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Argyll and Bute Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Bagpiper

Location: Duntrune - Duntrune (or Duntroon) Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This musician piped a warning to his MacDonald clan leader that he was entering a Campbell trap - as punishment, the Campbells' took the piper and cut off his fingers, leaving him to bleed to death. The bagpiper's warning, a wild and unusual tune, now drifts across the landscape.

Giraffe's Neck

Location: Firth of Clyde - Cumbrae Islands - waters off Great Cumbrae
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: August 1911
Further Comments: A partly submerged creature with a neck not dissimilar to that of a giraffe, though it had the head of a camel, was seen in the waters by several fishermen.

Handprint

Location: Ford - Killinever Chapel
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Over the entrance of the chapel, the imprint of a hand can be seen. This was made by the resident ghost as it tried to grab a tailor who spent the night in the building, the latter character trying (vainly) to disprove the existence of spooks.

Charging Beast

Location: Gare Loch - Mouth of the loch
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1918, and pre-1527
Further Comments: Two fishermen out collecting lobster pots reported seeing an unidentified creature which rose thirty feet out of the water and charged towards them. They quickly rowed ashore. A sixteenth century text states that a water horse the size of a greyhound emerged and killed three men with as many swipes of its tail; the remainder of the group survived by running away or climbing the trees.

Urisk

Location: Glen Lyon - Inbhirinneoin (Burn)
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Evidence that shows this part fairy, part human hybrid still to be in the area occasionally turns up. A barrow known locally as the 'Mound of the Dead' is thought to be an entrance to Hell.

Healing Waters

Location: Glen Lyon - Mineral Wishing Well
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Once upon a time, people would leave gifts next to the well in return for it bestowing magical waters to the giver.

Beithir

Location: Glencoe - Ben Vair (aka Ben Vehir), in a mountain to the south of the area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A beithir is an unknown savage animal, sometimes thought to be a serpent or dragon. One such creature was said to have made its home in the mountainous region.


Glencoe, Scotland.

Clan MacDonald

Location: Glencoe - General area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 13 February (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Murdered in cold blood by the clan Campbell, these 38 MacDonald family members return to the scene of the crime.

Long Creature

Location: Helensburgh - Eastern part of the beach, mouth of the Clyde
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: February 1962
Further Comments: Seen as it crossed the beach and vanished into the sea, the creature was said to have a head around a metre in length. Large footprints were left in the sand. A strong unpleasant smell also remained in the air, and the witness's dog was in an 'upset' state after the sighting.

Rooftop Hounds

Location: Hynish - Fort at foot of hill in the area
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This old fort was used by two sons of a local farmer to watch over the family cattle overnight, as the pasture was far from the family home. One evening, the children's mother heard a voice warning her that her sons were in danger. The mother ran to the fort and found her sons terrified, claiming that they had heard fairy hounds stomping and howling on the roof of the fort.

Hound Eater

Location: Hynish, Tiree - General area
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Renowned for its dislike of canines (it is blamed for tearing apart stray local hounds), this Cu Sith (sometimes described as a human-wolf hybrid) has been seen during both day and night.

English Soldiers

Location: Inveraray - A819 north of town
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Dressed in red coats, a squad of English troops match in formation along this road. This may relate to a sighting of a phantom army seen in the mid-eighteenth century by two local men - the field where this sighting occurred is now urbanised.


An old postcard showing Inveraray Castle.

Harp Player

Location: Inveraray - Inveraray Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Executed in 1644, this ghostly musician now returns and plucks his strings. He also is heard in the library throwing books around, though none are ever moved.


A magic lantern slide of Inveraray Cross.

Battleground

Location: Inveraray - Skies around Inveraray Castle
Type: Environmental Manifestation
Date / Time: 10 July 1758
Further Comments: A total of five witnesses in two different places watched a battle over the skies of the castle, between the Highlander regiment and garrisoned French troops. This mirrored real events in America, where 300 Highlanders were killed assaulting a fort.

