Scotland, a land of enchanting beauty, is steeped in a rich tapestry of history and lore. Among its most captivating tales are those whispered through the centuries within the ancient stone walls of its castles.

With over a thousand castles dotting the Scottish landscape, each holds a unique narrative of kings, queens, wars, and rebellions. 

From the ghostly piper of Duntrune Castle to the weeping Grey Lady of Edinburgh Castle, these spectral inhabitants reveal a fascinating, albeit chilling, dimension of Scotland’s history. Each castle harbors its own eerie secrets, waiting to be discovered. So, brace yourself as we journey through the chilling tales of the most haunted castles in Scotland.

1. Barcaldine Castle, Oban

Haunted Barcaldine Castle
Barcaldine Castle, Benderloch, Oban PA37 1SA

Located in Oban, Barcaldine Castle is one of the few ancient castles remaining that is open to guests. 

Built in 1609 by Duncan Campbell, the castle is supposedly haunted by the ghost of his brother, Donald. During the infamous Massacre of Glencoe, it’s said that Stewart of Appin murdered Donald using his own sword. Following the killing, Stewart sought shelter from Duncan Campbell, who was oblivious that he had just murdered his brother.

Furious at this injustice, Donald’s spirit is said to cause trouble at Barcaldine to this day. Guests often report strange happenings, especially in the Caithness Room. Those who sleep on the right side of the bed have reported pressure on their back and legs, while others have told of orbs moving around the room.

Stay at Barcaldine Ghosts of Barcaldine Castle

2. Closeburn Castle, Dumfries

Closeburn Castle Ghost Hunt
Closeburn Castle, Closeburn, Thornhill DG3 5HH

Dating back to as early as the 14th century, Closeburn Castle is one of the oldest inhabited tower houses in Scotland. It’s situated in seemingly perfect solitude among 20 acres of Scottish countryside, but beware of the wildlife you encounter…

It’s believed that a chilling death omen developed at Closeburn after Robert Kilpatrick killed a swan cruelly with a crossbow bolt through the breast. Thereafter, the Kilpatricks would occasionally witness the apparition of a swan with a bleeding breast, and within days death or misfortune in the family would occur.

Aside from the sinister swans, witnesses have reported seeing a mysterious lady in black, and dogs have been known to bark nonstop for hours for no clear reason.

Closeburn Castle Ghost hunts

3. Fernie Castle, Fife

Fernie Castle Fife
Fernie Castle, Cupar Road, Letham, Cupar KY15 7RU

Fernie Castle is a charming 14th century tower house and is a popular location for weddings. 

However, it’s believed that the castle is haunted by the victim of a romance gone wrong centuries ago – the mysterious Green Lady. The story goes that a young woman intending to elope with a man her father did not approve of sought refuge at Fernie. Hiding in a small room at the top of the tower, she was found by her father – a struggle ensued, and the lady fell to her death.

Guests have reported seeing the spectre of a dejected woman in a green dress, and it’s said she makes her presence known at the castle by playing with the lights and electrical appliances. Perhaps if you visit Fernie you’ll find out for certain – did she fall or was she pushed?

4. Blackness Castle, West Lothian

Blackness Castle
Blackness Castle, Blackness, Linlithgow EH49 7NH

Known as the ship that never sailed, Blackness Castle sits on the waters of the Firth of Forth and is known as one of Scotland’s most formidable strongholds.

Utilised over the centuries as both a prison and a military fortress, it’s likely that thousands of Covenanters died gruesome deaths here at the hands of crown forces during the so-called ‘Killing Time’ of the 17th century.

Visitors to the castle have reported thumping noises followed by sounds of dragging along the ceiling, while you should be wary of the seemingly stationary suits of armour… Legend says that a phantom knight is known to jump out from the armour and even chase guests out of the castle.

5. Duntrune Castle, Argyll

Duntrune Castle
Duntrune Castle, Kilmartin, Lochgilphead PA31 8QQ

If you visit the picturesque Duntrune Castle, don’t be surprised to hear the ghostly sound of pipe music.

Legend goes that when the legendary MacDonald warrior Colkitto captured the castle from the Campbell clan, he left a team of warriors and his piper to defend it. When the Campbells launched a counterattack and retook the castle, they spared only the piper so he could play for their pleasure. One day, the piper saw Colkitto making his return to the castle on a boat; he played a warning song to his leader who swiftly turned around and escaped to the open sea.

The Campbells, furious with the piper, chopped off his hands so he could never play his pipes again; he soon bled out.

Ever since, visitors have witnessed the solitary spectral figure of a piper on the battlements at night and have heard his wistful tune echoing round the loch.

6. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

haunted Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG

Dominating the gorgeous Old Town of Edinburgh, this castle is one of the most famous in the world and is said to be home to a myriad of ghostly presences.

