sir Fergus Barclay is buried in the castle chapel, situated a few hundred yards inland from the castle, further down the hill.
Paranormal investigations at the castle have also shown there to be much activity, including disembodied voices, clicking and banging noises, light anomalies, apparitions and members of the team feeling sick and nauseous. The Red Room has spooked so many people that the owners called in an Edinburgh priest to exorcise its lingering spirits. Legend says that a young servant girl bore an illegitimate Borthwick son in the room. Mother and baby, potential threats to the title, were quickly put to the sword. In other era, the Borthwick family chancellor used this room, and the niches for his safes remain in the stone wall to this day. According to gossip, the Borthwicks discovered their chancellor was embezzling money from the family coffers. Eschewing the nicety of a performance review, they intercepted the chancellor on his way home from Edinburgh one evening and cancelled his contract by burning him to death. The ghosts of the young servant girl and the fired chancellor still wander the stony spiral staircases of Borthwick, some people say, and even the most stalwart visitors admit to feeling invisible presences in the Great Hall.
The Greyman has been described as an extremely tall figure covered with short hair, or as an unseen presence that causes uneasy feelings in people who climb the mountain. Evidence of the existence of this creature is limited to various sightings and a few photographs of unusual footprints. It is traditionally seen as a supernatural being, but Am Fear Liath Mòr has been compared to the Yeti of the Himalaya and the Sasquatch or Bigfoot of North America. References to wild 'Greymen' in Scotland and similar creatures elsewhere in Europe, sometimes called Wudewas or 'Wood Men', date back to the 13th century, and are believed by some to represent relict hominids.
The Necropolis and the Southern Necropolis (Necropolis meaning City of the Dead). Located in the Gorbals area, the Southern Necropolis is reputedly home to White Lady. As the story goes, the White Lady is a stone memorial in the shape of a veiled lady in the resting place of John S. Smith, his wife Magdalene and their housekeeper, Mary McNaughton. Magdalene and Mary were both tragically killed when they were hit by a tram car in 1933. Many witnesses have reported seeing the statue of the White Lady turning her head as they walk past and at night time have seen a white figure float through the cemetery then disappear into thin air.
A legend relates the tale of a young woman by the name of Helen Gunn, who was abducted by John Keith for her beauty. She flung herself, or fell, from the highest tower to escape her abductor's advances. Supposedly her ghost is still seen, wearing a long red rustling ball gown and a tall head of black hair.
Sir Hugo de Giffard was known as the 'Wizard of Yester', and was considered to be a powerful warlock and necromancer. It is in the undercroft of the castle that he was thought to practise his sorcery. 14th century chronicler John of Fordun mentions the large cavern in Yester Castle, thought locally to have been formed by magical artifice. Legend supposed that Hugo was able, via a pact with the Devil, to raise a magical army to his aid, and use them to carry out his will. It is this army of hobgoblins that was considered the builders of Yester Castle.
There are a few reported spirits at Stirling Castle. The most active sighting is of the Highland ghost. Staff and visitors have often seen his apparition, often wearing a full traditional costume, kilt and all. Mistaken for a tour guide on many occasion, visitors have been shocked when they approach him, he simply turns and walks away, vanishing in front of their eyes.
Perhaps the most popular of Stirling’s ghosts is the Green Lady. It’s believed that she was a servant to Mary Queen of Scots. One night the Queen was asleep in her chamber when her bed curtains were set alight by a candle at her bedside. The servant saved her life, only she lost her own in the process. Ever since her death, the Green Lady has been seen throughout the castle, possibly still looking to serve the Queen.
Some stories suggest that Mary Queen of Scots herself is said to still haunt the castle. She has been linked to the ghost of the Pink Lady. She’s seen wearing a flowing pink gown, often walking from the castle to the nearby Church of the Holyrood. Other stories suggest that the Pink Lady is a widow looking for her husband who lost his life during battle.
Other reports are of phantom footsteps in the Governor’s Block, believed to emanate from one fo the empty chambers upstairs.
The dark forest is home to the grave of a formidable chief of Clan Shaw. This specter allegedly stands over six feet tall and is said to challenge visitors to battle. If those confronted show fear, they are never seen again, but if they accept, no harm is done to them. Or so legend has it.
On the anniversary of the bloody Battle of Culloden Moor (16th April 1746), ghosts of soldiers fallen are said to rise again, and the cries of the wounded and clanking of steel weapons are heard.
On many occasions similar reports have been made of a tall man with drawn features in tartan being seen roaming the area. When approached he is heard mumbling the word “defeated”. In 1936 there was a report from one woman who had lifted a tartan cloth that was covering one of the grave mounds, only to then discover the apparition of a severely wounded Highlander underneath it. Birds are said never to sing in the area surrounding these mounded graves, perhaps too afraid of the ominous atmosphere.
There are also numerous wells all around the area which are said to be haunted. St Mary’s Well in particular is supposed to be haunted by the ghosts of the dead Highlanders. Clootie Well also has some mystery surrounding it – it supposedly offers a cure for ailments, with brighlty coloured rags as the offering from sick people of years past.
The family chapel is haunted by a Grey Lady, who is said to be the spirit of Lady Janet Douglas, burned at the stake as a witch on Castle Hill, Edinburgh in 1537, on charges of plotting to poison the King. It is likely that the charges were fabricated for political motives. The apparition has been seen relatively recently in the chapel by a number of witnesses. She is also said to appear above the Clock Tower.
The ghost of a woman with no tongue is said to haunt the grounds, and to look out from a barred window somewhere within the castle. She runs about the park pointing at her mutilated face. There is no suggestion as to who she might be.
A young black boy, the ghost of a Negro servant who was badly treated around 200 years ago, haunts a stone seat by the door of the Queen's bedroom.
One of the more infamous ghosts is known as Earl Beardie, who is otherwise known as Alexander, Earl Crawford. Allegedly he was a cruel and wicked man, probably stemming from his rebellion against James II. His spirit is said to wander the castle, and there have been reports of children waking to find the figure leaning over their beds. He is also said to be gambling for all eternity in a secret room with the Devil, people have reported loud swearing and the rattling of dice. He is often mixed up in literature with the second Earl of Glamis.
Mary King’s Close most famous ghost is that of a little girl nicknamed, Annie. In 1992 a Japanese psychic was startled when she entered a small room in the Close. She immediately felt sickness, hunger and a bitter cold envelop the room. She then felt the presence latch onto her leg. Others have received the message that Annie is sad because she lost her favorite toy. So countless visitors have left Annie gifts in the small room that is now named after her. Most believe that Annie’s family probably left her behind when she became ill with the plague.
Other activity in the Close includes phantom footsteps walking up and down the empty street and visitors and guides have seen a ghost of a lady wearing a black or grey dress. The ghost of Mary--Alexander King’s daughter is seen. Witnesses have also reported seeing masculine figures in the Close that just disappear when approached. In fact, some of these sighting were reported back before the street was walled up. In one particular chimney strange noises are heard. When people have put their hands inside they are sometimes scratched.