The Paranormal Database

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

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Orkney Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Red Water

Location: Papa Westray - St Tredwell's Loch
Type: Other
Date / Time: Prior to royal event
Further Comments: The waters of the loch are said to turn red just prior to news that will greatly affect the royal family.


Location: Pentland Firth - Swelkie Point
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Story date unknown - possibly Viking?
Further Comments: The whirlpool that forms here is thought to be created by the turning of a mill stone to grind salt, ensuring the sea remains salty. Some say the wheel is turned by a sea-witch, while others name the grinders as Fenia and Menia, two local giants.

Dog Faced Beast

Location: Pentland Firth - Waters of
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1919 / 1920s
Further Comments: The body of water was home to a sea creature with a long thick neck and a small head resembling that of a dog. It swam under one witness's boat.

Tall Creature

Location: Pentland Skerries - Sea
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1937
Further Comments: Observed by a lone lighthouse keeper, this sea monster was seen to rise almost ten metres clear of the waves. A smaller creature had been seen fifteen years earlier by a fishing boat crew and a holiday maker.

Candle Light

Location: Pierowall - Noltland Castle
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Prior to birth or death in family
Further Comments: Once owned by the Balfour family, a ghostly light flickering at the castle window still shines when a birth or death occurs in the family. Deaths are also announced by the howls of a shuck-like creature (known as the Boky Hound), while the ghost of a creature with enormous strength stalks the ruins. This paranormally busy castle was also home to a helpful brownie named Broonie who ensured boats remained safe during storms.


Location: Pierowall, Westray - Knoll in the area
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Early nineteenth century
Further Comments: Milk would be poured daily into a hole in this knoll, to appease the entity known as Wilkie. If anyone refused to donate their fair share, they risked clothing being stolen or their cattle dropping dead.

Horse o' Hillaroo

Location: Rothiesholm, Stronsay - Mound of Hillaroo
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A winged horse was said to be found atop of the mound of Hillaroo. The horse would swoop down on unlucky travellers, favouring children, and carry them off to an unknown fate.


Location: Rousay - Loch of Knitchen
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Appearing as a beautiful black horse, this creature would hide amongst 'real' horses near the water's edge. True to water horse form, if anyone mounted the beast it would head straight for the water to drown the unsuspecting rider.

Water Horse

Location: Rysa - General area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Legend says this island was home to a water horse, although nothing more is known.


Location: Sandwick - Nether Benzieclett farm (no longer standing)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The phantom of a murdered man returned in the form of an ewe, appearing at the scene of the crime every morning at 1am.

Trotting Dog

Location: Sandwick - Road between Sandwick and Birsay
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Nineteenth century
Further Comments: Only appearing at night, a strange hound would trot alongside anyone walking between the two areas.

Scaly Horse

Location: Shapinsay - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1902
Further Comments: A creature with the body of a horse was observed by several fishermen, who reported it had scales like a fish, and a spotted effect over its body.

Glowing Lights

Location: Skara Brae - Pictish village
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: No one ever went close enough to discover whether the lights that darted over the area were ghostly torches or will o' the wisps.

Camel Headed Creature

Location: Skerries of Work - Sea in the area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1910
Further Comments: The arrival of this creature was introduced by a school of whales leaping from the water and fleeing the area. The head and neck of the sea monster reached out of the water at the height of a small sailboat.

The Stronsa Beast

Location: Stronsay - Beach
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1808
Further Comments: This grey, seventeen metre long creature was first seen floating dead in the sea, before a storm washed it on the beach. It reportedly possessed six legs and had a mane along its back and tail. Another storm which hit the island soon after the discovery destroyed the corpse. The creature was finally declared to be a rotting basking shark carcass, though the body was five metres longer than the largest basking shark ever recorded.


Location: Stronsay - John Spence's house
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: April - August 1791
Further Comments: Carpenter John Spence, and his wife, children and servant all heard hammering during the night, although no source could be tracked down. The sounds became louder over the months and were joined by the distressed moans. Eventually John invoked the Holy Trinity and commanded the entity to speak. After listening to further moans, the sounds ceased and never returned.

Troll Home

Location: Whaness - Dwarfie Stane
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Stone still present
Further Comments: Several stories exist around this stone. One says it was thrown into location by an angry giant and became the home of a passing troll. Another says it was the home of a giant and his wife, while a third names the occupant as a dwarf named Trollid.

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