Love it or hate it (and lots of us hate it), there is no doubt that Halloween is getting bigger and bigger every year. If you want to avoid the costumes and commercialism and get back to the spooky spirit of Halloween, there are plenty of places to visit across Scotland that have an allegedly haunted history. Whether or not the ghost sightings and supernatural reports are real, their interesting history make the places on our list well worth a visit regardless.

1. Overtoun Bridge, Dumbarton

Near Overtoun House, Milton Brae, Dumbarton

On the approach to this grand, stone bridge near the 19th century Overtoun House, there is a rather curious sign warning you to keep your dogs on a lead. The reason? Across the last few decades there have been at least 50 ‘dog suicides’ from the bridge, with all the unfortunate canines throwing themselves from the exact same spot on the same side of the 15m bridge. Several explanations exist -one being that there are mink trails below that attract the dogs- but many locals believe there is a supernatural cause of the curious phenomenon. In Celtic beliefs the bridge is known as a ‘thin place’ where the realms of the living cross with the dead, with the dogs apparently super-sensitive to the spirits and compelled to leap into the water to escape them. Particularly at this time of year the bridge is quite a haunting sight, with the observing eyes of the overgrown trees watching you creep over the decaying leaves of the forest. But, if you do visit, it’s probably not the best idea to bring your dog along.

2. Skaill House, Orkney

Sandwick, Orkney

01856 841501

Open every day, 10am-4pm

Adult £7.50, Child £4.50

Within touching distance of the Skara Brae settlement and allegedly built on top of an ancient Pictish burial ground, Skaill House has not been short of supernatural sightings. Even the present Laird of the house has added to the ghostly rumours, claiming to have heard footsteps late one night that spooked his dog and caused her to run out of the room. Other sightings include the reflection of a man in the gift shop, a smell of cigarette smoke in the attic, and a ghostly apparition photographed in the house at a time when no one was staying. But most creepy of all, several skeletons were found under the main hall when the flooring was replaced in the twentieth century- and then put back again, where they remain to this day.

3. Edinburgh Vaults

South Bridge, Edinburgh

Tours at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm

0131 225 5445

This series of chambers under the capital’s famous South Bridge were originally used to house taverns, cobblers and milliners before they fell into a state of disrepair. The vaults then were largely forgotten before an excavation in 1985 revealed the network of underground rooms, and the fact that they had also been inhabited by families. Now the vaults are closed to the public except for specially run ghost tours, where modern visitors have claimed to hear screams, whispers and even feel a cold breath on the back of their necks.

4. Fyvie Castle, Aberdeen

Fyvie, Turriff, Aberdeenshire

Open Saturday-Wednesday, 11am-5pm

Adults £13, Concession £9.50

01651 891266

This imposing fortress of a castle is more than 800 years old, and over the centuries it has apparently acquired several ghosts that have been seen roaming the passageways. The most famous is ‘The Green Lady’, Lilias Drummond, who was allegedly starved to death by her husband. On the night he remarried her ghostly wails were heard outside his window, and in the morning her name was found carved into the windowsill in his bedroom (with these carvings still visible today). But, if you needed the ultimate ghost-hunter seal of approval, in 2005 the castle even got a visit from Yvette Fielding and her Most Haunted team.

5. Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

Greyfriars Place, Edinburgh

0131 225 1900

It might be best known for the story of Greyfriars Bobby, but this graveyard is also considered to be one of the spookiest places in Scotland. Its scariest resident is the spirit of Presbyterian George Mackenzie, whose Mackenzie Poltergeist is said to be one of the most aggressive paranormal figures in the country. His tomb was allegedly disturbed in 1999 after a homeless man broke into it while looking for a place to sleep, and since then the poltergeist has been known to bruise, burn and scratch those who come to the kirkyard on ghost tours. Don’t say you weren’t warned…

6. Abbotsford House, Melrose

Abbotsford, Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scottish Borders

01896 752043

The home of much-loved writer Sir Walter Scott, Abbotsford House was also the place he died- with visitors reporting having since seen his ghost in the dining room where he collapsed. Scott himself was fascinated by folk beliefs, and wrote his own ghost story in 1829 about a sinister apparition who haunted an army general. He also experienced several supernatural events while in the house- most notably an incident when he was woken up by the sound of heavy furniture being dragged across the dining room. Grabbing a gun, he rushed downstairs to confront the intruder… only to find no one there.

7. Stirling Castle

Castle Esplanade, Stirling

Open every day, 9.30am-5pm

Adults £15, Children £9

01786 450 000

The most famous of Stirling Castle’s ghosts is that of the eerie Highlander, who has been spotted by staff and tourists dressed in full Scottish attire roaming the corridors. There are several reports of visitors approaching the figure after thinking he was a tour guide, only for him to turn away and disappear before their eyes. He was allegedly captured on camera in 1935 by an architect surveying the building- but if you want to go one better you could try and grab a selfie with him.

8. Kinnaird Head Castle, Fraserburgh

Castle Terrace, Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire

Open Tuesday- Sunday, 10am- 4.30pm

01346 511022

Altered in 1787 to contain a lighthouse, the original castle of Kinnaird Head was the sight of a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story that is since said to have spawned a resident ghoul. Sir Alexander Fraser disapproved of his daughter Isobel’s choice of partner, so he chained him to a rock in a nearby cave to drown him. Devastated by grief, Isobel then threw herself from the castle’s tower on to the rocks below- where she can allegedly still be seen traipsing between the castle and the cave where her lover died.

9. The Tay Bridge

Tay Rail Bridge, near Dundee

The original Tay Bridge was the scene of a catastrophic tragedy in 1879, when it collapsed in a storm while a six-carriage train was crossing. All 75 passengers on board were lost and the disaster sent shockwaves through the Victorian engineering community, before a new bridge was opened seven years later. Yet remnants of the old bridge remain -with its stumps visible underneath its replacement- and some claim to still hear the screams of the passengers as the train plummeted into the water below. Folklore suggests that if you visit the site on the 28th December, the anniversary of the disaster, you can see a ghost train apparition on the track where the bridge would have been, and hear the deathly wails of those on board.