AS the daylight hours dwindle and Hallowe'en draws closer, it is tradition to scare ourselves with ghost stories and supernatural tales. Scotland is packed with spooky locations, from kirkyards to castles and cobbled streets that echo with the past. Here we share some of our favourites. Well, if you're brave enough to read it …

The Drovers Inn, Inverarnan, Loch Lomond

This secluded hotel, which dates back to 1705, has welcomed countless guests over the years. Some of them, it seems, are reluctant to leave.

Visitors claim to have seen the ghostly form of a young girl in a pink dress standing on the stairs, while others report hearing the anguished screams of a young drover said to have been murdered centuries earlier by cattle thieves from a rival clan.

Guests staying in room six say they have been woken in the night by the feeling of a cold, wet form next to them in bed. This is believed to be the ghost of a girl who drowned in the River Falloch and whose corpse was laid out in the room.

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Room 115, meanwhile, is known for its eerie unexplained activity. One couple claimed they found their camera had been moved and a series of bizarre photographs taken during the night.

The images included one of them asleep with an otherworldly light above the four-poster bed. Initially the couple laughed it off as a prank by their travelling companions, only to realise the door remained locked from the inside, exactly as they had left it.


West Port, Edinburgh

The Scottish capital has no dearth of spine-tingling spots, from the labyrinth of underground vaults beneath the Royal Mile to its creepy closes and ghoulish goings-on at Edinburgh Castle where resident spooks are reputed to include a headless drummer boy.

Yet, some of the scariest monsters come in flesh and blood form. The infamous Burke and Hare lurked in the shadows around West Port in the early 19th century, picking off their victims then selling the corpses for dissection at Dr Robert Knox's school of anatomy.

The pair murdered at least 16 people – possibly as many as 30 – over 10 months in 1828. It was only when a body was discovered under Burke's bed that their killing spree was halted.

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Burke was hanged in 1829. In a poetic twist of irony, his body was donated to Edinburgh University for "useful dissection". Hare, who escaped execution after agreeing to turn King's evidence against his partner in crime, died a pauper in London in 1858.

Mercat Tours in Edinburgh is running a series of guided Hallowe'en walks. Visit

Culloden Moor, Inverness

Spectral soldiers are said to appear each year on the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, which took place on April 16, 1746. According to folklore, war cries ring out, along with the sound of clashing swords.

The Herald: Culloden. Picture: Steve Cox/NewsquestCulloden. Picture: Steve Cox/Newsquest

Visitors to the moor claim to have witnessed ghostly figures near the graves of fallen Jacobites. One account describes a battle-ravaged warrior lying injured on the ground, while others speak of seeing corpses shrouded by tartan cloths. Even today, some say that the birds don't sing at Culloden.


Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire

Said to roam Fyvie Castle is the so-called Green Lady, believed to be Lilias Drummond, who died here in 1601. Lilias was imprisoned as punishment for failing to produce a male heir for her husband, Alexander Seton, Lord Fyvie. It is thought she perished from either poisoning or starvation.

Staff and visitors to the 800-year-old fortress have reported feeling a temperature drop accompanied by an inexplicable smell of rose perfume that some reckon indicates the presence of Lilias.

Another legend is that of the Weeping Stones of Fyvie. When Thomas the Rhymer, a 13th-century seer, was denied shelter on a stormy night, he laid a curse on the male bloodline of the laird.

The Herald: The grounds of Fyvie Castle in the autumn. Picture: National Trust for ScotlandThe grounds of Fyvie Castle in the autumn. Picture: National Trust for Scotland

It was decreed that this hex wouldn't be lifted until three stones used in the construction of the castle were returned to the church lands they were taken from. The stones are said to remain wet when everything around them is dry, hence their description as weeping.

As if one curse wasn't bad enough, Fyvie Castle is also said to contain a secret chamber that, if opened, will unleash blindness and death.


The House of the Binns, near Linlithgow, West Lothian

The seat of the Dalyell family, this historic house dates from the early 17th century and was the home of former Labour MP Tam Dalyell until his death in 2017.

