Scotland's Most Haunted Houses

Leith Hall - one of the most haunted houses in Scotland
Leith Hall - one of the most haunted houses in Scotland | Source

Haunted houses

"All houses wherein men have lived and died Are haunted houses.

Through the open doors

The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,

With feet that make no sound upon the floors."

(by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)


Whenever anyone thinks about ghosts their mind usually conjures up images of a haunted house. It's the most common location people think about in relation to the paranormal and with good reason.

It would seem that the more history a location has, the more likely it is to have some form of paranormal activity. Castles of course have wonderful histories but let's not overlook the historic mansions of the world - and in relation to this article, those in Scotland. In many cases, historic houses rival anything a castle can offer.

Dalzell House in Scotland has three female ghosts who walk the corridors.
Dalzell House in Scotland has three female ghosts who walk the corridors. | Source
Leith Hall in Scotland has a number of ghosts around the house and grounds.
Leith Hall in Scotland has a number of ghosts around the house and grounds. | Source

Dalzell House and Leith Hall

"We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,

Along the passages they come and go,

Impalpable impressions on the air,

A sense of something moving to and fro"

(By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)


Dalzell House - North Lanarkshire, Scotland

Dalzell House - pronounced 'di-yell', as well as a few other pronunciations - is located south of the town of Motherwell. The oldest part - the tower house - dates to the 15th century and the building was extensively restored in the 1980s.

The Dalzell family acquired the surrounding lands in the 13th century. The family became 'Lords' in 1628 with Lord Dalzell and finally 'Earls' in 1639 as the Earls of Carnwath. Their fortunes, as with any prosperous family, were good and bad over the centuries. However, in Dalzell House, it seems that it's the females who remain to haunt the property.

The three female ghosts at the house are one each of the classic apparition colours - a 'white' lady, a 'grey' lady and a 'green' lady. The ghosts haunt different areas of the house or grounds.

The green lady is said to haunt the south wing and one of the most vivid sightings was witnessed by a young boy. The youngster was shocked when the ghost emerged out off wood panelling on the wall and continued into the area of the house known as the 'piper's gallery'. He not only described her colour as 'green' but that she also had blood-shot eyes. The child was obviously very frightened by his experience. Security guards at the property also saw the ghost along with strange flashing lights and footsteps. The guard dogs are reported to act oddly in the area where she walks, barking at a seemingly empty room and refusing to go over the threshold. The rumours about the green lady is that she may have been murdered, alternatively she committed suicide. As yet what her real story is, remains a mystery.

The white lady is said to walk around the entire estate of Dalzell House and has been reported in various locations. This ghost is thought to come from the period of the 18th century. There are two stories to account for the white lady ghost. One that she was a maid at the house who committed suicide by jumping off one of the high towers. She is said to have landed in the rock-filled gorge of Whinney Burn. An alternative story is that she had been walled up within the house. In connection with the white lady is the the age old story of an unmarried mother to be being abandoned by her lover and unable to cope with the shame of having an illegitimate baby.

The third ghost, the grey lady, seems to be a more modern phantom. When this ghost is seen witnesses describe her as wearing a 'grey' coloured uniform, very similar to the army nurses, from the World War I era. This would make sense as Dalzell House - the northern wing - was used as a military hospital during the first world war. Why this ghostly nurse should still haunt the location is not known.



Leith Hall, Nr Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire

Leith Hall started off as a three level tower house in 1650 and was extensively added to over the centuries. It was home to the Leith and Leith-Hay families for many centuries before finally being handed over to the National Trust for Scotland in 1945.

The Leith's are thought to have originated from France around the 14th century, landing at Leith Port in Edinburgh, and this is where it is thought they took their name from. The family have all had strong associations with the military and were a major force in supporting Bonnie Prince Charlie during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.

There are numerous accounts of paranormal activity that occurr at Leith Hall. There are reports by guests of apparitions in the bedrooms. There are also accounts of a ghostly party taking place with laughter and voices but on investigating, all the rooms are empty.

