Allanbank, Allanton, Borders
Allanbank was owned by the Stuart Family in the 17th century and it is from this period that the ghost of Allanbank originates, although in her life on this Plane the girl concerned never actually visited Scotland. The house was finally pulled down in the 19th century but any hope of the demolition of the building exorcising the ghost as well was quickly demolished itself. After the house had been reduced to rubble she was still seen very often, particularly at dusk on the ground where the house had once stood.
Robert Stuart was sent to Paris in the 1670's to finish his education on what was known in those days as "The Grand Tour". It was whilst he was in Paris that he met, and had an affair with, a French girl, 15 year-old Jeanne de la Salle, said to be a very beautiful girl, a fact which those who have seen her ghost seem to agree with. At last came the time for Robert to return to Scotland but he did not have the heart to tell his lover of his intended departure, or probably more to the truth he did not tell her out of sheer callousness. On the morning of his departure, saying absolutely nothing to Jeanne, he quietly climbed into his coach. Realising that she was being abandoned by her "beloved" Robert, Jeanne dashed into the street,, and pleaded within to stay with her in Paris, or otherwise take her back with him to Scotland. Neither was possible for Robert had been summoned to return home by his father and was bound to his father's choice of a bride and it was known that his father would have stopped any marriage between himself and Jeanne.
Robert Stuart shouted for the coachman to drive off, ignoring Jeanne's pleadings. Jeanne jumped onto the coach and screamed at Robert, telling him that should he marry another woman after all the promises he had made to her, she would come in between them for the rest of their days. With that the coach moved forward, Jeanne lost her grip on the side, and with a final scream fell onto the cobblestone road, one of the coach wheels passing over her beautiful face as it sped off.
After the tragic accident in Paris, Robert must have felt a sense of immense relief when he finally reached Scotland some days later and making his last few miles towards Allanbank. It was dusk on an Autumn evening when he finally saw the outline of his home but as the coach passed through the gates and came to a halt in the courtyard, to his horror, he saw, sitting on the archway of the gatehouse, the apparition of a woman in a white dress, with a white coif threaded with pearls, gazing down at him. Robert fainted at the sight of her bloody head. It was Jeanne de la Salle and she had come to Allanbank to keep her final promise. "Pearlin' Jean", as she was to become known as, was to become one of the most remarkable and best-known ghosts in Scotland.
Immediately Robert Stuart returned to Allanbank the sounds of a girl's screams were heard regularly at the house. At other times Pearlin' Jean was seen walking around the house. On yet other occasions the sounds of her rustling silk dress were heard along the empty passageways and up and down deserted stairways, accompanied by the sound of the pattering of high-heeled shoes.. Poltergeist activity was ever-present, furniture being hurled around by invisible hands, and the household would be kept awake at night by the sound of slamming doors, although the doors in the house were always kept securely bolted at night. Robert Stuart managed to get away from Allanbank periodically on his frequent business and social visits to Edinburgh, much to the relief of the staff, for whilst he was away Pearlin' Jean remained quiet, awaiting his return.
In 1687 Robert Stuart was created a baronet and was forced to settle down permanently at Allanbank and the household could no longer look forward to the periodic lull in the disturbances caused by Pearlin' Jean's ghostly visits. The troubles came to a climax when Sir Robert married, and bringing his new wife to the house angered Pearlin' Jean. Sir Robert had already told his wife of his affair with Jeanne in Paris and of the subsequent tragedy for which he totally blamed himself. Lady Stuart was a level-headed woman and was determined that no ghost would endanger her marriage. However Pearlin' Jean was also determined and the manifestations increased to such an intensity that servants started leaving, completely fed up with the disturbances at the house. In a desperate attempt to end the haunting Sir Robert called in seven ministers of the Church of Scotland to conduct a service of exorcism. They failed utterly and as a result Pearlin' Jean only intensified her activities.
Then Sir Robert had a brilliant idea. Remembering the last words spoken to him by Jeanne de la Salle he commissioned an artist to paint a portrait of her from a description given by him and when this was finally completed it was hung in the gallery between a painting of Sir Robert and another of Lady Stuart. The idea worked and the ghost seems to have become satisfied; peace immediately returned to Allanbank.
