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Spooky stories

A photo of Fyvie Castle at night. A full moon rises behind the towers. At the top of the castle, one room is lit red. A ghostly figure can be seen standing at the window.
Staff from across the Trust tell us about eerie encounters with ghosts at their properties.

Bill Rogers

Guide, Culzean Castle

A close-up photo of a man dressed up for Halloween. He wears a dark dinner suit with a black bow tie. His face is whitened, with dark circles around his eyes and mouth. Blood drips down the side of his head.

A young family stepped into the room that I was monitoring. The mother cautiously asked if the previous room, the Blue Drawing Room, was haunted. I asked why, and she said ‘you’d better speak to my husband!’ He looked quite shaken, and told me he’d been helping their two children look for Lego figures hidden in the castle when he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye. He saw a writing desk with two inkwells and observed one of the lids slowly closing as the other was slowly rising, with no-one apart from his family in the room. He resolutely refused to return to the room to show me what had happened!

On another occasion, at the end of a general tour that I led, a young lady in her mid-20s reported that ‘someone’ had gently pushed her forward. I asked for a description, and where it had happened. She then gave a statement to the head guide and another witness that when she turned around there was no-one else in the room, the State Bedroom. This is widely known as the most haunted room at Culzean, where the ghost of the 9th Earl, Thomas Kennedy, makes himself known. The room also featured in the paranormal reality television series Most Haunted.

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Mary Brown

Retail Assistant, Crathes Castle

A smiling woman wearing dark-framed glasses and a navy cardigan stands in the shop at Crathes Castle. Behind here, green mist appears to be swirling in front of the counter.

One of the most frequent questions visitors to Crathes ask is: ‘Have you seen the Green Lady?’ As many know, she is said to haunt a room in the castle where bones of a woman and child were found under the hearthstone centuries ago. Since the bones were removed, the apparition of a greenish figure carrying a baby floats across the room and disappears into the fireplace. Many have reported encountering this ghost, or experiencing strange sensations of being touched by someone – or something – in the Green Lady’s Room, which can become freezing cold for no apparent reason.

Recently, we had a visit from a rather bossy lady who had been a scientist in her previous career. She informed me, dismissively, that ghosts were either the product of indigestion or an overactive imagination. I thought this a bit presumptuous, but held my tongue. Later, during her tour, she told me she had felt a draught ruffle her hair inside the Green Lady’s Room, and began to feel very, very cold. At the same time, she noticed a sort of swirling mist developing in the room, directly behind her. As she rubbed her eyes, thinking it was a trick of the light, the mist began to form itself into a hooded figure – which was a pale green! Feeling very frightened, she hurried out of the room. She was honest enough to admit that her experience had shaken her scientific attitude to ghostly phenomena – she had no rational explanation for her experience. Oddly enough, she never booked another tour of the castle.

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Fiona Morrison

Guide, Culross Palace

A smiling young woman wearing a long white dress stands in a room in front of an old stone wall. Vases and jugs of flowers are arranged in front of her. Beside her is a ghostly white shape.

Last August, before the Palace opened to the public, I entered the strong room of George Bruce, who was the original owner of Culross Palace. As I went into the room, I noticed the feathers on the quill pens on the desk were all moving in different directions. Assuming this was due to a draught, I put my hand to the window ... but there was no draught. I left the room and went back in twice but there was no further movement of the feathers. Was George communicating to me? As a ghost sceptic, I don’t know what happened that morning but I can’t explain why the feathers moved!

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Karen Craik

Visitor Services Assistant, House of Dun

A young woman wearing a navy jacket stands in front of a long red curtain in a grand room. Behind her, the white ghostly shape of a small child appears to skip across the rug.

The last task for the day was to make the final checks in the house. As I made my way upstairs to the Red Bedroom, there was an eerie stillness in the air. I quickly closed the shutters and hurried from the room. From the silence, there was a gasping cough. Hurriedly, I descended the servants’ steps when I noticed the door of the abandoned Tapestry Room was open. Peering into the darkness, I could see the shadowy shapes of the furniture. As I reached for the door handle, a dark figure darted across the room. My heart was pounding as I closed the door and ran down the stairs ... certain it must have been my imagination!

The next morning on my first tour, I noticed one of the children in the group had wandered off. Initially worried, we found him leaving the Tapestry Room. He claimed a girl in a long dress had led him to the room and told him ‘it was always dark where she is’ and ‘she likes to leave the door open’. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end – I knew there was no one else in the house. Could this be the daughter that had fallen fatally ill over 100 years ago, in what is now the Tapestry Room? From now on, I’ll always make sure to leave the Tapestry Room door ajar!

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