Haunted Scottish Castles
by Sorchia DuBois
As a financially-challenged writer, my midweek escapes usually don’t go much further than my own porch, but I have high hopes of broadening my experiences. If I had the option, I would point my toes in the direction of Scotland.
You can’t swing a dead cat in Scotland without hitting a haunted castle—though swinging cats, dead or otherwise, is not the best way to plan a vacation. When I was researching for my Zoraida Grey trilogy, I read enough about castles to know I belong in one. No single castle served as inspiration. Instead, the haunted castle in the series is a combination of many real castles. I took the tastiest bits of reality, added a touch of imagination, and steeped the whole thing in magic. The result is Castle Logan, home of the bewitching Logan clan.
While you can’t spend a night in Castle Logan, many haunted castles offer rooms for the courageous—or foolhardy—tourist. Here are two.
Tulloch Castle Hotel
A very old castle, the original structure may date back as far as 1166. Tulloch Hill has been the site of human activity since the Neolithic and Bronze Age. The castle sits between two fault lines, which occasionally produce minor tremors, adding to the intrigue and mystery of the site. In the 1800s, Duncan Davidson, the 4th laird of Tulloch acquired the moniker of “The Stag” because he fathered at least eighteen children by five wives along with a number in excess of thirty illegitimate offspring. The Green Lady who haunts the castle is said to be his daughter. The story goes that she stumbled upon him and a female companion in a compromising situation. She fled and fell down the stairs.
The Stag succumbed to pneumonia at the age of 81. His fifth wife survived him—which fulfilled a prophecy of the Brahan Seer who predicted all five wives and that the last would outlive the laird.
Recently, two female skeletons were unearthed during renovations. Local folklore says they may have been nuns.
For only £85 to £135 or $112 to $180 per night, you can spend a terrifying night in Tulloch Castle. Experiences reported include night terrors and a suffocating presence, the floating apparition known as The Green Lady, the appearance of two young girls and their mother in Victorian dress, and numerous unexplained bumps, bangs, touches, whispers, and so on.
The castle that most resembles fictional Castle Logan is real life Culzean (pronounced Cu-LANE) Castle. It sits on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea and has battlements and turrets galore. The caves beneath the castle reek with legend which I used to flesh out the history of Castle Logan. You can even get a tour of them in the summer. Culzean Castle would be a deliciously spooky place to spend the night.
Back in the day—and by that I mean waaay back in the sixteenth century–– an unlucky chap was roasted nearly to death in the dungeons. His screams and the crackling of a roaring fire still trouble guests who visit the site—known as The Black Vault.
Ghosts include a lady in a ballgown, a mysterious piper, and a White Lady who may be the spirit of a mistreated servant girl.
It will cost a cool £150 to £375 or $200 to $500 per night—but Wow!
Tulloch Castle and Culzean Castle are only two haunted castle hotels. Any one of them would make a midweek escape to remember—if you survive.
Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones blurb
Granny’s dying, but Zoraida can save her with a magic crystal of smoky quartz. Too bad the crystal is in Scotland––in a haunted castle––guarded by mind-reading, psychopathic sorcerers.
Getting inside Castle Logan is easy. Getting out––not so much. Before she can snatch the stone, Zoraida stumbles into a family feud, uncovers a wicked ancient curse, and finds herself ensorcelled by not one but two handsome Scottish witches. Up to their necks in family intrigue and smack-dab in the middle of a simmering clan war, Zoraida and her best friend Zhu discover Granny hasn’t told them everything.
Not by a long shot.
Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones Excerpt
We are in a land of green hillsides and bubbling brooks. Jagged ridges drop sharply to murky lochs and craggy mountains. The highway winds up the side of a hill and whips ninety degrees around, heading down the other side.
“You don’t suppose that’s it, do you.” Zhu sticks her head out the window like a puppy. The wind lashes
her long hair around her head. She points across a wide valley.
I suck in a sharp breath, and it’s all I can do not to stomp the brakes. On the very tiptop of a rocky crag, a castle overlooks the steel blue waters of a narrow loch. Gray walls and turrets cast long, dark shadows across the clustered houses of a village huddled beneath the curve of the hill. Flickers of green and blue shimmer around the castle walls, subtle but steady. The entire place glows with magic.
“Sweet Mother Merryweather!” I cast quick glances from the twisting road to the castle. A green roadside sign reads Black Bridge with the Gaelic name Loch an Drochaiddubh below.
As we approach the village, the castle looms against the darkening sky, and the buzzards in my stomach do stunt dives. A tall black tower juts far above the rest of the castle walls. I squint, trying to focus on the tiny figure behind the crenellated fortifications at its very top. The back of my neck prickles as if unfriendly eyes are on me.
Get your own copy of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones and get ready for book 2 in the series, Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen.
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