Follow VisitScotland

Stranger Things in Scotland

Press Release   •   Sep 21, 2017 10:43 BST

Edinburgh's famous underground vaults..... who (or what) goes there?

Halloween & Friday the 13th October provide a month of thrills & chills!

Arguably the most ‘haunted’ country in the world*, Scotland is home to ‘true’ myths, legends and superstitions, the likes with which horror fiction can only compete: from the Loch Ness Monster, Burke & Hare to the ghosts of Culloden. With a Friday the 13th just two weeks before Halloween in 2017, October is the perfect time to head to Scotland for a fascinating slice of history.

Visitors to Scotland can indulge in Scotland’s rich history, heritage and archaeology, all served up with a dark twist in the tale, across the many cities, towns and islands - in addition to exploring a variety of tours and events on offer…

Friday the 13th

Condemned - The Real Mary King’s Close

2 Warriston's Close, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PG

Friday, 13 - Saturday, 21 October 2017 (10.15pm; lasts one hour)

The Condemned tour offers a unique insight into Edinburgh’s fascinating history with the occult, telling the stories of its infamous accomplices and most ardent opponents.

Travel back to a time when fear and suspicion lurked around every corner, and witch trials were a regular occurrence. Hear how the inhabitants of Mary King’s Close and the surrounding streets were implicated and the fate that befell them. Join a character guide on a journey, documenting how and why attitudes changed over time.

Ticket price: £16.95 (age 16+) Book online: www.realmarykingsclose.com/event/condemned-halloween-tours

Dark tours and trails

The Linlithgow ExFEARience

Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian

Friday 27-Sunday 29 October 2017, see website for times

As night falls, come to the palace that awaits the witching hour. Tour the dark corridors of the palace, hear tales from the past and meet some unexpected characters along the way.

Ticket price: £12 (advanced booking essential) www.historicenvironment.scot

The Midnight Hour - Mercat Tours

Edinburgh; tours usually start from the Mercat Cross on the Royal Mile. See website for full details

Friday 27–Tuesday 31 October

A walk through Edinburgh’s Old Town, and a wander through the Blair Street Underground Vaults in the dead of night, this Halloween tour is only for the steely-willed: it takes serious nerve to keep cool in the gloom and darkness, among the spirits of Auld Reekie.For ticket prices and age restrictions, please see website. Mercat Tours offers other tours around Halloween and throughout the year. See www.mercattours.com/toursfor more information.

Dark Tales of Old Moffat – Mostly Ghostly

Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway

Friday, 27 October, 7pm

Murder, mystery, heroes and history! Starting at the iconic Moffat Ram, join the Mostly Ghostly guides and explore a darker, more curious side to this wonderfully vibrant town. Discover dark deeds, colourful characters, tales of bravery and mysterious encounters when meandering through ancient streets and atmospheric closes... A must-do for lovers of history and lore!

Ticket prices: from £8, see www.mostlyghostly.org/dark-tales-old-moffat for full details.

Perfect for families

Halloween @ the National Museum of Rural Life

Wester Kittochside, Philipshill Road, East Kilbride, G76 9HR

Tuesday, 31 October, 5–7pm

Families will find plenty of spooky happenings at the National Museum of Rural Life this autumn at this free evening of fun and games. Celebrate the scariest night of the year and test skill at apple dooking; make Halloween decorations in the craft room, hear spooky stories and take part in scary trails, as well as lots of other spirited activities.

Free to attend. For more information see: www.nms.ac.uk/national-museum-of-rural-life/whats-on/halloween/

Cinematic scares

Psycho live, with the RSNO

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Thursday, 26 October 2017, 7.30pm

Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Friday, 27 October, 7.30pm

The Bates Motel, that strange young man, the horror behind the shower-curtain – there’s never been a thriller quite as terrifying as Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. And there’s never been a film score quite like Bernard Herrmann’s: those stabbing violins have been the soundtrack to all our nightmares. Join the RSNO in big-screen showing, with Bernard Herrmann’s score performed live.