Redcoats

Location: Inverary - Glen Aray area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1765
Further Comments: A father and son returning from Glen Shira spotted hundreds of soldiers marching in their direction, accompanied by women and children. Fearing for his son's life, the father ducked behind a wall, dragging his child down as well. When they looked to see if they had been spotted a few seconds later, the entire army had vanished.

Donald Campbell

Location: Inverawe - Inverawe House
Type: Post-Mortem Manifestation
Date / Time: 1756
Further Comments: Donald Campbell appeared to his brother Duncan three times after being murdered, begging that Duncan hand over his killer; Duncan had inadvertently promised that the killer be hidden, not realising the murderer had struck at his brother. Unwilling to break his word, not even to the ghost of his brother, Duncan helped the killer escape - and as punishment his ghostly sibling told Duncan where he would die. The building is currently haunted by Duncan (the ghostly Donald moved to Barcaldine) and by Mary Cameron, the sole survivor of a 1660s outbreak of plague at the house. One nineteenth century account says the house was also home to a Glaistig who would rearrange furniture and could be heard rustling as she moved through the house.


An old postcard showing Iona Abbey.

Time Slip

Location: Iona, Mull - Abbey
Type: Environmental Manifestation
Date / Time: 1940s?
Further Comments: A clergyman visiting the island reported seeing the abbey in its former glory - he almost drowned when approaching the building, believing that he was walking on a causeway that no longer existed. Friends managed to save him. There are also stories that say Viking longboats sometimes appear off the coast, depositing phantom raiders who go on to attack the abbey, while people still report hearing singing coming from the empty abbey. At least one guest reported seeing a transparent, motionless, cowled figure standing by their bed.

The Call

Location: Iona, Mull - General area
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A strange spell is occasionally cast upon mortals by the fairy folk that causes them to believe they must leave the island, be it by land, sea or death.

Saint Odran

Location: Iona, Mull - Monastery
Type: Legend
Date / Time: AD 563
Further Comments: The construction of the monastery on the island was constantly halted by the Devil. Saint Columba had a vision that revealed the only way to ensure to the building work could go ahead was to offer a living sacrifice. Odran volunteered and was buried alive under the monastery foundations. Three days after being covered, Columba removed the earth that covered Odran and found him still alive. Odran said 'there is no wonder in death and Hell is not what it is reported to be'. Columba reburied the man, commanding the earth to fill Odran's mouth.

Marie Emily Fornario

Location: Iona, Mull - Reilig Odhrain
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: 1930s onwards
Further Comments: Ghost lights are seen hovering around the grave of Marie, and her sad figure has been reported moving around moorland in the region.

Fairy Music

Location: Iona, Mull - Sithean Mor - Fairy Mound
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: From this grassy knoll sweet music has been heard by both locals and visitors to the area.

Eoghann a' Chin Bhig

Location: Island of Mull - Ben Buie
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Prior to disaster in the MacLean family
Further Comments: Eoghann, while living, tried to kill his father - he was decapitated for his efforts. Now he appears before personal disaster or a death in the family.


An old illustration showing the Island of Mull.

How do they Smell?

Location: Island of Mull - General area
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The little people on this island are renowned for only having one nostril.

Water Horse

Location: Island of Mull - Loch Poit na h-I (aka Loch Pottie)
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This saltwater beastie is said to swim these waters.


The Bean-nighe, or Scottish washer-woman, standing waist deep in water. Image by Wayne Lowden.

Bean-nighe

Location: Island of Mull - River by Moy Castle
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: 1500s
Further Comments: The Bean-nighe is a Scottish spirit, an ill bringer who would be seen washing the clothes of those soon to die. This creature has long breasts, slung over her shoulders, and if she were grabbed from behind, the Bean-nighe would say whom the clothes belonged; if yours, she could change fate. The owner of the castle, upon seeing the creature, tried to grab her but failed - he died in battle the following day. As if this entity were not enough to contend with, the area is haunted by a headless horseman.

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