Monday, 29 October 2018

Ghost tourism proves a frightful success

Ghost tourism is set to boom in Scotland, where tourists are being encouraged to discover green ladies, Jacobite soldiers, a terrifying train and a headless drummer. 

The new Ghost Trail leads visitors on a journey into the unknown with stories about spirits said to haunt various locations across the country, says tourism body VisitScotland. 

From ghostly graveyards to creepy castles, visitors can now source a handy map to get ghost hunting.

St Andrews Cathedral
Scotland is arguably the home of Halloween – or Samhain as it was originally known. The celebration of all things spooky originates from the ancient Celts' celebrations and is based on their 'Feast of Samhain'. The day became known as All Saints' Eve, All Hallows' Eve, or Hallowe'en. 

All Saints' Day, 1 November, is said to be the day when souls walked the Earth.
Scotland’s Ghost Trail features a collection of places believed to be haunted by soldiers, sailors, pipers, dogs and even trains so visitors can enjoy some fright-seeing on their next trip to Scotland.
Malcolm Roughead, the VisitScotland chief executive, said: "Scotland is THE place to be at Halloween with our atmospheric landscape, creepy castles, haunted historic houses, superstitions and bloody history. This time of year brings a huge tourism potential.
“But ghosts are not just for Halloween – spirits are said to haunt these locations year-round so it is important for us to extend these festivities from one night only and capitalise on the public’s fascination with things that go bump in the night.”

Scottish spectres include:
The Green Lady of Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle’s most famous ghostly resident, the Green Lady, is thought to have been a serving girl to none other than Mary Queen of Scots. The story goes that the girl was watching over her mistress one night when a fire caught hold in the Queen’s room. The girl managed to save her Queen but lost her own life to the flames. Her ghost is said to have haunted the castle ever since.

The Ghost Road, Dumfries & Galloway

The A75 through Dumfries & Galloway is reportedly one of Scotland’s most haunted, with sightings of strange creatures from screaming hags to ghostly horse and carriages.

Ubby of Skaill House, Orkney

Built on an ancient Norse burial ground, it’s no wonder Skaill House is described as a supernatural hotbed. The mansion’s most famous ghostly resident is Ubby, believed to have once been the man who built the small island in the nearby loch.

The Ghosts of Culloden, near Inverness

The bloody Battle of Culloden – the final conflict of the Jacobite Risings – was one of the most harrowing battles every fought on British soil. On 16 April 1746, 1,500 Jacobite soldiers were slain in less than an hour. On the anniversary of the battle, some of the Ghosts of Culloden are said to reappear, including a tartan-clad soldier, lying wounded on the ground.
Battlefield of Culloden

The Headless Drummer, Edinburgh

As night settles or dawn draws in, the ghostly sound of drumming has been heard reverberating around the stone fortress of Edinburgh Castle. Legend has it that the sound is made by the Headless Drummer, and if his ghost ever appears in plain sight, it foretells disaster for the castle. 

The Phantom Piper, Dumfries & Galloway

Echoing out of a dark cave, on the jagged coastline at Clanyard Bay near Stranraer, the faint sound of the bagpipes has often reached the ears of nearby sailors. The source is said to be the Phantom Piper, who is said to have invoked the fury of the cave’s resident fairies by entering with his loyal dog and playing his pipes in their domain. After the sound of his pipes had faded away, only his dog came tearing out alive, but without any of its hair.

The Green Lady of Crathes Castle, Aberdeenshire

Step inside the Green Lady’s room at Crathes Castle and feel the chill run down your spine. Said to be the ghost of a servant who fell pregnant out of wedlock, the Green Lady has been seen pacing back and forth from the fireplace, sometimes cradling an infant in her arms. A grisly discovery in the 1800s adds a sinister twist – the remains of a woman and child were uncovered beneath the hearthstone of the very same fireplace.

Crathes Castle

The Ghost Dog of Rosslyn, Midlothian

In a tale that spans centuries, Rosslyn’s phantom ghost dog is said to have been a war hound that was slain at the Battle of Roslin in 1303. After the battle, the ghostly apparition of the huge dog was seen by the resident soldiers, and the man who killed the dog’s owner died of terror within days. Nowadays, people sometimes speak of hearing a ghostly howling echoing from the woods that surround Rosslyn Castle’s ruins.

The Grey Train of Dunphail, Highlands

Travelling along the now long-gone Dava Railway line, people have reportedly seen a fearsome ghost train charging along, blazing with light and hovering two feet above the tracks. Spotted in the 1920s and 1960s, there’s little explanation for the apparition, except for one story – 30 years earlier a train filled with cattle caught fire at Dava Station, killing the animals on board.

The White Lady of St Andrews Cathedral, Fife

Dating from 1160, St Andrews Cathedral has more than a few stories to tell. One ghostly apparition is the White Lady who glides along the cathedral walls before vanishing into a tower. This tower has its own curious history, the story goes that in the 1800s stonemasons were repairing the cathedral and discovered a sealed chamber in the tower. Inside were several coffins, including one containing the body of a young woman wearing white gloves. 

www.visitscotland.com/ghosttrail

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