Castles are rich with the weight of history.
After all they’ve witnessed warfare, murder, births and deaths and Stirling Castle is no exception.
Located at a cross roads of key north-south and east-west routes through Scotland, it has a brutal and bloody history.
Dating back in 1110, the fortress has been attacked 16 times, with three major battlefields nearby and It has seen many wars, as well as sieges and executions.
A strategic fortification and one of the most important castles in Scottish history, Stirling Castle has suffered at least eight sieges, including several during the Wars of Scottish Independence, with the last attempt coming in 1746 when Bonnie Prince Charlie unsuccessfully tried to overthrow the castle.
Many Kings and Queens were crowned at the castle, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542.
But, anywhere that there is violent death, there is sure to be some ghosts and ghost stories around and, in fact, it boasts (at least) four spirits.
The first is often referred to as the Highland Warrior, due his vibrant kilt.
This apparition is said to be so convincing that many sightseers mistake him as a tour guide and approach him only to be shocked when he disappears in front of their eyes.
The ghost is often spotted walking through a doorway in the dungeons, but the chilling part of the story is that the doorway was bricked up years ago.
Our second castle’s resident is a pretty Pink Lady, a mysterious figure. She is commonly seen leaving the castle and heading towards the Church of the Holy Rude on Ladies Rock, where the wives of knights used to watch their husbands joust.
It is speculated that she was a survivor of Edward I’s siege on the castle in 1304, and probably she is perpetually searching for her husband who was killed during the battle.
Others say that she was a woman called Mary Witherspoon and was killed by bodysnatchers, that now roams the grounds, giving off an aroma of rose blossom.
Stirling Castle’s third spirit is unnamed, however, it is said that he was a guardsman in 1820.
As story goes, he was patrolling the roof when he was killed by an unknown force.
When his comrades found him he had a look of horror and fear etched onto his face. Now footsteps are heard pacing up and down the roof when it is known no one is up there.
Our final ghost is likely the most morbid of the residents, popularly known as the Green Lady, and there are two possible explanations for who she was in life, each tragic and sad.
First, it is speculated she was the daughter of one of the castle’s commanders and had a love story with one of the soldiers in her fathers command.
However, when her (overbearing) father found out about this he had a (little) overreaction and shot the soldier.
Heartbroken, she threw herself off the battlements.
However, the story that stems from some historical evidence is that she was a young Highland girl who attended the castle as a servant of Mary, Queen of Scots. She was said to be highly superstitious, and convinced that a terrible fate would befall Mary on the night of 13 September 1561.
The story goes that the girl was sure a terrible fire would break out in Mary’s room at the castle.
She vowed to remain awake all night to guard the queen, but couldn’t quite manage it as, in her drowsiness, she accidentally set fire to the queen’s bed-curtains with a candle. The queen survived, but the poor girl fell victim to her own vision and died that night in the fire.
We have records to show that this fire took place, but we no written evidence of the existence of the girl, or her foretelling of her own terrible death.
In any case, now she haunts the castle and, although we do not know for sure who she was, it is said that if you look in her eyes you will meet your fate soon, bringing misery and doom to those unlucky enough to find themselves in her company.
Other reports are of phantom footsteps in the Governor’s Block, believed to emanate from one of the empty chambers upstairs but, either way, Stirling Castle sure has some spooky sights, from dead guards to heartbroken women, in a vortex of horror and death. And is worth a visit.
Images from web – Google Research