However children of the Stuarts were likely to ask some very awkward questions when they grew up, especially as to who the lady was whose portrait was hung between those of their parents, and why? To avoid any embarrassment Jeanne de la Salle's portrait was taken down and stored in the attic. Within minutes the disturbances started again and continued long after the deaths of Sir Robert and Lady Stuart.
Jenny, a children's nurse at Allanbank before it's demolition, was one who could vouch for the ghost of Pearlin' Jean, for she encountered her many times. Jenny had a boyfriend called Thomas Blackadder and they arranged to meet on one occasion in the orchard after she had completed her daily duties. Thomas arrived first on that dark Autumn night, and seeing a female dressed in white approaching, rushed forward to meet her. Just as he was about to embrace what he thought was Jenny the female figure vanished but appeared again some distance away on the other side of the orchard. Realising that he had almost embraced the ghost of Pearlin' Jean, Thomas took fright and ran off, much to the annoyance of Jenny, who did not know the full story until later. Fortunately Jenny was a very understanding woman and forgave him, later on becoming his wife.
Buckholm Tower, Galashiels, Borders
The ruins of Buckholm Tower are haunted by a former laird of Buckholm, a man called Pringle, who lived there in the latter part of the 18th century. Weird tales are told of terrible noises being heard coming from the dungeon and there are also reports of an everlasting bloodstain to be found on an old beam, which marks the scene of an act of murder committed by Pringle at that spot.
Pringle was an evil man who so ill-treated his wife and young son that they eventually left him. It is said that no woman was safe in the Tower and his cruelty was common knowledge for miles around. His favourite past-time was tracking down covenanters with is two ferocious hounds.
Known as a loyal Government supporter, Pringle was called upon one day by the captain of a troop of Dragoons to assist in the break-up of an unlawful assembly of covenanters on nearby Ladhope Moor. Pringle was only too pleased to assist and shrewdly guessing the exact location where the religious dissenters were most like to be, led the Dragoons to the exact spot. However the unlawful assembly had received some prior warning of the raid and had already dispersed, with the exception of two men, Geordie Elliott, who's wife has once been in Pringle's employ, and his son William. Old Geordie had been thrown from his horse and was badly hurt. William Elliott had stayed by his father's side. Both were well-known covenanters.
The wicked Laird of Buckholm was all in favour of disposing of the two men on the spot but Captain Bruce, of the Dragoons, felt that they might be able to provide some valuable information about their fellow covenanters and thus it was arranged that Pringle would hold them prisoner at Buckholm for the night and the Captain would send an escort to collect them the following day.
Back at Buckholm the two unfortunate men were thrown into the dungeon and the Captain and his Dragoons left. Pringle dined and drank brandy and as he became more and more drunk he became more and more ill-tempered. At length he lurched to his feet and made for the dungeon. At the doorway he met several of his servants who had been disturbed by calls for assistance coming from within. Old Geordie Elliott was in a bad way as a result of his fall and William Elliott was pleading for help for the old man. Pushing the servants to one side, Pringle entered the dungeon and the waiting men heard sounds of heavy blows, strangled screams and a dragging noise before total silence. Then the Laird re-appeared. Pushing past the servants, Pringle was just about to return to the study to consume some more brandy when there was a loud knock on the entrance door to the Tower. One of the servants hurriedly opened the door and outside stood old Isobel Elliott. She had come in search of her husband and son.
Muttering a drunken oath Pringle grabbed the old woman and dragged her down to the dungeon. A loud scream came from the woman as she saw, hanging from hooks attached to the old oak beam, the bodies of her two menfolk, appearing more like carcasses of meat. The distraught woman staggered from the dungeon, fell to the ground and sobbed uncontrollably. The wicked laird looked down upon her, calling her an old witch. The old woman slowly dragged herself to her feet, her eyes burning with hatred. She faced the drunken laird and cursed him for what he had done.
