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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

A photograph of Loch Lomond, circa 1960.


Location: Loch Lomond - Waters of the loch, especially where it is joined with the River Enrick
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1653 onwards
Further Comments: An early description of the loch stated it had 'waves without wind, fish without fins and a floating island' - this is thought to be a reference to the water horses, or hipotam, that swam in the waters, although crannogs, small artificial islands, would be constructed in lochs by wealthy families. A Mr and Mrs Haggerty spotted a humped back crossing the loch on 22 September 1964, while in 1980 another couple watched a head and neck emerge from the water before submerging thirty seconds later.

Cursed Stairwell

Location: Loch Nell - Loch Nell Castle
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Still present?
Further Comments: The staircase was made from a tree considered holy, and a series of disasters befell all those who were involved in cutting it down and moving to the building. The castle is also home to phantom music.

Dog Killer

Location: Loch Tuath - Area between Loch Tuath and Loch Cuan
Type: Other
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A misty female form once seen here had long blonde hair. The entity picked up the witness's dog and ran off with it behind a nearby rock formation; the owner gave chase and, turning the rocky corner, found the dog with its windpipe crushed and large pieces of fur torn away. The strange woman had vanished. Another version of the tale says the witness heard strange music and lost sight of his dog; the witness ran home, and his dog later returned stripped of its hair, dying after laying by its master's feet.

Headless Horseman

Location: Lochbuie - Lochbuie House
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Prior to tragedy in the Ewen family
Further Comments: This decapitated ghostly figure was once Ewen of the Little Head. Ewen was killed in battle with a rogue laird and now appears in the area around the house to warn the Ewen family of impending doom. Another animal, a large black dog, is reported to patrol the grounds.

Night Strangler

Location: Lochgilphead - Unknown council house
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 1990
Further Comments: A house was blessed by the local priest after a woman living in the building woke and found herself being choked by an invisible entity.

A photograph of Loch Goil, circa 1960.

Brooding Presence

Location: Lochgoilhead - Private house close to the loch
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: November and December, 1989
Further Comments: A couple who moved into this house left after a couple of months having endured a 'brooding presence' which they felt to be a bad tempered Edwardian woman who did not want them there. On the night they moved out, one observed a crooked turret which was not visible during the day, while the other occupant was pushed out the door which was slammed behind them. Talking to people who had visited them in the house later, almost all felt something 'wasn't right' with the house.


Location: Lorne - House (no longer standing) by Loch Feochan
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A former mistress of the house, the ghost by the name of Carmichael took up residence in a nearby ravine. She could be heard wailing prior to a family misfortune and cried for weeks when it was decided to demolish her old home. She left the area when a new house was built.

Black Cat

Location: Mull - Area around Loch na Keal
Type: ABC
Date / Time: 1978 and continuing for rest of twentieth century
Further Comments: The first alien big cat was reported close to Loch na Keal, where it would remain (fleetingly spotted) over the next twenty years.

A witch summoning a storm, from The Devil in Britain and America, 1896.


Location: Mull - Exact location not known
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Circa 1588
Further Comments: Doideag, witch of Mull, is said to have summoned the storms which destroyed the Spanish Armada.

Terror of Mull

Location: Mull - General area
Type: Dragon
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A fearsome dragon terrorised the island until a hero appeared and killed the beast with the inventive use of barrels with big spikes attached to them. This story and the dragon tale told of Mull are strikingly similar.

No Ordinary Deer

Location: Mull - Scalasdal (possibly Scarisdale?)
Type: Other
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A deer that was killed here later transformed into a woman.

An old woodcut of a tall sea monster.

Snakelike Beast

Location: Mull - Sea east of the island, and other nearby areas
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Circa 1808, and 1873
Further Comments: This creature, when first observed, possessed no fins, and was estimated to be twenty five metres in length. When seen again almost sixty years later, its speed was estimated to be around 15 kph, and was seen by several independent parties.


Location: Newton - Unnamed cottage on the shores of Loch Fyne
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1940s
Further Comments: This phantom woman is reported to stand at the back door of the cottage, watching the road. Walkers briefly see her before she vanishes.

Road Crossing Serpent

Location: Oban - A85 between Oban and Perth
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 30 September 1965
Further Comments: Two independent motorists reported a six metre long legless creature alongside the road, grey in colour. One witness said it propelled itself along like a giant caterpillar.


Location: Oban - Dunollie Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1971
Further Comments: This ghostly, semi-transparent piper was seen by half a dozen witnesses visiting the castle grounds.


Location: Oban - Dunstaffgne (or Dunstaffnage) Castle
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Prior to major news
Further Comments: The Glaistig is a fairy-like guardian entity that follows a family, only becoming apparent when good or bad news is heard (that is when she bursts into song, cheers, or cries). Dunstaffgne's Glaistig would also be heard stomping around and on one occasion, pulled the sheets off a guest's bed. The creature has not been heard since the castle burnt down.

An old postcard showing Oban Bay.

Coiled Serpent

Location: Oban - Oban Bay
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 18 November 1873
Further Comments: A one hundred foot (thirty metre) long black creature was observed swimming in the bay for around fifteen minutes. A story which may be a hoax states that the same or similar creature was killed in 1877, and the locals dragged the carcass above the high water mark to use as fish bait.


Location: Pennygown, Mull - Unidentified earthen mound in the area
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The fairies who lived within this mound would be happy to manufacture any item overnight if the correct raw materials and instructions were placed on nearby grass in the evening. Someone left a short piece of wood and requested a ship's mast be made, resulting in the fairies ceasing their helpfulness.

Whisky Lover

Location: Port Ellen - Hotel (name not known)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This hotel was once a distillery; a burglar fell to his death from a second floor window after drinking too much during his raid. This drunken crook still lurks the corridors looking for more liquor to consume.


Location: Rinns of Islay - Small island off Rinns of Islay
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Nineteenth century
Further Comments: There are several entities said to haunt this small island, including a mermaid, the sound of rattling chains, and water horses. A woman supervising cattle on the island was attacked by something tall and hairy, with no skin upon its face. She managed to survive by throwing boiling water over the entity and creating a magic circle, remaining inside it.

Rothesay Castle, from the Evening Express, 30 July 1897.

Lady Isabell

Location: Rothesay - Rothesay Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Local stories tell of a female form which moves along the battlements after dark, with the occasional scream heard. One account says the entity is white in colour, while others maintain the ghost is green. The woman has been named as Lady Isabell, who took her own life rather than being forced to marry a Viking raider. A step, known as the 'Bluidy Stair', is said to have a bloodstain that can never be removed.

Drowned Sailor

Location: Rothesay - Steam yacht moored in bay
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: July 1899
Further Comments: A member of the crew who drowned days previous was blamed when the skipper and engineer were awoken by knocks and rattling sounds. The lid of a pan was thrown at the men by an unseen hand.

Restless Dead

Location: Saddell - Abbey and castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: It is said that a former laird removed the headstones from nearby churchyards to use as construction material for his castle - hence, much of the area is haunted by those disturbed. Particularly noted are the shades of a monk and that of a white lady.

Green Lady

Location: Skipness - Skipness Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The castle is reputed to be haunted by a green lady which protects the castle. The entity is said to dislikes dogs, although no one appears to be sure how this dislike manifests.

Glassy Eyed Mermaid

Location: Sound of Mull - Sea
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Pre-twentieth century
Further Comments: Becalmed in their skiff after setting out from the Sound of Mull, two men spotted a creature in the water which had the head, neck and upper torso of a woman, although the hair was coarser and the eyes glassy.

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