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Examining folkloric, paranormal & cryptozoological locations in the UK and beyond

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Argyll and Bute Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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 appeared to his brother Duncan three times after being murdered, begging that Duncan hand over his killer; Duncan had inadvertently given the Campbell word 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 (his ghostly brother moved to Barcaldine) and by Mary Cameron, the sole survivor of a 1660s outbreak of plague at the house.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Water Horse

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


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.

Goraidh Crobhan

Location: Islay - Dragon den close to Ballygrant
Type: Dragon
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Crobhan killed the dragon that had levelled most of the island by having the beast chase him while he travelled with three horses. The hero ensured that the dragon ate the three horses during the pursuit, resulting in the dragon slowing down and tiring. Still being chased, Crobhan leapt across a series of barrels in which he had earlier hammered iron stakes - the dragon failed the jump, impaling itself on the stakes, ensuring Crobhan had an easy kill.

Drunken Burglar

Location: Islay - Whiskey distillery
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This building is haunted by a criminal who broke in, drunk far too much of the local brew (this author's favourite single malt), and managed to fall to his death while trying to break back out.


Location: Isle of Bute - Farmhouse, exact location forgotten
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1944
Further Comments: A naval officer's family of who stayed at this farmhouse experienced several spooky occurrences, including the sound of sweeping in the early hours of the morning, the manifestation of a woman with her hair tied into a bun, and door handles which turned unaided. One story said that the haunting started after a young husband living here was killed in Rothesay over gambling debts.


Location: Isle of Insh - General area
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A brownie took a liking to the MacDougalls and, in return for a small amount of warm milk which is left for him in a hollow in a cave, would keep an eye on the cattle which grazed on the island. If his gift were neglected, a cow would be found stranded (or dead) on one of the rocky outcrops.

Ewen of the Small Head

Location: Isle of Mull - Duart Castle
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Prior to a death in the MacLean family
Further Comments: This decapitated figure on horseback is seen as a member of the family who killed him lies dying.


Location: Kenovay, Tiree - Churchyard
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Washed up from parts unknown, this mysterious sailor was buried locally, and is still seen in the area. The story goes on to say that in addition, the ghost was seen several times in the months prior to the discovery of his body, vanishing if approached.

Headless Monk

Location: Kilchrenan - Road between village and Ardanaiseig, stone by the road
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: It is idly speculated that this ghostly monk may have been sacrificed on this old stone by pagans.

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