From that time on Pringle was convinced that he was a haunted man. He was firmly convinced that he was haunted by ghostly hounds who could, and did, attack him at any time of day or night. Time after time his servants burst in upon him after hearing his screams to find him beating off unseen hounds. He would stagger off his horse after a long and furious ride pleading for his servants to save him from the ravages of unseen hounds that were plaguing him. Shortly afterwards Pringle died a painful death and even at the point of death he was still racked with convulsions as if still being attacked by the unseen hounds.
As the first anniversary of the laird's death approached, a ghostly figure was seen in the vicinity of the Tower, running for his life, towards the entrance, from a pack of baying spectral hounds. The following night everybody in the household heard the baying sounds and a voice calling for help, followed by a loud banging on the front door of the Tower. The voice sounded just like that of the former laird but when the door was opened the sounds ceased completely and the courtyard was found to be totally deserted. The sounds were heard again the following night, the first anniversary of the laird's death, but this time they came from the direction of the dungeon.
Since that time, every June, on the anniversary of the death of the Laird of Buckholm, these same sounds and heavy banging on the dungeon door have been heard coming in varying intensity from the depths of the Tower.
Hermitage Castle, nr Newcastleton, Borders.
The oldest part of Hermitage Castle dates back to the early 13th century and was built to repel marauding English bands who were very active at that time. Hermitage Castle has several ghosts.
One of them is that of Sir Alexander Ramsey, Sheriff of Tevitdale, who was tricked into visiting the castle on the pretext of spending time with his old friend Sir William Douglas, in 1342. The noble sheriff was set upon and thrown into the dungeon where he was left to die of starvation. In the early part of the 19th century a mason broken down the walls of what by then was the sealed up dungeon and discovered a skeleton and a rusty sword. Even today, heart-rending cries for help are heard coming from the dungeon together with groans and blood-curdling screams.
Hermitage Castle was also the home of Lord Soulis, better known as "Bad Lord Soulis", an enthusiastic black magician who used the black arts to perpetrate many terrible deeds. His favourite past-time seems to have been abducting young children from the neighbourhood and keeping them in the dungeon, probably the same dungeon where Sir Alexander was later to die, until he required them for his foul ceremonies. Following the massacre of Cout of Keilder and his party, after treacherously inviting them to a banquet at Hermitage, and further disappearances of local children, the local people petitioned Robert the Bruce to "dispose of him". Robert, already extremely annoyed at the stories he had heard about the happenings at Hermitage, agreed and joyfully the locals marched up to the castle, seized the evil lord and dragged him to a spot known as Nine Stones Rig, clapped in irons. There they boiled him in a vat of molten lead. The ghost of "Bad Lord Soulis" has been seen many times accompanied by his trusted servant Robin Redcap and sounds of demonical laughter have been heard at night in the deserted ruin.
As a castle with such a history of violence and bloodshed it not surprising that many different ghosts have been seen there. One, said to wear a beautiful white dress could be that of Mary, Queen of Scots, who certainly stayed at Hermitage for a short period.
Abbotsford, Melrose, Borders
Originally built as a villa in 1817, but added to in the next eight years into a large turreted mansion, the construction of Abbotsford was completely financed from the proceeds of Sir Walter Scott's novels. However Sir Walter overspent in the building of this magnificent house and was forced to leave in 1825 for a short period. By 1830 he had satisfied his creditors and was able to return to his beloved Abbotsford. He died there on 21st September, 1832, in his favourite room with a beautiful view of the River Tweed through his window.
In 1818, during the first of many alterations, Sir Walter reported "a violent noise, like the drawing of heavy boards along the new part of the house". The following night he heard the same noise again at exactly the same time - 2 am. Arming himself with his favourite sword "Beardies' Broadsword", he made a thorough search of the rooms but could find nothing that could account for the strange sounds.
He was later to learn that at 2 am on the first morning that he had heard the noises, George Bullock, his agent, the man responsible for much of the original building of Abbotsford, had died suddenly.
Stirling Castle, Stirling, Central
Perhaps the best known ghost of Stirling Castle is that of the Green Lady, a phantom said to appear at the most unexpected times and places in the castle. In recent years she is said to have caused dinner to be served late in the officers' mess - the castle is an Army garrison - when she appeared in the kitchens to watch the cook going about his catering chores. He, being aware of the feeling of being watched, turned and saw the misty-green figure totally absorbed in what he was doing, and promptly fainted.