One of the main ghosts said to haunt the house is John Leith who has appeared numerous times with a bandaged head. He was shot in the year of 1763, either during a fight at a local tavern or some suggest that it was a dual. He didn't die immediately, but three days later on Christmas Day. His spirit is said to manifest usually around the main staircase, where witnesses report the apparition wearing a bandage on his head covered in blood.

People have also reported the ghostly laughter of children coming from the bedrooms. Another apparition is that of a distressed woman who paces the corridors, wringing her hands constantly. Other phenomena experienced are the sounds of footsteps, banging doors and strange, inexplicable odours. There has also been the sound of ghostly bagpipes heard in the building.

In the grounds of Leith Hall is a very old tree and psychics have picked up energies of many people dying around this specific area. This old tree was in fact called a 'duel tree' and was where the Laird of the land would dispense justice - as such the tree was used for numerous hangings.

Provan Hall, Glasgow - this is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Glasgow and also one of the most haunted.
Provan Hall, Glasgow - this is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Glasgow and also one of the most haunted. | Source

Provan Hall Glasgow, Dowsing Rods Experiment

Hopetoun Hall, South Queensferry, has a long history of ghosts.
Hopetoun Hall, South Queensferry, has a long history of ghosts. | Source

Provan Hall and Hopetoun House

"There are more guests at table than the hosts Invited;

the illuminated hall Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,

As silent as the pictures on the wall."

(By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)


Provan Hall, Glasgow

Provan Hall is not only a historical gem but a very haunted location. It's one of the best examples in Scotland of a fortified, medieval country house. The building dates back to the 15th century - probably at least 1471 or older - and may have been a royal hunting lodge for King James IV as some historical sources show him owning lands in the area. Since then it's had numerous owners, finally coming into the hands of the National Trust for Scotland.

Just beside Provan Hall is another old building - Blochairn House - and this is also said to be haunted. What is interesting is that the ghost in Blochairn House is said to be that of the last private owner of both Provan Hall and Blochairn - Reston Mather - who died in 1934.

In Provan Hall itself, a number of different ghosts have been seen in the house and in the grounds. However, it would seem that the master bedroom is the area with the strongest paranormal activity. This is not surprising when we learn of the history that occurred in this particular area. This bedroom is said to have been the scene of a horrific double murder approximately 200 years ago.

A soldier who had been abroad for a few years returned to find that his wife had a two year old son - he of course was not the father. After he got drunk, he went to the bedroom where he stabbed his wife repeatedly and cut the child's throat. Paranormal investigators believe that all three involved in the incident still haunt the area where the murder took place.

People have reported the room feeling very heavy and oppressive and sensitives have picked up on the spirit of the murdered mother, hiding in one of the corners of the bedroom. Other sensations reported are feelings of being pulled, cold spots and overwhelming feelings of sadness.

On a scarier note, one paranormal group who were investigating the attic caught an EVP (electronic voice phenomena) of a growling sound that seemed to be directed at the group.



Hopetoun House, South Queensferry, Nr Edinburgh.

The first portion of the house was built between 1699-1707. In 1727 the building was greatly extended by architect William Adam. For over 300 years this location has been the ancestral home of the Hope family. The Marquess of Linlithgow and Earl of Hopetoun, still live on the estate.

There are numerous accounts of ghosts and other paranormal activity at this location. At least one of the ghosts was recognised by a present member of staff as one of the old coach drivers who worked at the house over a hundred years before.


The paranormal investigation team, 'Ghost Finders, Scotland' caught very bizarre anomalies on camera, while in the restaurant area - this was formerly the stables. One photograph resembled a 'string of pink orbs', another showed a large black mass/shape that couldn't be accounted for. The word 'no' was also discovered written on one of the windows. In addition, the team experienced significant fluctuations of the compass they were carrying, indicating that a source of energy was present. EVP's taken by the team also recorded a voice saying 'forgive me'.