One of the most frequent apparitions is known as the Grey Lady, who’s often seen weeping as she roams the building. Many believe the spirit is that of Lady Janet Douglas, who was falsely accused of witchcraft and conspiring to murder King James V in 1537. She confessed to the baseless crime after torture and was cruelly burnt to the stake at the castle in front of her son.

Moreover, it’s common for visitors at Edinburgh Castle to report a range of uncomfortable and unexplained occurrences, from seeing shadowy figures, being pushed, and feeling a sense of not being welcome.

7. Dornoch Castle, Dornoch

Dornoch Castle
Dornoch Castle, Castle Street, Dornoch IV25 3SD

This impressive 16th century castle sits among beautifully manicured gardens and was the site of an exorcism in 1922.

The spirit targeted was that of Andrew McCornish, a thief who had been hanged at Dornoch Castle for stealing sheep. Witnesses reported seeing a strange, grey-faced man in stockings and breeches in various rooms in the house before the exorcism took place.

While it’s believed the exorcism was effective, there have been reports of his ghostly apparition appearing again. Moreover, guests have described feeling an odd sense of discomfort in the tower, as well as strange lights floating around the room. So, was the exorcism really a success? You’ll have to find out for yourself…

Stay at Dornoch Castle

8. Dalhousie Castle, Edinburgh

Dalhousie Castle
Dalhousie Castle, Bonnyrigg EH19 3JB

Once used as a base for Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of Scotland, Dalhousie Castle has often been labelled as one of the world’s most haunted castles and is said to be occupied by several ghosts.

The most notable phantom at Dalhousie is that of Sir Alexander Ramsay. In 1342, Ramsay was appointed Sheriff by King David II. Incensed and jealous, his friend Sir William Douglas kidnapped Ramsay and brought him in chains to Hermitage Castle where he was starved to death. Legend has it that his death was prolonged and torturous, taking seventeen days in total.

It’s also said that a grey lady stalks the turrets and dungeon of the castle, while paranormal activity at the castle is rife – guests have reported poltergeists, unexplained noises, and creepy footsteps at night.

Stay at Dalhousie Castle Dalhousie Castle Ghosts

9. Airth Castle, Stirlingshire

Airth Castle
Airth Castle, Airth, Stirlingshire FK2 8JF

The stately and imposing Airth Castle is a Category A listed building and operates as a hotel and spa. It’s also home to a 12th century graveyard which explains why the grounds are reportedly home to so many ghosts.

Visitors have reported seeing a spectral groundsman in the castle’s lower floors, the ghost of a nanny in a rocking chair, and have heard the frantic footsteps of two children who supposedly died in a fire in the 1800s.

But it’s not just human spirits that stalk the grounds of Airth Castle. Watch out for a phantom dog who is said to yelp and snap viciously at the feet and legs of unsuspecting visitors.

10. Stirling Castle, Stirling

Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle, Castle Wynd, Stirling FK8 1EJ

Dating back to the fifteenth century, Stirling Castle is one of the largest in Scotland. Having been attacked no fewer than 16 times, the building has witnessed plenty of bloodshed over the years.

Another lady in green is the most famous spirit to inhabit Stirling Castle, appearing to people as a harbinger of bad things to come. Her appearance often precedes fires or other accidents at the castle. 

Stirling Castle is also home to the so-called Pink Lady who is often seen walking to the nearby church at Ladies’ Rock. It’s rumoured that this spirit is the last survivor of Edward I’s deadly siege of the castle in 1304.

Ghosts of Stirling Castle

11. Castle Menzies, Perthshire

Castle Menzies
Castle Menzies, B846, Weem, Aberfeldy PH15 2JD

Once giving host to the ‘Young Pretender’ Bonnie Prince Charlie, Castle Menzies in Perthshire is a popular site for paranormal investigators.

Since the castle opened to the public in 1980, guests have witnessed an array of spine-tingling occurrences. Visitors have seen glowing orbs, heard disembodied voices, experienced physical attacks, and have even complained of evil spirits following them home.

It is also thought that Castle Menzies is home to the phantoms of three grumpy women, a coven of witches who are said to haunt the castle’s meat cellar.

12. Glamis Castle, Angus

Glamis Castle
Glamis Castle, Forfar DD8 1RJ

Situated in the heart of Angus, Glamis Castle has been the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372 and was the childhood home of the Queen Mother.

There are numerous accounts and legends of spectral entities at the castle. It’s believed the Queen Mother’s sitting room is haunted by the spirit of a mischievous pageboy, who has a habit of sticking out his foot to trip up oblivious visitors entering the room.

While the great Scottish novelist Walter Scott once stayed at Glamis and wrote of its oppressive atmosphere, the castle is perhaps most well-known for housing the Monster of Glamis – a supposedly half-human, half-animal beast born to the Lyon-Bowes family and locked in a concealed chamber for years.

Ghosts of Glamis Castle