This particular hair-raising tale relates to his ancestor and namesake, General Sir Thomas Dalyell of The Binns, who died in 1685. Known as "Bluidy Tam" for his torture and imprisonment of Covenanters, his ghost is said to be spotted on a white horse galloping through the grounds.

The Herald: A portrait of General Sir Thomas Dalyell of The Binns. Picture: National Trust for ScotlandA portrait of General Sir Thomas Dalyell of The Binns. Picture: National Trust for Scotland

The story goes that the General liked to play cards with the devil. On one occasion Tam cheated to win and, in a fury, the devil threw a marble table at him. It missed and landed outside in the Sergeant's Pond.

Almost 200 years later, during a summer drought in 1878, the water in the pond receded sufficiently to reveal an intricately carved marble table.

The table was restored to its rightful place inside the house. But, if you look closely, there is said to be a distinctive semi-circular stain in one corner, believed by some to be the mark of the devil – a satanic hoof mark seared into the marble.


The Tay Bridge, Dundee

The Tay Bridge disaster took place on December 28, 1879, when a winter storm caused the structure's central spans to collapse. A six-carriage train that was crossing plunged into the icy depths of the River Tay. All 75 passengers lost their lives.

Afterwards, a new bridge was built parallel to the former site. Some believe that, on the anniversary, a ghost train can be seen crossing the river where the old stretch once stood.

Culzean Castle, Ayrshire

The skirl of phantom bagpipes is said to be heard at Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast. Legend has it that a piper was exploring the caves beneath the castle when he disappeared. His ghost is often sighted in the grounds at Piper's Brae and by the ruined church.

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Other apparitions – Culzean is said to have at least seven ghosts – include a young woman wearing a ballgown and the anguished wailing of Commendator of Crossraguel Abbey, Allan Stewart, who was roasted on a spit after being intercepted at the castle during a 16th-century land row.


Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

It is famously known for a loyal Skye Terrier called Bobby who spent 14 years guarding his master's grave, but some say that darker forces loiter in this tucked away Edinburgh graveyard.

The Herald: Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh is reputed to be haunted. Picture: Gordon Terris/The HeraldGreyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh is reputed to be haunted. Picture: Gordon Terris/The Herald

Eyewitness accounts report that a violent entity, the so-called Mackenzie Poltergeist, is said to be responsible for scratches, burns, bite marks and people taking ill suddenly or fainting. The malevolent activity is said to centre around a tomb known as the "Black Mausoleum".

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Kelvin Hall, Glasgow

The old Glasgow Museum of Transport, which was housed in the Kelvin Hall, attracted the attention of ghosthunters who believed it was a hotbed of paranormal activity.

Security guards reported hearing children laughing and screaming after hours. Strange balls of light were said to manifest on a cobbled street inside the museum, with the same stretch echoing with running footsteps or the dragging sound of someone walking with a bad limp.

The Herald: A young boy in the former Museum of Transport at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. Picture: NewsquestA young boy in the former Museum of Transport at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. Picture: Newsquest

A headless figure has been spotted on numerous occasions and many people attest to having felt a tap on the shoulder, only to turn around and find no one there.

Ben Macdui, Cairngorms

The highest in the Cairngorms and Britain's second-tallest mountain – just pipped by Ben Nevis – is said to be home to Am Fear Liath Mor, aka the "Grey Man of Ben Macdui".

The general consensus is that of a Yeti-like beast – tall and hairy. Many climbers on the 4,295ft peak, including the renowned mountaineer J Norman Collie, have reported hearing unexplained footsteps crunching in the snow behind them, with who – or what – it is hidden stealthily in the mist.

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Others have said they encountered the Grey Man when alone at the summit. Scientists believe that these encounters are likely hallucinations or optical illusions. We'll let you make up your own mind.

  • Pick up a copy of tomorrow's Herald on Sunday for 10 more spooky spots and ghostly tales around Scotland