During a séance carried out the team experienced footsteps and moving shadows. A locked off camera in the 'old stables' only worked for 10 minutes when the battery was unexplainably drained. Other phenomena witnessed and caught on tape are unexplained bangs and other noises.

A member of staff who had to go to the bathroom experienced the lights suddenly going out. The emergency back up-lights came on and it was then that he witnessed a ghostly figure standing behind him reflected in the mirror.

Apart from the coach driver recognised by a member of staff, investigations continue to find out who the other ghosts are at Hopetoun House.

Hopetoun House, Queensferry, Scotland. One of the most beautiful houses in Scotland that is home to many ghosts.
Hopetoun House, Queensferry, Scotland. One of the most beautiful houses in Scotland that is home to many ghosts. | Source

Ghost Hunting

If you were going on a ghost hunt which house would you choose to investigate?

  • Dalzell House
  • Provan Hall
  • Hopetoun House
  • Leith Hall
See results without voting

Conclusions

"The stranger at my fireside cannot see The forms I see,

nor hear the sounds I hear;

He but perceives what is;

while unto me All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;

Owners and occupants of earlier dates

From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands,

And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit-world around this world of sense Floats like an atmosphere,

and everywhere Wafts through these earthly mists and vapours dense

A vital breath of more ethereal air."

(By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)


I hope you've enjoyed some of these historic houses and the ghosts that haunt them. There is a saying that 'every town has a haunted house' and this might well be true. Therefore, why not nose around your own neighbourhood - you might be surprised at the history and of course the ghosts you might discover?

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Comments 31 comments

klidstone1970 profile image

klidstone1970 3 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

This is a hub right up my alley! Definitely goosebumps for me. What a fantastic job you did bringing the history alive and I'll be honest and admit to a slight case of the heebie jeebies.

Well done!

Kim


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 3 years ago from Midwest

These places would all be amazing to visit with or without a haunted experience. What an interesting hub - love reading the history and haunted tales of such beautiful old places.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

Seeker I love when you do these Haunted House hubs.. it's entertaining for me and it fuels my creative juices..


Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

Thoroughly enjoyed the read. I'm very familiar with Dalzell House as it was before it was converted to flats as it is close to where I was brought up and I used to go walks around the grounds as a child. The other houses were unfamiliar to me but interesting to discover.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

I was enthralled all the way through. A well written, interesting, informative hub.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 3 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Thank you for several more examples of historic homes to avoid! Haunted houses currently hold no attraction for me thanks to a recent experience in a "modern" structure on the other side of the Pond (Midwest America). I'll expand on that over at your hub "How to Spot Paranormal Activity". ;D


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

LOL!! Hi klidstone1970 - sorry for giving you the heebie jeebies! But yes, these places do tend to bring me out in a few goose bumps as well! Glad you enjoyed the hub and thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hello ChristinS, many thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the hub. I agree with that even without the spooks around, these house would still be fascinating to visit.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Frank, LOL!! Glad that these spooky happenings helps with your creative juices - but my friend, you have so much talent, I mean this genuinely, that you don't need any kind of article to bring out your depth of writing, it's always a wonderful journey reading your work!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Gordon Hamilton, many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub. I would love to have a walk myself around Dalzell House, as you say, before becoming flats, would have been even better, it looks lovely.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals, many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi JamaGenee, I look forward to reading your comment on my other hub. Yes, paranormal activity can be anything from benign to downright terrifying. A friend of mine who I've known from school, lived with her parents in a really grubby flat when she was very young. Finally her Dad managed to get work and they were able to move out, but not after the whole family were scared witless by what they think was the spirit of an elderly woman, and not a very nice one either. I know for a fact that this episode in her life did shake her up badly and it was many years before she finally put it behind her.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Helen thanks for this interesting and well written article it was a very fascinating read, loved it ! Love all the beautiful photos as well !

