A place for autumn
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Celebrate autumn with the Trust > Ghosts linked to our properties
Canna, Inner Hebrides click to view
"According to residents, there are many ghost stories associated with the island. The ghost of a woman has been seen wandering in the field below A'Chill. Keil was the old monastic settlement on Canna and there is a local tradition at the time of the clearances that some of those who refused to leave were herded into the old ruined church and burned alive. Whether this is a ghost from that time, it's not known. A resident once told me that her dog when out walking refuses to walk near the old settlement.

"A man working here on the island, on returning one night from the Telephone Box, was given a fright when something came over him from behind and caused him to be startled so much that he fled along the road. He refused to walk out at night after this. This happened close to the field where the woman's ghost has been seen.

"We have an old ruined croft on Sanday that was once inhabited by the last person to be physically born at Tarbet on Canna. The house was cleared of residents and fell into ruin. Early one evening, a local resident was amongst the ruins with his dog when the dog took fright with all its hackles up and started barking at the wall of the ruined house. Nothing was seen but the dog would not go near the ruins again."

[Stewart Connor, Property Manager, Isle of Canna]

Culross Palace, Culross, Fife click to view
"In 1997 when I was Head Gardener at Culross Palace I had a rather strange experience. A man dressed in 16th century clothing walked from the main door of the North Block of the palace into my Bothy. I assumed it was a member of staff or a volunteer who had donned historical clothing - something we did quite often at that time - but when I got to the Bothy there was no one there and no one had been dressed up that day.

"It was an upper class gentleman, and it was a bright sunny day at about 11am. I have no explanation for it. He was wearing baggy trousers, long socks, tunic, waistcoat and hat. It may have been George Bruce himself. I saw him as plain as day and went to see what he wanted."

[Nick Hoskins, former Head Gardener at Culross Palace]

Culzean Castle near Maybole, Ayrshire click to view
"Housekeeping staff over the last few years have had a few experiences of the ghosts of Culzean. On two separate occasions, unknown to each other, two of the cleaners felt someone touching their shoulder and, on turning around, they found no one there. This happened at the top of the Oval Staircase. Another cleaner had her apron tugged from behind while she was working on the top floor of the castle. Again when she turned round she found no one there.

"A cleaner also saw a female on the first floor gallery of the Oval Staircase. She described it to me as a lady with a long dress and it looked as if she was floating around the gallery. This spirit looked like a very hazy grey mass".

[Gordon Nelson, Collections Care Officer, Culzean Castle]

Drum Castle Banchory, Aberdeenshire click to view
"I have worked at Drum for three seasons at as a Duty Manager, as well as a Guide. During that time I have sensed a number of things in the castle and have spoken to many people who have had unusual experiences.

"A number of staff and volunteers have seen a figure which we believe may be Anna Forbes, wife of the 20th Laird. The figure looks very similar to her portrait, but is wearing a different dress. Anna's first son, Alexander, died in 1856 when he was six years old. On the anniversary of his death, people have heard the sound of children laughing, when there have been no children in the property on that day. The Property Manager also reported that their dog was very agitated on that date.

"I have only been scared once whilst in the castle. I was in the office on my own, finishing up for the day when I heard footsteps coming down corridor. The floor is stone and the footsteps were very distinctive. It was as if a heavy male figure was pacing up and down - they would reach a certain point in the corridor and then turn back. It was really quite unnerving. I locked up quickly and left.

"I have also experienced inexplicable smells in the castle including perfume and a foul, putrid smell.

"The other experience I've had was in an upstairs room called the Chintz Bedroom. We believe it was where one of the Lairds' wives had been imprisoned for a time. It is a very cold room. One of the chairs in the room has a throw on it. There have been several times when I have smoothed out the throw, locked the room and come in the next morning to find the throw crumpled as if the chair has been sat in. Also, items on the dressing table will have been moved.

One of the guides and I set a trap one evening. We smoothed the throw and arranged the items on the dressing table in their usual way. In the morning the items were a right angle to how we left them.

[Naomi Mandel, Duty Manager and Guide, Drum Castle]

Falkland Palace, Cupar, Fife click to view
"I am a great believer that old houses have "energy residues" or ghost. I have had two experiences at the palace. One day I was coming up the drive at dusk after a bike ride when I saw a thick, very real shadow moving on the East Range. I'm told a ghost called the "Grey Lady" walks in that area.

"The other experience was different... I was looking around a bedroom in Lord Bute's flat, a lovely one, with fantastic ceiling decorations. I was there with a companion and we felt very "unwanted" in the room, as if we were intruders. We had a very bad feeling, like some energy was surrounding us, it was not nice, we knew we had to get out of there."

[Sonia Ferras Mana, Head Gardener, Falkland Palace]

Fyvie Castle, Turriff, Aberdeenshire click to view
"I used to live in the Butler's Apartment on the Tearoom side of the Castle. I had a little dog at the time, Skye, the Shih Tzu. I had the job of locking up the public areas of the castle and Skye would pootle about following me doing "the rounds". One evening I was doing the usual "blinds, shutters, doors" routine and Skye was sniffing about in the Exhibition Room. As I finished closing up a room and was coming out onto the corridor, Skye shot past the doorway at high speed. He looked like a cat with his fur all fluffed up and was definitely - judging by the growling - not a happy dog.

I shut the door quickly and got a whiff of old rose scent on the air and a blast of cold air on my left hand side which came from the direction of the Exhibition Room. Skye was snarling and snapping and there was obviously something behind me, so I took the woosie ghost hunters option of walking very quickly down the corridor - forgetting all the other blinds, doors etc. - got to the end, turned around, saw a flash of white then shut the door. Skye immediately changed his demeanor returning to general pootling into the Gallery. I did go back, without him, and shut the rest of the blinds, shutters and doors - but this was following a stiff gin! I also kept all the lights on and took a very big torch!

