Tag Archive: ghosts

Spectral Pipers–Musical Ghosts of Scotland

Scottish bagpipes and Scottish Ghosts get equal billing in Sorchia’s Universe for this post. Maligned as much as they are loved, bagpipes and bagpipers play a huge (yuuuge) part in Scottish paranormal lore.

But before we get to the ghosts:piper

Why do bagpipers walk while they play?  A moving target isharder to hit. 
What's the difference between a bagpiper and an onion? 
Nobody cries when you chop up a bagpiper.
I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired 
when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig 
under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made object never 
equalled the purity of sound achieved by the pig. 
-Alfred Hitchcock



The Handless Piper at Duntrune Castle



Duntrune Castle http://www.duntrunecastle.com/the-castle.html

Duntrune Castle http://www.duntrunecastle.com/the-castle.html

Duntrune Castle, on the north side of Loch Crinan in Argyll, is thought to be the oldest continuously occupied castle on mainland Scotland. At least one ghost roams the castle, a handless piper.

One legend dates to the time the MacDonalds besieged and captured the castle from the Campbells.  The MacDonald leader, Alastair Mac Colla, left a garrison to guard the castle. The garrison included Mac Colla’s personal piper.  While Mac Colla was a way, the Campbells recaptured the castle but soon sighted Mac Colla’s boats across the loch, returning to the castle with no knowledge it had changed ownership in his absence. Hoping to keep it that way and lure Mac Colla’s men within bow shot, the Campbells put the piper on the ramparts and told him to pipe  the traditional welcome. The piper did as he was told, but as soon as Mac Colla got close enough to hear the music clearly, the piper changed his tune, piping out Scottish aire the Pibroch—“The Pipers Warning,” the Scottish equivalent of an alarm .  

Mac Colla turned his boats around and lived to fight another day. The piper wasn’t so lucky. The Campbell’s cut off his hands and watched him bleed out in the courtyard.  Now the ghost of the piper haunts the castle, playing his pipes which are often heard clear across the loch. To make it even more fun, in 1880 during renovations, workmen found a skeleton beneath the flagstones in the courtyard. A skeleton with no hands.


Headless Drummer and the Phantom Piper of  Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most haunted places in the entire haunted country. Among its ghosts are a headless drummer and a phantom piper. The piper is supposed to be the ghost of a piper who was sent to explore the  mysterious tunnels beneath the city. The idea was that he would play as he walked the caverns while those above followed the sound and made a map. Everything was going just fine—which proves that the sound of bagpipes will penetrate nearly anything––when the music abruptly stopped. Despite repeated searches, the piper was never found. Muffled piping  coming from beneath the streets is often heard throughout the city, as well as in the castle.

The headless drummer appeared in 1650 just before Cromwell attacked the castle. Though he hasn’t been seen since, many visitors report the sound of drumming inside the castle. Some suggest he warns of imminent danger.


The Disappearing Piper of Culross Abbey

Culross Abbey

Tunnels play a part in the genesis of the blind piper of Culross Abbey. Built on the sight of an ancient Pictish church, a hidden tunnel is purported to exist beneath the structure. Supposedly, the tunnel leads to treasure—some say a man sits on a golden chair willing to give treasure to anyone who is brave and persistent enough to find their way to him. A blind piper decided to give it a try. He and his dog entered the tunnel and, as he roved the subterranean passageways, people above the ground reported hearing his pipes miles away from his starting point. The dog eventually found his way out, but the piper was never seen again. Now the occasional muffled piping and hooded figure in the Abbey suggest he may linger in the area.

For a tour of the Abbey, accompanied by spooky music and Scottish accents, here’s a little video.



Follow Sorchia’s Universe for more ghosts and legends. The first EVER newsletter goes out in March and the first EVER freebie will be available to loyal followers in May. Lots of exciting things happening in Sorchia’s Universe in 2016!! 
Stay tuned in April for the A-Z Blog Tour when my topic will be Things That Go Bump in the Night!

Colorful Ghosts–Female Apparitions of Scotland

The Green Lady of Comlongon Castle

Whether she jumped or was pushed, Lady Marion Curruthers died at the foot of the castle tower where legend says no grass has ever grown.  Before his death,

Comlongon Castle

Comlongon Castle

her father arranged a marriage for her with Sir James Douglas. Only problem—she hated every inch of his guts. After her father’s death, she refused to marry Sir James Douglas. Defying a decree some said came from Mary Queen of Scots herself, Lady Marion found herself locked in the tower by her uncle. The story goes that she jumped out the window in despair on the 25th of September, 1570. Another story has the uncle’s minions tossing her out because of her recalcitrance. Either way, she is not a happy apparition and appears as a weeping lady in a long green gown. And who can blame her? Sir James Douglas, by virtue of his legal betrothal to Lady Marion and despite her protests inherited all the wealth and lands. To top it off, no one was ever punished for her murder, if murder it was.


