It is estimated that there were once up to 3,000 castles in Scotland, that's about one for every 100 square miles and even today they are a familiar part of the Scottish landscape. With a grim history of war, murder and execution, it's no surprise that many of Scotland's castles have well known ghost stories associated to them.
Below are the ten castles in Scotland that are best known for their paranormal history and ghostly sightings.
10. Fyvie Castle, Turriff
The 13th century castle is said to be plagued by an evil curse, as well as plenty of paranormal activity. The first reported ghost sighting in the castle was in 1601 and was said to be that of Dame Lilias Drummond, the Green Lady.
The castle's legendary curse dates back to a visit by the famous Scottish prophet, Thomas the Rhymer. He was approaching the castle on a dark and stormy night. As he got near, the castle door slammed closed in his face due to the wind. As a result of this he refused to enter the building and cursed it by placing three weeping stones within the grounds. He said until the three weeping stones were found, no eldest son would earn the right as the heir of the castle.
Two of the stones were never found, however one weeping stone that was found is kept in the Charter room in the castle. All that is left of the stone today is its crumbled remains, nothing more than a pile of dust.
9. Borthwick Castle, Edinburgh
Located south-east of Edinburgh, Borthwick Castle is one of the largest and best-preserved surviving medieval Scottish fortifications. The castle is said to be home to several ghostly residents and the paranormal activity their includes unexplained noises, disembodied voices, a general feeling of unease and even full apparitions.
There have been so many reports of ghostly goings on in the castle, that its owners have had to call in a local priest to exorcise it. The castle's most famous ghost is that of a servant girl who had an illegitimate son with one of the Borthwick family. Both the mother and the baby were murdered to stop disgrace falling on the Borthwick family line.
There's also said to be the ghost of the estate's chancellor, who was burnt to death after the family learnt he had been stealing their money.
8. Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven
Situated near Stonehaven, this 14th century coastal castle is said to be home to several frequently sighted ghosts. The most common of which is the spirit of a young girl wearing a plaid dress spotted in the brewery. The guardroom is said to be haunted by a Nordic-looking man, who paces around the room.
7. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
The Scottish capital is said to be one of the most haunted cities in the world, and the castle which overlooks it also has its fair share of spooks, many tourists have reported plenty of paranormal activity over the years.
There are several ghosts who are said to haunt this historic fortress, the most commonly sighted are an old man in apron, a piper who mysteriously lost his life after getting lost in the tunnels below the castle and a headless drummer boy.
6. Inveraray Castle, Inveraray
Situated on the shore of Loch Fyne, the castle looks like something out of a fairytale but hides a grim past and a whole host of ghostly residents. The most notable is the ghost of an Irish harpist who was murdered by the Duke of Montrose's men in the 17th century. His ghost is most frequently reported by guests in the MacArthur room.
The castle also has a ghost known as the Grey Lady, who was witnessed by former residents of the castle, the Duke of Argyll's daughters. There's also a spirit, known as the Galley of Lorne, which is said to be seen drifting away from the castle when a duke dies.
5. Crathes Castle, Banchory
Crathes Castle was built in the 16th century and was home to the Burnett family. The castle's most famous ghost is the Green Lady, who is seen wearing a green robe and cradling a baby in her arms. She's been spotted near a fireplace in a room which is now known as the Green Lady's room. Eerily, during building works in the 1800s skeletal remains of a child were found behind the same fireplace.
The castle's tower is said to be haunted by the White Lady, she is said to be Bertha, a lover of Alexander Burnett. It's thought that she was poisoned by Alexander's mother for being unworthy of her son's hand-in-marriage. Visitors have also reported ghostly figures seen walking around the castle and its grounds, which coincide with sudden and extreme drops in temperature.
Advertisement ‐ Content Continues Below.
4. Balgonie Castle, Glenrothes
An hour from Edinburugh, in Glenrothes, Fife, is the 700 year old former stronghold. It's survived attacks, experienced brutal murders and is now a family home, but an intimidating spirit is said to endanger its inhabitants.
The castle's owners Stuart and Kelly Morris have experienced ghostly activity including disembodied voices, the apparition of a young boy in the courtyard, people feel like they're being watched, dark shadow figures are seen and eerily, a head has also been spotted floating throughout the castle.
Kelly has one experience that felt like someone was touching and breathing on her. She felt this was an evil presence, it got so bad that Kelly has even considered moving out. It's thought that the evil presence is the malevolent spirit of a priest.
There's also the ghost of grey lady known as Green Jeanie, the owners have seen her walk past one window and look out of another. Her apparition has been reported as long back as 1842 and she's been seen throughout the castle, in the courtyard and in the land surrounding the castle. She's believed to be the daughter of the second family who owned the castle, the Lundys.
3. Culzean Castle, Maybole
This South Ayrshire castle was built in the 18th century, but a fortification has stood on the land since 1165. With such longstanding history, it's no surprise that Culzean Castle has topped out list of the most haunted castles in Scotland, especially as it is said to be home to no less than seven individual ghosts.
There is a network of tunnels which run underneath the castle that were once used by smugglers, in more recent years the ghostly sound of pipe music has been heard coming from within the tunnels. There's also been reports of the sound of guests partying loudly in various parts of the castle, but when staff investigate they find the room empty.
The castle is also said to be haunted by the spirit of a woman, believed to be a former servant, seen in the upper rooms, and the apparition of an old man seen wearing period clothing sitting in the Earl's bedroom.
2. Birkwood Castle, Lesmahagow
Birkwood Castle is 17th Century Neo-Gothic castle near Lesmahagow in South Lanarkshire. The castle was built in 1860 for McKirdy family but was handed over to the local council in 1923 when it became a psychiatric hospital for children. It continued to be used until 2005 when it was abandoned and fell into disrepair.
Birkwood Castle is said to be haunted by the ghosts of its former patients. When the hospital was operational, visitors and staff reported plenty of paranormal activity including the sound of disembodied footsteps and electrical disturbances.
Ever since, reports of ghostly goings on have come in thick and fast, including reports of a cigar-smoking spirit whose smoke can be smelt around the castle. There's also said to be a ghost of a young boy called Michael who has been seen on a spiral staircase in the building where he is believed to have fallen to his death.
People have also reported hearing the eerie sound of a woman crying and singing from empty rooms throughout the building. The ghost of a man who was murder by being stabbed through the throat has also been spotted in the castle.
A few years later in 2015, one of the castle's exterior walls collapsed. Many blame the amount of ghostly activity at the building for the collapse, which was so loud that people in the local area reported hearing an explosion.
1. Glamis Castle, Glamis
Glamis Castle is situated in the village of Glamis, Angus and is the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the Bowes-Lyons family. The category A listed building is said to be haunted by many ghosts, including the ghost of the woman with no tongue who's been seen walking around the grounds.
There's also said to be a Grey Lady, thought to be the ghost of a former resident who was burned at the stake for being a witch in 1537. The spirit of a young boy has also been spotted sitting on the stone seat by the door of the Queen's room, he's believed to be a former servant at the castle.
The 4th Earl of Crawford, Alexander Lindsay, is also said to haunt the castle. He was said to be cruel man in life, but since passing has been sighted as a dark figure standing over beds in the dead of night.