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GHOSTour 2011 Scotland

by Debe Branning

Image courtesy of Adam Drendel

      In May of 2011, the GHOSTour of Scotland was presented by www.GHOSTours.com. We met up at the JFK International terminal where our horror hosts, Charles and Danny, were there to lead us. We boarded a red-eye flight to London, England and connected on to Edinburgh, Scotland. For many of the Tours of Terror returnees, this was a gathering of friends, or a “family reunion” among travel acquaintances

Day 1: Hermitage Castle, Lockerbie Memorial, Gretna Hall Hotel
      Our tourguide, Most Haunted’s Richard Felix, was at the Edinburgh airport to meet the 50 arriving guests on the tour. He led us out to the bus loading zone where we met our driver, Bob. After loading our luggage, we hopped on board the bus and awaited our first adventure.

Richard Felix image courtesy Gloria Pinkerton
      We drove straight to Hermitage Castle. The castle had closed for the day, but that did not stop our group of travelers. We climbed over the gate and marched up the pathway toward the ruins. The first castle on this site was made of wood back in the 1240’s. It had several owners in the 1300’s and was briefly visited by Mary Queen of Scots in the 1560’s. By the 1800’s, the castle had become a romantic stone ruin. The ghost legends concerns a fellow known as Lord Soulis who owned the castle in its past history. The legend says he was a practitioner of black magic and responsible for the disappearance of local children. He had a sinister assistant called Robin Red who promised he could not be harmed by forged steel or ever be bound by ropes. He was apprehended by the people who took him to Nine Stane Rigg, a stone circle crowning a nearby hilltop where they wrapped him in lead and boiled him in a brass cauldron. Other stories say he was bound with ropes of sand and then boiled. Whatever the case might be, he is said to haunt the castle and guard treasure he hid somewhere around Hermitage. It is said the screams of the victims of Lord Soulis can he heard in the quiet hours of the evening. A security guard opened the doors to the ruin one morning to hear the sound of children talking within the castle walls. Upon inspection, there was nobody there. One visitor complained he was shoved by a unseen force near the drowning pool by the chapel. A workmen at the castle reported seeing a figure at one of the upper windows while the castle was apparently empty. It is not possible to access the upper windows as there is no floor at the higher levels.

     On the way to our hotel we took a side trip to Dryfesdale Cemetery to pay our respects to the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie plane crash. On December 21, 1988, Pan Am flight 103 was en route from London Heathrow airport to New York’s JFK airport. It was destroyed by a bomb as it flew over the town of Lockerbie. Killed were 243 passengers, 16 crew members, and 11 local people on the ground. Dryfesdale Cemetery is located 1 mile west of Lockerbie.

Image courtesy of Rick Wells
     We spent the night in the 1710 Greta Green Hotel—an old manor house built for the Johnstone family. It is located just one mile north of the Scotland/England border. For 250 years Greta Green has been associated with clandestine marriages—and still a popular wedding location. It is said there have been over 1134 runaway marriage ceremonies conducted at the black smith shop. Joseph Pasley was the blacksmith who married the eloping couples in the early days. It is believed that while on his death bed, he heard a coach pull up with three young couples itching to be married. He dragged himself out of bed to married them. then returned to his death bed--$300 richer. There are a few family ghosts who haunt the hotel. The Greta Hall staff offered Richard Felix the most haunted room in the old coach house. He reported waking in the middle of the night and feeling of a younger entity in the room. This room has a mysterious history. It was once concealed and closed off to the public Just what or who was locked in that room? A few of the ghost hunters walked across the street and took a few pictures of the tombstones in the old cemetery. The group reported shadowy figures lurking in one area near the bricks of the old church. Was a ghost sentinel keeping a watch on the old graveyard? The group made a quick look around the cemetery and found no one else lurking in the late midnight hours.

Day 2 Threaves Castle, Culzean Castle, Glasgow Cathedral, Necropolis, Old College Bar, and Winnock Hotel
      With everyone feeling refreshed and alive again, we headed to Threaves Castle. The castle ruins nestle on an island in the middle of the River Dee and are only accessible by boat. Getting to it is an exciting and romantic experience in itself. One must walk along a path through the fields and pass a wooded area until you reach the shore of the River Dee. There you will find a small jetty and a brass bell with a pull rope. Ring the bell loudly and the boatman will come across from the island to take you to the castle.

Threaves Castle image courtesy Rick Wells
      Threaves Castle stands west of Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway, and was built by Archibald Douglas, third Earl of Douglas. The Black Douglas’s became one of the most important and powerful families in Scotland, leading to conflicts with the king. There was a two-month long siege of Threaves Castle in the summer of 1455. The castle held out and only surrendered after the garrison commanders had been promised various payments and promises of safe conduct. There have been several reports of unexplained sounds of breathing and voices coming from unoccupied areas of the castle.

