Edinburgh Castle Ghost

Edinburgh Castle was used initially as a settlement around 850 AD, which became a royal residence in the 12th century and a military depot in the 17th century. Today, it is the most besieged castle in Britain, with 23 attacks throughout Scotland’s long history. Edinburgh Castle Ghost has been haunting the castle and its people for hundreds of years. The castle has seen its fair share of death, battles, torture, and executions over the years. Therefore, it is no surprise that hundreds of reports of paranormal activity from both staff members and visitors have been reported in Edinburgh Castle over the years.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle, by byronv2, is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Edinburgh Castle Ghost Stories

Numerous Edinburgh Castle Ghost Stories are hiding within the walls of this historic castle. One of these spine-tingling stories features the ghost named ‘The Ghostly Piper Boy.’ Several hundred years ago, a network of tunnels was discovered at the castle along the Royal Mile towards the Holyrood Palace. In order to determine where these tunnels led, a piper was sent to explore them, as the entrance was only small enough for only the local boy piper to get through. As he walked through the tunnels, the piper played his pipes loudly to alert the others outside of his location. However, the bagpipes sound stopped approximately halfway to the palace. When a rescue party entered the tunnels to locate the piper, they discovered that he had vanished without a trace. Distressed by his disappearance, the city council ordered that the tunnel be resealed. On some quiet days when the noise from traffic is not there, the faint sound of bagpipes can still be heard below the Royal Mile between the castle and palace.

Another ghost story doing the rounds was about ‘The Headless Drummer Boy’ when the Edinburgh Castle Ghost was first spotted in 1650. The spirit of a headless drummer boy was seen roving around the castle corridors, his eerie music being heard by those below. According to legends, whenever the drummer boy’s ghost is spotted, it is a harbinger of an attack against the castle. It last occurred in 1650, a year after Charles I was beheaded.

Strange experiences around Edinburgh, including sword-shaped meteors speeding across the sky and spectral soldiers riding horseback over nearby hills, have been recorded. The castle sentries reported the drummer boy ghost playing his drum along the castellations each night in one series of events. The more disturbing fact was that he reportedly lacked a head, much like Charles. Having heard this, the governor of the castle decided to investigate the matter himself to unravel the mystery of these mysterious ghostly sightings. The governor never saw a ghost but heard a drum playing an old Scottish war tune in alliance with the sound of numerous feet marching to the beat. The sounds of the procession went towards and subsequently passed the governor. However, it is astonishing that the sighting of the drummer occurred during the same year as Oliver Cromwell’s troops were laying siege to the castle, i.e., 1650, thereby giving credence to the folklore.

Another bizarre incident about Edinburgh Castle Ghost comes to light when talking about the paranormal occurrences in the castle. The story started in 2003 when members of a construction crew working on restoring the structure claimed that they were harassed by ghosts of prisoners back from the Napoleonic Wars. The men working in the Queen Anne building captured various photos of the same, and it resembles hazy blue orbs floating above their heads. In some cases, workers were so scared that they refused to work alone.

However, the most tragic Edinburgh Castle Ghost story is of a mysterious lady dressed as a 16th-century noblewoman. She has been spotted around the older parts of the castle, sometimes just wandering about, other times weeping. The story of the ghost, Janet Douglas, is a tragic story of revenge against an innocent young woman. It was orchestrated by the then king, James V, who succeeded in his endeavours by accusing her of a baseless charge of witchcraft and poisoning. She was burned at the wooden stake outside the castle on 17 July 1537, in front of her son. Her spirit, known as ‘The Grey Lady,’ has been haunting the castle ever since. A knocking sound can be heard outside the castle, thought to be the hammering of the workmen building the scaffold in which Janet was burned alive. Visitors claim to have seen shadowy figures and mysterious orbs in the dungeon where people like Lady Janet’s servants, prisoners of war, and enemy spies were tortured and left to die.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle, by byronv2, is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Summary of Edinburgh Castle Ghost

Edinburgh Castle ghost stories have convinced many about the existence of the otherworldly. Even scientists have not been able to explain the many mysterious occurrences they have encountered in their many experiments. Their experiments have shown that most paranormal activities were recorded in the vaults. It led them to believe that these stories may just be more than fiction. Would you be willing to take the Edinburgh Castle ghost walk and find out the truth?

If you liked reading about the Edinburgh Castle Ghost, you should also read about Nunney Castle Ghost, Leap Castle Ghosts & Carew Castle Ghost!

He is a versatile E-Learning Support Officer and former Academic Officer at the University of York, United Kingdom. Not just an expert in education and technology, Debayan also has a deep love for castles and mountains. With a passion for travel, having explored 168+ cities worldwide, and a keen eye for photography, He brings a unique blend of experiences to the table. Specializing in E-learning content, IT support, AR development, and software engineering, Debayan has made a significant impact, educating over 200,000 students on Udemy.

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