Vote up and more !!!


ladydeonne profile image

ladydeonne 3 years ago from Florence, SC

A very interesting read with fantastic photos of old castles. Quantum Physics tells us that everything is energy, including our human bodies. As we are energy, we never die or end because energy has no beginning or ending. I often wonder where the essence of me (my energy or spirit) will go after I lay my body down. I have learned and believe that I will return to the source from which I came. Is it possible that some energies or spirits remain in the earthly realm? Are these our ghosts?


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Definitely spooky stuff! And those houses look scary on their own without the hauntings that go with them, to hear an EVP as well would have made me run a mile, love it! great hub! voted up and shared, nell


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is another very interesting and enjoyable hub about the paranormal, Seeker7. It's such an interesting topic to explore! I love to read your hubs about the topic. They provide a lot of food for thought.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Tom, lovely to hear from you as always and glad you enjoyed the hub. I have to say that although writing, as we all know, can be hard work, I enjoy myself with these hubs so it doesn't seem like work at all!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Ladydeonne,

Many thanks for stopping by and for leaving such an interesting comment. From what I understand, I think our state of mind, which is energy, does have a lot to do with not just how things turn out in the physical, but also how things turn out in the spiritual. There are a number of energy layers in the spirit world and some spirits I think get trapped on the layers nearest to the physical due to their mind not being in tune if you like with the the higher up levels. I'm sure it's a lot more complicated than this, but this is my idea of what happens when spirits become trapped. So yes, I agree with your idea about it being possible for some energies/spirits to remain on the earth/physical level.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Nell, lovely to hear from you as always and glad you enjoyed the hub.

I think EVP's are very exciting but yes, there is something very creepy about them as well - especially the one where it seems like growls etc are being heard!!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Alicia, lovely to hear from you and glad you enjoyed the hub. I have to say that the paranormal isn't a bad topic to write about, there's plenty of subjects to choose from and there always seems to be something knew turning up! Besides all that, it always throws up subjects that as you have said, 'provides food for thought'!


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 3 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

Very scary info. I barely needed the text to spook me while viewing the pictures... of COURSE those are haunted! :) Thanks for sharing!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 3 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi mythbuster, many thanks for stopping by - huge apologies for the delay in replying to you. Glad you enjoyed the hub and if it's any consolation, even writing about some of the places had me spooked as well!!


old albion profile image

old albion 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Helen. This hub has the back of my neck cold. Brilliant, I was walking through at times. Great visits all round.

Graham.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 2 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Graham, firstly, sincere apologies for taking so long to respond, I haven't been around Hub Pages for number of weeks. Glad that you enjoyed the hub and as always I look forward to reading more of your own work!


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Hi, really enjoyed you hub, I like the spooky weird stuff. Will be reading more.


Deborah Sexton 2 years ago

Great website and very interesting information.

I Wish I could visit those places


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 2 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi ladyguitarpicker, many thanks for taking the time to comment on my hub and please accept my huge apologies for taking so long to respond.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 2 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Deborah Sexton, glad you enjoyed the hub.


Alyson Duncan profile image

Alyson Duncan 23 months ago from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire

Nice hub! I've always wanted to investigate Dalzell House being a local, but now that it has been converted into private flats that isn't possible. However, I have been to Provanhall on a number of occasions and have investigated there overnight. While the master bedroom is certainly active, I would have to say that in fact the attic and stairway in Blochairn house are the more haunted. There is a very malevolent man there with whom I had an encounter! For some reason, little is ever discussed about him - even the cartetaker Stevie is reluctant although when one of our team asked about the "gentleman upstairs" he just replied - "that is no gentleman!" - I agree!!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 22 months ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Alyson, what a fascinating account of Blochairn and the malevolent man. I wonder if the reluctance to talk about this spirit is due to the spirit making an appearance when spoken about? Its only a theory but I had a friend of mine from my school days who maintained that when they spoke about the spirits in their house, at least one of them would respond. Luckily, the spirits in there house were friendly.


old albion profile image

old albion 20 months ago from Lancashire. England.

Hi Helen. A great hub which left me feeling the shivers. Well researched and it shows, good photos and presentation.

Graham.

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