The White Lady of Claypotts Castle

Claypotts Castle

Claypotts Castle

A lady in white who waves a handkerchief from the window is supposed to be either Marion Ogilvie, mistress of Cardinal Beaton who was murdered on May 29th 1546 or the ghost of a mistress of John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee—aka Bonnie Dundee or bluidy Clavers. Rumor had it that John Graham performed diabolic rituals in the castle, but that may have been propaganda spread by his enemies. However, tales of orgies, screaming, demonic images, and the sounds of cackling laughter and  the stomping of the Horses of Hell kept the populace a healthy distance away from the castle come nightfall. The Lady is said to return to the castle on the 29th of May. John Graham was killed at the battle of Killiecrankie in 1689 and is also reported to return on the 29thof May.

The Grey Lady of Glamis Castle

Lady Jane Douglas was burned for witchcraft in 1540. King James V, who never liked the

Glamis Castle:http://de.academic.ru/dic.nsf/dewiki/526083

Glamis Castle:http://de.academic.ru/dic.nsf/dewiki/526083

plaguey Douglas clan anyhow, appropriated the lavish castle after the scandal. She is often seen in the clock tower surrounded by flames. She might be the grey lady who frequents the chapel, a solid figure who disappears into thin air. Glamis Castle is a busy place, supernaturally speaking, housing no fewer than a dozen ghosts. You can’t swing a dead cat without stirring up one spirit or another.



The Pink Lady of Stirling Castle

Stirling CastleSix years after Edward I defeated William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298, Stirling Castle was the last stronghold of Scotland. Edward and his twelve siege engines at last had the Scots treed. He besieged the castle in 1304. For four long months, The English bombarded Stirling with Greek fire, rocks, and whatever else they could lay their hands on. Though the garrison of 30 surrendered, many died of starvation during the siege. The Pink Lady is thought to be a noblewoman who pined away  for her lover who died a slow death in the Castle. People say the faint scent of rose lingers just before she appears. She wanders between the Kirk Tower and the Castle, waiting for the Day of Judgement when she will find her brave Scottish knight again.


The Green Lady of Dunstaffnage Castle

She walks the ramparts when important events for Clan Campbell are in the offing. If she smiles,

the Campbells can expect good luck. If she weeps––Not so much.

Dunstaffnage Castle: By Anne Burgess, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=447359

Dunstaffnage Castle: By Anne Burgess, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=447359


Scotland is chocked full of ghosts—pink ladies, green ladies, blue ladies, grey ladies, white ladies––not to mention ghostly pipers, headless apparitions, purple fingered demons, and flesh-eating, blood-sucking goblins. Read about many of them, as well as creepy critters from other cultures,  during April when I explore Things that Go Bump in the Night for the fabulous A-Z Blog Challenge.

Sign up to Follow Sorchia’s Universe to recieve the first EVER newsletter on March 15–Freebies and exciting news–and to get notifications of new blog posts.

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Jumping at Shadow People

Dark forms in the corner. A sense something is moving just out of sight. A figure reflected for an instant in the window or TV screen. People have been jumping at shadows for at least two millennia—probably longer. Some of those cave drawings of weird stick figures and wavy clouds may be the cro-magnon equivalent of Ghost Hunters. (Yeah—I know that’s wrong for a lot of reasons, but go with me here.)


Theories abound about shadow People but I think we can boil them down to just a few:

A––Watching too many episodes of X-Files

B––Alcohol-related or psychosis-inspired hallucinations

C––Absolute imagination

D––Something Else

Probably ninety-nine percent of all reports of shadow people fall into the first three categories, which leaves the one percent of Something Else to deal with.

OK—if you have a light source, you will have shadows. The differences between shadow people and plain old shadows like the rabbits Uncle Bob used to make on the wall to get you to go to sleep are many. Also, unless Uncle Bob had some issues, those little rabbit shadows didn’t reach out their little bunny noses to touch you. Shadow people, on the other hand, do. (Who knows if this is photoshopped or not, but it’s fun to watch at least.)


So what scares people enough to risk the humiliation and mockery of reporting the phenomena?

  • Solid looking black figures—The shadow seems to have mass. Light does not pass through it, but sometimes seems to outline the figure as though it were three dimensional.
  • A hat—Yep. The well-dressed shadow person may don a Zorro sombrero or a top hat. Enough people report this to justify a separate kind of shadow person called Hat Man. The guy in the top hat seems to be friendly, but the guy in the fedora is a real jerk.
  • Glowing red eyes—Not all shadow figures have red eyes, but then they don’t have to. Of course, red eyes automatically mean Satan.
  • A menacing feeling—some suspect the shadow people feed off fear ala Star Trek episodes “Day of the Dove” and “Wolf in the Fold.” This fearful reaction tends to make people assume shadow people are evil. It could be that we feel a menace not because they are demons, but because of the electromagnetic discharge—a result of inter-dimensional travel or a characteristic of the creature. Electromagnetic fields can make people feel uncomfortable and can even elicit a kind of hysteria.
  • Quick, disjointed movements—This is freaky! Victims say the shadow person seemed out of sync with the laws of physics. Remember those little black critters who got the bad guy at the end of Ghost? Eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwww.