In life the Green Lady could have been an attendant to Mary, Queen of Scots. Her greatest claim to fame at that time was that one night, whilst asleep, she had a dream that the Queen was in danger. Waking up with a start she had rushed to the Queen's bedchamber to find the curtains of the four-poster bed aflame with the Queen herself asleep inside. When the Queen was rescued from the burning bed she had recalled a prophecy that her life would be endangered by a fire whilst she was at Stirling Castle.
It has also be suggested that the Green Lady was the daughter of a governor of the castle who was betrothed to an officer garrisoned there. The poor man was accidentally killed by the girl's father and she in despair and anguish is said to have thrown herself from the battlements to her death on the rocks 250 feet below.
Any appearance of the Green Lady is taken very seriously by the authorities at the castle. Many of her appearances have been followed by a disaster of some kind and indeed several fires at the castle have followed a sighting of the silent figure.
The Upper Square of the castle, known as the Governor's Block, is where footsteps echo across the ceiling of a room at the top of a flight of stairs and yet there is nothing above that room except for a roof on which nobody could walk. In 1946 these footsteps were heard several times at infrequent intervals by an officer of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and in 1956 by a major occupying that room. In the 1820's there was a "sentry beat" along the battlement that then existed over the Governor's Block. One night a sentry, taking over guard duty, found the previous guard dead at his post, mouth wide open, a look of utter terror on his face. No explanation was ever made for this incident although it is known that after several other guards reported strange and terrifying incidents on the beat. The sentry duty above the Governor's Block was discontinued during early Victorian times.
Stirling Castle has also a Pink Lady, a young girl dressed in pink surrounded by a pink glow, who actually walks from the castle to the nearby church at Lady's Rock. It was at this spot that the women of the court used to watch their menfolk as they jousted. It is thought that this particular lady was one of the occupants of the castle when it was besieged by Edward I in 1304. She was the only one to escape from the castle and it is thought that she may return to the castle searching for her husband who was killed in the siege.
County Hotel, Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway
The County Hotel is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of the last of the Stuart Line, Prince Charles Edward, more commonly known as Bonny Prince Charlie, who is known to have stayed at the hotel in 1745. The room in which he stayed is now the Upper Lounge and is known as Prince Charlie's Room. The room in which he slept is through a now-disused doorway on the one side of the lounge.
The figure of Bonny Prince Charlie has been seen several times passing through the closed door from his old bedroom into the lounge, wearing Jacobite dress, standing deep in thought before turning and disappearing again through the same closed door, which incidentally is now barred by heavy furniture. The last reported sighting of the Prince was in the middle of the 1940's.
St Andrews, Fife
The town is said to get it's name from a 4th century ship that was wrecked nearby whilst carrying the relics of St Andrew himself. Work commenced on the cathedral in 1160 and it was finally consecrated in 1318. In it's time it was the second largest church in the world, only a little smaller than St Peter's in Rome. It has been a ruin since the days of the Reformation.
In the early 1700's a monk was brutally murdered by a jealous rival in one of the towers of the wall and his friendly ghost has been encountered many times over the years since. Although his appearances have been confined to the time of the full moon he has always been noted for his pleasant and helpful manner, both day and night.
Known as the Monk of St Rule's, he was seen by one Scottish visitor in 1948 as the latter was ascending the narrow winding stairs up to see the magnificent view from the top. Halfway up the stairs the visitor saw the monk standing still and as he approached the monk made way for him to pass. It was only when the visitor reached the top of the stairs that he realised that, although he must have brushed past the monk to pass him, he had felt nothing. It was when he returned to the bottom of the tower again that he was told about the ghostly monk.
The same tower is haunted by the ghost of a young lady, dressed in white and wearing elbow-length gloves, who has been seen walking in front of the tower, always on stormy nights. It is not known who the young lady is but it is rather interesting to note that in the 19th century a group of young men broke into one of the tombs at the Cathedral and found intact the bodies of several people, all perfectly preserved. One of these was a girl wearing a 14th century gown and elbow-length white gloves.