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Ghosts of the Trust

A white image of a headless horseman carrying a pumpkin in one hand is superimposed onto a dark photo of the House of Dun. A large full moon has been added to the sky.
The Headless Horseman of Dun
With so many ancient buildings in our care, it’s no surprise that some are filled with spine-chilling tales of witchcraft and the supernatural, ghosts and ghouls, torture and murder most foul. Here are 10 haunted properties that are home to a few ghosts ...

1. The Green Lady – Crathes Castle

A photo of Crathes Castle taken at night. Superimposed is a white illustration of the ghost of a young woman, lifting her arms towards the full moon.
The Green Lady of Crathes Castle

The Green Lady’s Room at Crathes is named after the spirit of a young woman who has often been seen by the fireplace wearing a green dress and cradling an infant in her arms. When the castle was renovated in the 1800s, the bones of a child – presumed murdered – were discovered under the hearthstone of the fireplace.

Queen Victoria is counted among those who have witnessed her at the castle, but the true identity of the Green Lady remains shrouded in mystery.

2. The Laird’s Piper – Culzean Castle

A white illustration of a ghost piper, dressed in ceremonial hat and tartan sash, is superimposed on a dark photo of the beach at Culzean. The castle can just be seen on top of the cliffs in the background. Lightning forks flash from the sky.
The Laird’s Piper of Culzean Castle

For many years, it was thought that spirits lived in the caves below Culzean Castle. One day, the Laird’s piper was sent into the caves to prove to local residents that they weren’t haunted. As he marched inside, the howling of the pipes could even be heard from the castle, high above the cliffs. Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, the piping stopped. He didn’t emerge from the cave that night, and he was never seen again.

Every so often, the sound of pipes can be heard emanating from the caves below the castle and a lone figure can be seen standing on Piper’s Brae.

3. ​Little Alexander – Drum Castle

A white illustration of a young boy running away from the camera is superimposed on a dark photo of Drum Castle. The ghost looks as if he is running into the courtyard. Lightning flashes in the sky.
Little Alexander of Drum Castle

Drum Castle is home to several ghosts, and is a hotspot of supernatural activities. Perhaps the most frequent sighting is of young Alexander Irvine, son of the 20th Laird of Drum, who died aged just six in 1865.

Over the years, many people have reported seeing the ghost of Little Alexander, and hearing his haunting laughter throughout the castle. It’s thought that he returns there to play with his brothers and sisters.

4. The Grey Lady – Falkland Palace

A ghostly illustration of a woman wearing a long, elegant dress is superimposed on a sepia-toned photo of the Tapestry Corridor at Falkland Palace. Tapestries line the wall on the right; dark wooden bookcases line the wall on the left.
The Grey Lady of Falkland Palace

Similar to Drum Castle, Falkland Palace has been visited by a number of ghosts over the years. The Tapestry Gallery in the palace is frequented by the ghost of the Grey Lady. She has been seen pacing and down, anxiously awaiting the return of her lover – a soldier who bade her farewell, then rode off to battle and never returned.

Will they ever be reunited, or is she doomed to wander the castle forever, waiting?

5. Lilias Drummond – Fyvie Castle

A white, ghostly illustration of a young woman wearing a long beautiful dress is superimposed on a dark photo of Fyvie Castle. A full moon rises behind the towers. The ghost appears to be hovering above the lawn.
The ghost of Lilias Drummond at Fyvie Castle

Tales of murder and betrayal cast a spine-chilling shadow over this 800-year-old Scottish Baronial fortress. When the room temperature drops suddenly and the air fills with the scent of roses, it’s said that you are in the presence of the ghost of Lilias Drummond.

Legend tells that Lilias was starved to death by her husband, Alexander Seton, for failing to provide a son and heir. On the night of his second marriage, her ghostly laments were heard outside the marital bedchamber – in the morning, and still visible today, her name was found freshly scratched into the castle walls.

6. Sir Tam Dalyell – House of the Binns

A white illustration of a man riding a horse is superimposed on a dark photo of House of the Binns. A full moon rises over the woodland on the hill beside the house. The horse is making its way, head down, across the lawn in front of the house.
The ghost of ‘Bluidy Tam’ at House of the Binns

During the 1600s, the House of the Binns was occupied by General Sir Tam Dalyell, who earned the nickname ‘Bluidy Tam’ thanks to his feared reputation of violent suppression. Evidence of his dealings with the Devil can still be seen at the house today.

It was after Dalyell’s death in 1685 that the legends surrounding ‘Bluidy Tam’ really began to develop. They include accounts of the General’s cavalry boots marching round the house on their own at night, and of a ghostly Dalyell on a white stallion galloping across the grounds.

7. The 12-year-old girl – Greenbank Garden

A white illustration of a young, skipping girl is superimposed on a green-tinged photo of a woodland path.
The ghost of a young girl at Greenbank Garden

The wonderful, idyllic oasis of Greenbank Garden hides a disturbing secret – it’s home to the spectre of a young girl who was tragically killed in the courtyard in the early 20th century.

Despite her gruesome fate, she still enjoys coming back to Greenbank to play, and can be seen skipping throughout the walled garden and beside the burn.

8. The Fiddler – Craigievar Castle

A white illustration of a man playing a fiddle is superimposed on a dark photo of Craigievar Castle. Lightning flashes in the sky around the towers.
The ghost of a fiddler at Craigievar Castle

Behind the enchanting façade of this pretty pink castle lies a dark history, filled with ancient clan feuds and murder most foul. Despite this, the most frequently sighted spirit of Craigievar is a simple musician – the castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a fiddler, who fell into the castle well and drowned many years ago.

If you hear the eerie strings of the violin coming from inside the castle walls, you know who it is!

9. Lizzie Robertson – Moirlanich Longhouse

A white, semi-transparent illustration of a woman, holding a mixing bowl under her arm, is superimposed on a dark photo of Moirlanich Longhouse. Lightning flashes in the sky above.
The ghost of Lizzie Robertson at Moirlanich Longhouse

Lizzie Robertson lived at Moirlanich Longhouse for many years in the late 18th and early 19th century. She would often sit on the stool by the fire, stirring the cooking pot and baking scones on the girdle.

Although she died in 1940, she still likes to visit her old home now and again. She’s often spotted wearing a white apron, sitting on her favourite stool by the fire, or in the kitchen busily mixing something in a bowl.

10. The Headless Horseman – House of Dun

A white image of a headless horseman carrying a pumpkin in one hand is superimposed onto a dark photo of the House of Dun. A large full moon has been added to the sky.
The Headless Horseman of House of Dun

This stunning Georgian mansion and its surrounding estate hold many a dark secret, including tales of murder. However, the most frightening tale is that of the Headless Horseman, who roams the lanes of Dun at night, seeking retribution on unwary travellers.

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