  • Sudden disappearance—You look away and look back and Bang! the figure is gone leaving you wondering if that third glass of Scotch was such a good idea after all.
  • Occasional playful behavior—hiding and peeking from behind doorways or furniture. Peek a BOO, ya sonuvabitch.
  • Occasional aggressive behavior such as jumping on the chest and choking—which leads skeptics to cite instances of sleep paralysis as the impetus for a nightmarish reaction.
  • Sometimes preceded or accompanied by bumping on the ceiling or walls.


And now for the theories—excluding A-C above.

  • Inter-dimensional beings–They appear black to us because we don’t have the colors they do on their side of the inter-dimensional divide. Whether they are friendly or not depends on why they are here and what they want.
  • Time Travelers—Could explain the jerky movements since they are not totally at home in this time. Again, why are they here? I’m hoping one of them isn’t my great-great-great grand child who will accidentally erase the entire family with one inopportune stumble against the gun rack.
  • Astral projection—What we see when someone is on an astral road trip into our bedroom—not comforting.
  • Ghosts—Since Shadow People is a generic term for any black shadowy form, some may be run of the mill ghosts.
  • Demons—OK—I have to tell you that I do not believe in demons in the sense of sent-by-Lucifer-to-steal-my-soul demons. Bad things exist, however, who are totally unrelated to the boogey men of man-made religion. And by bad, I mean, bad for me either because I am inconsequential to the entity or because I am in the way somehow.  Demon is a broad term (like Shadow People and Republican) which needs to be refined.
Retrieved from http://haunted12.blogspot.com/2012/07/black-shadow-people.html

Retrieved from http://haunted12.blogspot.com/2012/07/black-shadow-people.html

Now to the real-life case study.

An acquaintance, let’s call her Betty, related this experience.

Betty was sleeping in an old house that had been empty for a number of months. She heard noises on the roof and persistent thumping on the walls. Assuming some little animal had taken up residence, she turned over and went to sleep despite the uncomfortable feeling that someone was watching her.

 Betty spent the next night with a friend, let’s call him Billy the Wrench. During the night, Betty jolted out of sleep. In the corner of the bedroom stood a dark figure with red eyes. Betty stared at it for a number of minutes, feeling an intense and disturbing menace from the figure. When she blinked and reopened her eyes, the figure was gone.

The next morning, Betty investigated the room to see what could have caused the shadow. No coats were draped over chairs, no electronics reflected red buttons in the window. And this is a good time to say that Betty was totally sober at the time. She is a reliable witness and a skeptic of most things spooky and paranormal. Though she will admit the possibility of such things, she does not jump willy-nilly into instant belief and must be convinced.

Betty, feeling that the figure must have just been a very bad dream, didn’t mention it to Billy the Wrench.  Without such prompting, Billy the Wrench commented that he had also observed the figure of a man in the bedroom during the night. He had also assumed the appearance was part of a dream but told Betty about it to explain any restlessness Betty might have noticed.

The two of them have not experienced anything since, but the weird feeling lingers. When Betty told me the story, I was (unbeknownst to Betty) working on the Skinwalker post of last week and for a minute we were a little worried that my curiosity had attracted the interest of such a creature. Since then, we’ve decided  (partly because we just don’t want to consider the alternative) that this was a regular shadow person, possibly attracted to a bit of drama in Betty’s life.

Whatever the reason—a bad dream or honest-to-goodness shadow person in the flesh (or whatever), it made for a nice blog topic!


Next Week: Demons

G is for Ghost

In Just Like Gravity, ghosts flit around an old house. One of them tosses books at Anna’s head, but another one shares important information with her. You can’t write a Scottish story without ghosts. My ghosts always wind up being charming and funny since I am charming and funny, myself. But what about the tortured, scary, pull-you-out-the-top-floor-window-and-laugh-while-you-fall kind of ghosts?

Do you believe in spooks?

Yes, photos and recordings are touted as proof, but it’s awfully easy to fake a picture or audio. And it’s too easy to make a mistake or interpret incorrectly. People look for connections and hearing a ghostly voice through static or seeing a face in the mist may fall into that category. On the other hand, the idea of ghosts has been around for a long time. And where there’s mist, there may be specters.

I’ve talked to otherwise steady and practical-minded people who swear they’ve had “experiences.” A game camera near an old cemetery caught odd lights on a cold November night. A security camera on a friend’s porch followed a black mist. An old woman at the side of the road at midnight disappears in a wink. Shadows and reflections where there shouldn’t be shadows and reflections send me running to turn on all the lights when I’m home alone, but it’s easy to creep yourself out. It’s one thing to sit around a fire with friends telling ghost stories and it’s quite another to be walking alone through the cemetery at dusk on Halloween. I did this kind of by accident and, spooks or no spooks, grass didn’t grow under my feet on that walk.

So DO you believe in spooks? Have a ghost story to share, an image, an opinion? Share it below.

And if you have not already visited my website at sorchiadubois.com, you might buzz over to grab a copy of Just Like Gravity.

Cover by Oghma Creative Media

Cover by Oghma Creative Media