Recording Scotland’s haunted properties

It’s Halloween – the perfect time for a ghost story. At RoS, with thousands of properties and centuries of history on our registers, we have more than a few to share – read on for some spooky stories to get you in the Halloween spirit (pun intended).

Edinburgh Castle

With almost a thousand years of history behind its walls, it’s unsurprising that Edinburgh Castle makes this list. It’s played an important role in the history of RoS, housing the very first inventory and register of land in the 13th century, but through the years Edinburgh Castle has also acted as a prison, barracks and military stronghold. Much paranormal activity has been reported there, but one of the most famous and endearing is the headless drummer, who was allegedly first seen in 1650. Ominously, the drummer is known as an ill omen, as he would be seen the night before an attack was to be carried out on the Castle. It’s been many years since the last assault on Edinburgh Castle, which may explain the lack of recent sightings, but the sounds of eerie drumming have still been heard from the ramparts above Scotland’s capital.

Crathes Castle

We featured Crathes Castle in our On Our Registers series. But there’s another side to the story of Crathes. It’s said to be haunted by the spirit of the Green Lady. According to local lore, the apparition is always seen in the same room of the castle, pacing back and forth. She isn’t always alone either; she’s also been seen with a small child in her arms.

The exact identity of the Green Lady remains lost to history, but some believe she was a servant girl who gave birth out of wedlock and fled from the castle, never to be seen again. Even more spookily, during routine restoration work at the castle, the bodies of a young girl and child were found underneath a fireplace. Could this be the Green Lady and her lost child?

Crathes Castle itself has been on our registers for several hundred years; its search sheet covers everything from the building itself to a family burial ground, and it’s also registered by the National Trust for Scotland as a place of historic interest or natural beauty.

Stirling Castle

Like many historic locations in Scotland, Stirling Castle can be found on our map-based land register, which ensures the property details of this important fortress are preserved for centuries to come.

Stirling Castle features its own Green Lady, who was said to have died trying to save her master from a fire. Another ghostly figure has been attributed to Mary Queen of Scots, one of the most famous figures in Scottish history. Then there’s ‘the Highland Ghost’. Many tourists have reported seeing this kilted man and mistaken him for a tour guide, only for the figure to disappear when approached. No one knows who the Highlander is or why he haunts the castle grounds, and he was even reportedly caught on film in 1933, but he adds another spooky side to one of Scotland’s classic castles.


Referenced everywhere from history books to Outlander, the Battle of Culloden is one of Scotland’s most famous historic moments. Fought in 1746, it marked the end of the final Jacobite Rising, and was also the last pitched battle to be waged on British soil.

The battlefield, located just outside of Inverness, is now a popular visitor attraction owned by the National Trust for Scotland, and can be found on the sasine register. Culloden’s violent past, however, may not be completely consigned to history. Culloden Moor, and the graves of the soldiers found there, are said to be visited by ghostly figures, accompanied by the clanging of swords and shouts of anguished war cries.

Visit our friends at VisitScotland for more details on frightening festivals and ghoulish ghost tours this Halloween.

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3 thoughts on “Recording Scotland’s haunted properties

  1. Your Stirling Castle reference to ” Mary Queen of Scotland ” should read ” Mary Queen of Scots ” as there is a distinction to be made from the sovereignty perspective.

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