Ticket price: from £19 (age 15+) Book online: www.rsno.org.uk/film

Frights & Flicks at Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle, near Turriff, Aberdeenshire

Saturday, 28 October, 7.30pm

Presenting a ‘Halloween night for grown ups’, for one night only visitors can put on their best costumes and spend the evening in a ‘haunted’ 13th century castle. Following a drink upon arrival and a tour of the castle - with tales of curses, murder, and hauntings – the party will convene in the Victorian Gallery for a screening of the 90’s horror classic Scream.

Ticket price: £20 (age 18+) Book online: www.nts.org.uk/Events/By-Theme/Halloween

More dark nights in November

Glasgow Horror Festival 2017

The Classic Grand, Jamaica Street, Glasgow G1 4QD

4 – 5 November 2017 (see website for full details).

Two days and two nights of frightful entertainment bags including indie horror film screenings, industry Q&A sessions, costume prizes, live music and much more. Watch a fabulously gory drag show or browse for ghoulish memorabilia at the convention-style ‘horror-market’. The event organisers aim to bring the international horror festival and convention vibe to Glasgow, with some Scottish twists. https://filmfreeway.com/festival/GlasgowHorrorFestival2017

Scotland’s spookiest spots

Edinburgh has a long and dark history of war, bloodshed and ghosts. Check out ‘on the dark side’ of the Story of Edinburgh in 101 Objects at http://edinburgh.org/101/ (select ‘Filter Themes’) for a DIY tour of Edinburgh’s darker side, including witchcraft links to Edinburgh Castle, miniature coffins found at the city Arthur’s Seat and a Scottish guillotine!

Glamis Castle in Angus has a long reputation as one of the most haunted castles in Scotland. King Malcolm II was murdered here leaving a bloodstain on the floor, which defied all efforts to be removed, and eventually the floor was boarded over. The castle is also said to contain secret rooms, one of which is believed to house a monster which roamed at night. A ghost named the ‘Grey Lady’ is also said to haunt the Chapel.

St Andrews is a historic seaside town in Fife steeped in legend, with stories of ghosts of murdered archbishops, John Knox and even the Devil himself wandering the streets! The Cathedral ruins are said to be haunted by an unidentified lady in a long white dress with a veil, holding a book in her clasped hands.

Stirling has its fair share of ghostly tales. The ‘Pink Lady’ is said to have been a noblewoman engaged to a brave knight who starved to death inside Stirling Castle during the Wars of Independence. She in turn died, not from malnourishment but from the pain of a broken heart. Her spirit roams the castle awaiting the day their souls will be entwined once more. The Stirling GhostWalk tour offers drama and comedy on the city’s dark past. See www.stirlingghostwalk.com for more information.

Culzean Castle in Ayrshirehas a ghostly piper, who is reputed to have been searching caves beneath the castle when he disappeared. The pipes are said to herald the announcement of a marriage, and also to be heard on stormy nights. His apparition is also said to have been seen in the grounds of the castle, both on Piper's Brae and near the ruinous collegiate church.

Culloden Moor in Inverness-shire is the site of the tragic end to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie and 5000 Highlanders were defeated by The Duke of Cumberland and over 9000 Government troops just outside Inverness in the Highlands. Here, by the memorial cairn, there has often been seen the dim form of a battle-worn Highlander. Some years ago, a woman who was visiting Culloden chanced to look into the Well of the Dead and as she did so she saw the reflection of a Highlanderlooking back at her. This is only one of many reported sightings on the moor.

For more information on Halloween in Scotland, please go to: www.visitscotland.com/halloween

For information on the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, please go to www.visitscotland.com/hha2017

Notes to Editors

*Edinburgh is included in Rough Guides list of the ‘World’s Most Spooky Haunted Places’, updated 9 January 2017 www.roughguides.com/gallery/worlds-most-haunted-places/ . Edinburgh Castle and Culloden Moor are also included in the Telegraph’s ‘The world's 25 most scary, haunted and macabre places’, 13 January 2017: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/galleries/The-worlds-scariest-places/scary17/

2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology began on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017Well,

About VisitScotland

  • VisitScotland launched its global Spirit of Scotland campaign in 2016. To find out more go to www.visitscotland.com or join the conversation by using #ScotSpirit
  • VisitScotland’s Community site was set up for the Scottish public to help, engage and enthuse potential visitors about the country. To get involved go to: www.visitscotland.com/community
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, for tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/