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Hauntings of the Edinburgh Castle

I am passionate about the paranormal and everything that is beyond our understanding.

Edinburgh Castle has a lot of scary stories to tell its visitors.

Edinburgh Castle has a lot of scary stories to tell its visitors.

Edinburgh Castle Stores Troublesome History

Old castles tend to get haunted, mainly for being the target of many wars. Edinburgh Castle is no exception whatsoever and thus has a very tough history stored within its walls. Being a castle that was under attack on as many as 23 occasions together, it comes as no shock that the energies surrounding this place make themself present from time to time.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the most common ghosts occurring at this old Scottish castle filled with some unsettling history.

Most Known Ghosts of the Edinburgh Castle

Ghost of a Headless Soldier Playing Drums

If you hear a drumming signal whenever you are wandering along Edinburgh Castle, then there is a reason for caution. Well, maybe not in our time, but during the old times, this ghost of a headless soldier used to play a warning signal on his drums before the castle got attacked.

I don't know how about you, but it gives me goosebumps. Imagine waking up one day at your beloved castle suddenly hearing the ghost play on his drums, delivering a sign that you are in immediate danger. Given the times we live in now, I sincerely hope that the headless soldier won't need to warn Edinburgh's residents anymore, but one cannot be sure.

The Lost Bagpiper

There is something with the underground that feels a little bit unsettling and terrifying. And there is a reason for that. Many years ago, there have been a discovery made of an underground tunnel. Since it was pretty obvious to everyone that the tunnels were large and wide, a bagpiper was sent down to the tunnels as he could easily get located if going lost thanks to the constant sound of the bagpipes. Little did the poor bagpiper know at that time that his trip to the underground would be his last.

The bagpiper made it a bit through the tunnels, but then his piping suddenly stopped. His comrades went down to investigate why their bagpiper did not play the pipes anymore. Weirdly enough, they never found him again, nor his instrument. The man completely vanished.

After this horrible event, the tunnels were sealed and never reopened to this day. However, the tourists visiting the castle have experienced hearing the bagpipes when wandering near the tunnels. It seems like the bagpiper's restless soul is still attached to the tunnels after his unexplainable faith.

The Grey Lady

One of the most common sightings is those of a 16th-century woman. However, the thing is that no one exactly knows who she is. There are two main theories about who the spirit could have been.

One of the theories is that she could be a woman named Janet Douglas. She faced an almost unthinkable tragic faith after she got burned alive while her son had to watch her dying in flames. As you may have guessed at this point, given that this happened during the 16th century, she got sentenced to this horrible death for being accused of performing witchcraft. The one who accused her was King James V. It is said that he accused her because of a dispute he had with her brother.

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The other theory is that the woman could be a ghost of Marie de Guise. She was an influential and powerful woman who reigned Scotland for many years in the middle of the 16th century. The crowning of Marie de Guise happened on the 22nd of February 1540. She died 20 years later, during the summer of 1560.

Magnificent and mysterious Edinburgh Castle.

Magnificent and mysterious Edinburgh Castle.

The Dogs and the Prisoner

There is a pet cemetery located in Edinburgh Castle where dogs that lived in the castle got buried. So it isn't such a surprise that besides ghosts of human figures of the past, you can even encounter some dog spirits of the past. There are reports of both black and white-colored spectral dogs, whose energy seems to be present at the castle to this day.

Let's round it up with another ghost, who may be the most terrifying one of them all. I am talking about the highly unfortunate faith of one of the castle's prisoners. Without knowing either his name or origins, this man has been an unlucky one for sure. Imprisoned in the horrific, brutal dungeons of Edinburgh Castle, this man tried in utter desperation to hide in a wheelbarrow that was filled with muck.

The reason for his action was his hopes of the wheelbarrow being taken out of the castle and emptied. Well, in a way he got it right but not to his benefit. The wheelbarrow he was hidden within was indeed taken out of Edinburgh Castle, but by throwing over the battlements.

Of course, the man had zero chance of survival and broke his neck when falling from the castle. After this incident, the spirit of the man seems to operate the place to this day, trying to push the visitors over the battlements. His presence can be easily recognized, as he smells of manure.

While his death was unfortunate, I still think that Janet Douglas had to experience the worst death of all those individuals mentioned in this article.

Where Can I Find the Castle?

If you want to visit Edinburgh Castle, which lies in Scotland, you should head to the center of Edinburgh. The castle is located west of Holyrood Park. In its proximity, you will also find the National Museum of Scotland. It's not hard to find the castle itself. What can be a challenge though, is finding a good place to park, especially during the season when a lot of tourists visit Edinburgh Castle and its beautiful and enchanting environment.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Jan Stepan

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