Haunted Scotland – Part 3

For the past two months I’ve given you a look at some sites I visited on a tour called Haunted Scotland (www.celticjourneys.us).  Here are the last of the sites, including Falkland, a special town for fans of the popular Outlander series!

FYVIE CASTLE, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

According to legend, a prophet was denied lodging by the Laird of Fyvie Castle, and he put a curse on the building that doomed it to stay in one family no more than two generations. Apparently the curse worked, because it’s seen a succession of owners over ensuing centuries.

Magnificent Fyvie Castle

The inability of Fyvie wives to produce male heirs didn’t help ward off the curse, and one Laird, Alexander Seton, became enraged at his wife Lillias Drummond after the birth of their fifth girl. In 1601 he locked her in a tiny garret where she starved to death. Mere days later he married a servant named Grizel Leslie, and they spent an eventful wedding night in the room immediately below the garret where Lillias died.

It’s easy to see Dame Drummond’s name carved into the window sill

The couple got no sleep because of constant noise – sighs and moans – from outside their window, which was fifty feet above the ground. Upon exploring the next morning, they found a name carved into the window sill. It said D. (dame) Lillias Drummond, and interestingly the letters point outwards, since the spirit who carved them was outside, not in the room. The words remain today, and Lillias’ ghost is often seen in full green brocade, accompanied by the scent of roses. Visitors are allowed to stay overnight at Fyvie, and Lillias has been known to roust them out of bed.

The tiny garret where the wife was imprisoned and starved to death

GLAMIS CASTLE, Glamis, Angus, Scotland

Glamis (pronounced “glams”) is the most famous of the places I visited, primarily because it was the childhood home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.  The massive structure towers over the beautiful Strathmore Valley. The main tower was erected in 1435, and there are hundreds of rooms, nooks and crannies everywhere. Many ghosts have been seen walking the corridors and standing on high tower walls long since closed off and made inaccessible.

Glamis Castle, childhood home of the Queen Mother

Janet Douglas, wife of the sixth Lord of Glamis, was accused of plotting against King James V and imprisoned in the castle’s dungeon in 1528 along with her young son John. She remained there until 1537, when she faced trial, defended herself eloquently but was convicted and burned at the stake on the grounds.

The bricked-up doorway that led to a room where the Earl played cards with the devil

Janet’s son John outlived King James, was pardoned and became Lord of the castle. His mother’s ghost is often seen in the clock tower where she was held captive for a decade.

Ghosts of the Lords and their families are often seen in their private chapel

Another interesting legend involves Earl Beardie, a later owner who wanted his guests to play cards with him. They refused, it being Saturday night and “nigh unto the Sabbath.” Beardie ranted that he’d play cards with the devil himself until doomsday.

An ancient prison cell, decorated for present-day Halloween!

Soon afterwards a dark stranger appeared at the door of Glamis Castle and agreed to play cards all night with the irascible Earl. They played in a room behind closed doors and a servant who peeked through the keyhole was blinded by a flash of light. The Earl threw open the door to see who was outside and the stranger disappeared, along with Earl Beardie’s soul.  The room was sealed off – we saw the place in the wall where the door once existed – and at night people can still hear the Earl’s shouts as he plays cards until doomsday.


The medieval village of Falkland is nestled in the Lomond Hills. Its quaint cobbled streets are lined with seventeenth- and eighteenth-century houses. The town was a favorite haunt of Scottish kings and was named a Royal Burgh in 1458.

Outlander devotees – do you recognize this medieval town?

The palace, built in the fifteenth century, became a magnificent country retreat for the Stuart kings, who hunted deer and boar here.  King James V died here just days before the birth of his daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots, who is said to have spent the best days of her life at Falkland.

Falkland Castle has stood in this tiny village for centuries

Besieged by Rob Roy and partially destroyed by Cromwell’s troops, the palace’s history includes many a spirit. Mary, Queen of Scots has been spotted, as well as a “White Lady” who roams the Tapestry Gallery and a “Grey Lady” who walks the castle’s eastern ruins and disappears through a wall where a door once existed.  Most chilling are the sinister faces that appear at a window in the Queen’s bedroom.

The oldest part of the castle is in ruins
A pub on the high street. The upstairs windows are in scenes from Outlanders.

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bill thompson

Award-winning best-selling author

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