halloween-1743272_640It’s not something one normally associates with Aberdeen. Ghosts that is. If you have a superstitious bent, then the better known Scottish ghosts tend to be found around Edinburgh, where the tourist industry makes sure that they are alive and well (or as alive and well as possible for a ghost).

However, fear not (or perhaps fear a bit), for Aberdeenshire also manages to get in on the act. Amongst the spooky spectres, you can find Queen Victoria’s friend, John Brown, walking around Balmoral Castle. The website ‘Haunted Rooms’ describes how our present Queen, on one of her many visits to the Castle, “has reported seeing the ghost of John Brown on the corridor and feeling his presence”.

Alternatively, you can go up to Turiff, where Fyvie Castle is home to a number of colourful ladies, as well as a Phantom Trumpeter and the “Weeping Stones of Fyvie”. The ladies are Green and Grey; the former being Dane Lilias Drummond, the wife of Sir Alexander Seton who, after failing five times to produce a male heir died after she was cuckolded by her husband but returned to haunt him and his new wife. The Grey Lady is reputedly the ghost of a Lady Meldrum whose body was buried in a secret room in the 13th century but then found and reinterred elsewhere in 1920. She didn’t like this and has been regularly seen since then outside the Castle, doubtless making her complaints public.

Castle Fraser also contains the ghost of a young woman, although in this instance no-one knows her name and she is simply referred to as “The Princess of Castle Fraser”. She was murdered and her body dragged downstairs, but the bloodstains reputedly could not be scrubbed away and she continues to wander the Castle, accompanied by disembodied whispers.

A little further south from Aberdeen (in Angus to be truthful), we have Glamis Castle, where there is a whole host of ghosts, including Lord Beardie, another Grey Lady, and a woman without a tongue, among others. Also in that area, Irish aviator, Desmond Arthur crashed his plane near Montrose – the first fatal air crash in Scotland. His spirit haunts the old RAF base, now the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre, and a ghost plane has reportedly been seen in the skies.

Finally, to the north, not too far from Inverness, we have Cawdor Castle, famed for its role in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. However, despite that connection, the most commonly seen ghost at Cawdor is that of a daughter of the Earl of Cawdor. In the early 1880s she began a relationship with a young man from a rival family but was discovered with her lover by her father, who pursued her through the castle. Trying to escape, she began to lower herself from a window to the ground below, but the Earl drew his sword and slashed off his daughter’s hands.

Since then, visitors have reported encountering a handless young woman, roaming abroad in a blue velvet dress….Spooky
Julie Skinner, Resourcing & Benefit Specialist
Email: j.skinner@rgu.ac.uk