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Dare you visit the 7 Most Haunted Places in Greater Speyside?

Brodie Castle ScarySupernatural encounters in these beautiful Speyside locations with terrifying secrets.

From Pictish settlements to ancient Kings of Scotland, including Macbeth, Greater Speyside is steeped in ancient history. Many believe that the legacy of this often horrible history has not quite gone away. Television ghost hunter Chris Conway and historian Richard Felix have billed the area as the most haunted in Scotland.

Here’s the Greater Speyside rundown of the 7 most haunted places to visit.

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Culloden

Culloden was the scene of one of the most significant battles in Scottish history and is now believed to be one of the most haunted places in the area. In 1746 the government won a decisive victory over Jacobite rebels. The battle lasted less than an hour yet killed or wounded around 2,000 men, most of them Jacobites. The subsequent crackdown on clans and Gaelic culture was brutal.

On the anniversary of the battle, 16th of April, visitors have reported hearing the cries of battle and clash of steel over the empty battlefield. A ghost of one of the dead Jacobites is said to have been seen in the area, repeating the word “defeated” over and over when approached.

In 1936 a visitor to the moor lifted a tartan cloth covering a burial mound: shocked, she found an apparition of a dead Jacobite waiting underneath. Many claim that there is no birdsong and limited plant life around the mounds as the tragedy of that day continues to echo across the desolate fields.

Culloden is also home to a “Clootie Well” .  Here visitors leave strips of cloth (in the Scots language, a “cloot”) tied to trees around the well as part of a healing ritual.

Culloden Battlefield Website

Dava Way / Dunphail

The Dava Way is a beautiful walk between Grantown-on-Spey and Forres. The 24 mile path was part of the Highland Railway line, but today offers a pleasant mix of farmland, woodland and moorland and is recognised as one of the best long distance walking routes in Scotland. Best of all, it’s relatively undiscovered.

Back in 1920, then again 40 years later, members of a local family used the railway as a shortcut during the hours of darkness. To their shock they encountered a ghostly stream train – complete with empty carriages and empty cab – rushing past. Incredibly the train was floating above the track.

Since then, and long after the rail line closed for good, many locals have reported the sounds and smells of steam trains rushing past. Some have even seen the lights of a train in the distance.

Each year in June there is a ghost walk overnight the length of the Dava Way. The organisers provide bacon rolls halfway along the route to help sooth any frayed nerves.

Dava Way Website

Spynie Palace

Now ruined, Spynie Palace was the fortified seat of the Bishops of Moray for half a century. Founded in the 12th Century, the castle can be found a few miles from Elgin. Royal visitors included King James I, Mary, Queen of Scots and King James VI who later also became King James I of England.

The Palace has a number of reported hauntings, including one of the most bizarre. In 2011 local newspaper The Northern Scot reported an encounter with the spirit of a lion. One member of the group was left with bruises and scratches across his face having been mauled by the ghost. Later investigation found  that a lion had once been kept in Spynie Palace as an exotic pet. To lend credibility to the story, a lion’s paw print has also been found in the grounds.

Other visitors have reported sighting a phantom piper; the chilling atmosphere in late evening is undeniable.

Spynie Palace Website

Northern Scot Report

Brodie Castle

Now a National Trust for Scotland property, stunning Brodie Castle has been the seat of the Brodie family since the 16th Century. Packed with fine French furniture, Chinese porcelain and a major collection of paintings, it also had one of the earliest reported ghostly encounters of modern history.

Back in 1889, with the Earl of Brodie in Switzerland,  the castle was empty save for some servants. A butler heard moaning noises and rustling papers from the Earl’s study. Other servants confirmed the noise and, suspecting an intruder, tried and failed to get access to the locked study.

The next day the horrified servants learned that the Earl had died that night in Switzerland. The servants believed that the Earls spirit had returned to put his papers in order.

Brodie Castle Website

Rait Castle

Just outside the popular seaside town of Nairn you will find the dramatic ruins of Rait Castle.

Back in 1442 it was the scene of an ill-fated reconciliation between two of Scotland’s wealthiest, but feuding, families: the Cummings and the Mackintoshes.

As the feast proceeded a toast to the dead was proposed. Suddenly the Cummings made to draw their swords in what they hoped would be a surprise attack, but then found themselves under attack by the Mackintoshes who had hidden knives in their clothing.

The Cummings’ clan chief escaped the fighting and came across his own daughter hiding in the castle. Rumours had spread that she was having an affair with a young Mackintosh lad, and the chief immediately suspected her of having leaked plans of their attack to the boy.

In a rage he charged at her with his sword. She tried to escape from a window but as she held the ledge he cut off her hands with his sword and she fell to her death.

The castle was abandoned shortly afterwards but the girl remains to this day, a handless woman wandering the grounds.

Save Rait Castle

Auldearn 

In 1662 Isobel Gowdie faced a trial accused of witchcraft.

Isobel was a young housewife living at Auldearn, near Nairn. She confessed to being a witch and admitted that members of her coven had the ability to transform themselves into animals; she was also allegedly entertained by the Queen of the Fairies at her home. Her detailed confession is recorded in literature and song.

There is no record of her execution, but composer and writer James Macmillan believes that she was tortured and burned at the stake.

In any case, locals have reported seeing the ghost of a young woman wandering through Auldearn and many believe the place of her sighting could suggest it is Isobel.

Auldearn on Wikipedia

Royal Yacht Club, Findhorn 

The Royal Findhorn Yacht Club was founded in 1929 and overlooks the beautiful Findhorn Bay, a haven for wildlife and visitors alike.

In one of the more recent ghostly sightings, in 2009 a barman at the club served drinks to two elderly gentlemen who claimed they were life members. After ringing up their drinks at the till, he turned around to discover they had gone.

CCTV footage from the time showed no-one entering or leaving the bar.

Royal Findhorn Yacht Club Website

 

 

Original image is of Brodie Castle. The image has been modified. Taken by Mihael Grmek. (cc) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.

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