"The other experience was quite pleasant and involves master sleuth Skye also. One lovely, calm summer's evening, when we were walking on the graveled area in front of the Main Entrance, I was taken with how loud and echo-ey the sound of my footsteps were crunching on the gravel. I didn't think much of it but as we circled the castle, I noted that the crunching, military rhythmical footsteps had also followed, and they continued to do so until we'd past the Yett, at which point they veered off behind us to the left.

During the evenings, working in the office, knowing you were on your own in the building, you would often hear footsteps in the corridors.

[Sally Eastgate, former Property Manager at Fyvie]

Greenbank Garden, Glasgow click to view
"We have four ghosts that we know of! In Greenbank House Dining Room there is a lady in a red crinoline dress. We have had three independent reports of this lady from people who were visitors to the house before we took it over - one of whom visited on an Open Doors Day with a friend. Her friend went through the house, but this visitor refused to come back inside.

"A regular visitor who took her daily constitutional around the woodland saw regularly a large black dog on the stone bridge which disappeared as soon as she got closer. One day she was walking with her husband and she saw the dog again however he could not and after a discussion between them she was very spooked and had to be calmed in the tearoom where her tea was more in the saucer and over the table than in her cup! "Again in the woodland area, one of our volunteers has seen a young girl skipping along by the burn. The girl, who is dressed in the fashion of the early 20th century, disappears behind some bushes. We know at about that time a young girl was killed under the wheels of a cart in the courtyard.

"This story also links to a sighting by our First Gardener, Graham Duncan, who stays in the Lodge House here. Graham came down stairs one morning and a young girl of much the same description walked in through the front door and along the passage to the kitchen - she must have been following an older route that existed through the house as she actually disappeared into the bottom of the stairs. Luckily he is a level headed chap and I have not been looking for a new First Gardener."

[David Ferguson, Property Manager, Greenbank Garden]

Haddo House, Ellon, Aberdeenshire click to view
"Every morning we would find cocktail sticks on the rugs at the back of the desk and also in front of the right hand fireplace in the Library above the North Wing.

"Often when working in the Office you'd hear footsteps above you - pacing in the Library.

"The previous managers have also reported a known ghost, "Archie", in his Plus Fours at the foot of their beds. Archie is thought to be the ghost of Lord Archibald Gordon who died in 1909 - one of the first people in Britain to be killed in a car accident.

"When locking up in the North Wing, you had to set the alarms in the Office, lock the door and leg it fairly quickly down the corridor to the front door to escape before the alarms when off. One particular evening, I'd locked the office door and started heading down the corridor... then all I remember is feeling cold and being shaken awake by the Gardener who'd been summoned by the alarms. Something had stopped me mid tracks. Apparently I'm not the first person who's experienced this.

A past story from Haddo is that a few years ago, the attics were being cleared out and tidied up. Following this activity a baby was heard crying and the sound was tracked to the attics. Apparently a medium was called in and it was ascertained that a spirit of a service girl with her baby was "trapped" and provided all the items were restored in its previous place all would be calm.

[Sally Eastgate, former Property Manager at Haddo House]

Hill House, Helensburgh, Argyll click to view
"The housekeeper and the previous manager of The Hill House have both experienced strange "goings-on" here. Our Housekeeper, Elaine has been at The Hill House for a long time and told me that when the house was closed over the winter a couple of years ago, she was alone in the building and walking towards the stairs on the upper landing, when a tall slender figure appeared from Mr Blackie's Dressing Room. He was dressed in black with a long black cape. The cape was covering part of his face and head. He went in to the White Bedroom and vanished.

Elaine said that it was not a frightening experience at all. Elaine has also smelt pipe smoke in the Library on many occasions. This is where Mr Blackie used to smoke his pipe."

[Karen Fenwick, Retail Manager]

Moirlanich Longhouse, near Killin, Stirling click to view
"I have "seen" a previous resident, Lizzie Robertson, twice whilst on duty at Moirlanich. The first time - I was alone in the house and standing in the kitchen looking out of the back window when I was aware that there was someone behind me. When I turned around there was Lizzie (as in the painting) sitting at the table next to the front window, wearing a white apron and mixing something in a bowl. It was a fleeting glimpse and then she was gone.

"The second time - again I was alone in the house and standing looking at the hanging lum when I was aware that someone was behind me, having entered the room from the Byre. I turned around and there was Lizzie, in her white apron, carrying a bowl. Just a fleeting glimpse again and then she was gone.

The third time at Moirlanich - I was once again in the house alone, in the kitchen and heard the sound of someone walking on the path at the back of the house. There were no visitors around at that time at all. Only me in the house and the other volunteer in the hut! Not prone to this kind of thing."

[Gillean Ford, Volunteer]

Weaver's Cottage, Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire click to view
"A well known psychic visited the cottage in 2006. Among other things, he talked of a woman who was present around the loom. He described the woman and mimicked her actions, which were those a weaver would perform when setting up the loom (the bits visitors don't see very often). He described specific postures, with the resulting aches of years of workings at the loom. He is very unlikely to have seen these actions anywhere else, as they are so rare.

"He asked if things went missing in the loomshop, which they do all the time - until then we'd always blamed each other for moving items. Apparently this is the spirit letting herself be known.

"Another visitor commented upon spirits around me as I weave (the tartan loom is made of wood and is more than 200 years old).

"And then there's the human skull that was uncovered in the garden during the dig by our archaeologist, Derek Alexander in 2002....male, around 500 years old...another mystery!"

"If there are any ghosts or spirits however, I think that they're quite happy with how we look after the place!"

[Christine Macleod, Property Manager, Weaver's Cottage]