      The bus drove on to Culzean Castle just west of Maypole. Culzean Castle is one of the most magnificent buildings in Scotland. It was built by architect Robert Adam for the Kennedy Earls of Cassillis in the 1770’s. The rooms and grounds have been restored back to their glory and maybe that is what keeps the ghosts of the castle coming back

      A beautiful ghostly lady has been seen and photographed standing near the grand staircase. Culzean Castle also has a ghostly piper playing eerie bagpipes below the stately manor. The piper is said to have disappeared after searching the caves for ghosts beneath the castle. Most likely he ran into a bunch of unruly pirates who did him in. They say his bagpipes can still be heard on stormy nights and his apparition has been spotted on the grounds.

      We drove into the busy city of Glasgow and parked near the Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis Cemetery where we were able to explore these two locations on foot. The history of the cathedral is linked with Glasgow and allegedly located where the patron saint of Glasgow, Saint Mungo, built his church. The tomb of the saint is in the lower crypt. Walter Scott’s novel Rob Roy gives a brief account of the kirk.

Glasgow Cathedral image courtesy Rick Wells
     Just east of the Glasgow Cathedral (and overlooking modern day Glasgow) stands a rocky hill now known as the Glasgow Necropolis. Since 1831, over 50,000 souls have been buried there. About 3,500 tombs stand up to 14 feet below the ground. (Which also deterred the body snatchers who stole freshly buried corpses for sale to medical schools.) Parts of the rocky Necropolis had to be excavated with the aid of blasting powder. Many of the monuments that mark these tombs are a tribute to the wealth in Victorian Glasgow. The result is an eerie outdoor museum of the work of most of the leading Scottish architects of the day. The monuments competed for attention with their intricate detail—and in many cases, sheer size.

     Before traveling on to our hotel destination, we paid a last minute stop to a Glasgow pub called The Old College Bar. It is a traditional Glaswegian pub situated on High Street—just down the road from the cathedral. It claims to be Glasgow’s oldest pub being established in 1810. After slamming down a pint or two, the bartenders led us down a set of stairs under a trap door behind the bar. The stairs led down into the original cellar. The bartender said there is occasional paranormal activity such as unexplained electrical difficulties. Two natural streams run across the stone floor. There are tunnels that once led under High Street to the cellars of the university. Lecturers and professors used the tunnels to cross into the pub undetected by the students. They would sit on crates in the basement and enjoy a drink or two before returning underground back to the school. These tunnels are filled in and blocked off now, but could the ghosts of these mischievous professors be returning late in the night for another cup of cheer?

     The tour group continued on to Loch Lomond and another haunted coach house called The Winnock Hotel. Richard Felix scrambled to skype into his weekly internet show, "Ghost Chronicles International," but was only able to broadcast the last 10 minutes of the live show. After dinner, Richard Felix and Debe Branning led the ghost hunters in a midnight séance in the dining room where the group contacted three souls of the Winnock.

     The Winnock Hotel dates back to the 1700’s and throughout history has always offered lodging to weary travelers passing through by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs area. Formerly a coaching inn, the Winnock has been restored and extended to its present form.

     Scottish ghost hunters have named the Winnock Hotel as one of the most haunted places in Scotland. A local ghost investigation team claims there is a recording of a ghost called James Walker discussing a running, centuries-old feud he has with another ghost called Buchanan. The have also uncovered a spirit from the 1500’s named Edward M Gregor. It is thought he may have occupied a cottage on what is now the site of the hotel. A spirit of a little girl and a woman in a lilac ball gown was also uncovered. Rooms 38 and 39 are known to be the most haunted sleeping quarters in the hotel—that is, IF you can sleep!

     Day 3 Loch Lomond—Stirling Castle—RRS Discovery ship—Glamis Castle—Dunnottar Castle—Ardoe House

     Loch Lomond is a quaint little area and no visit would be complete without a stop at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National park. We spent a few minutes gazing out into the water and taking pictures of baby ducks. The famous song about Loch Lomond is reputed to be about two of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s soldiers who were captured after the rising in 1745. Jailed in Carlisle, one of the soldiers was to be executed and the other released. The ghost of the spirit of the dead soldier would make its way home to Loch Lomond on the “low road” before the solider that was pardoned. He would have to take the long way home over the hills and mountains—or the “high road.”

     The first castle stop of the day was Stirling Castle built high upon an extinct volcano. During its long and bloody history, Stirling Castle has been attacked or besieged at least 16 times. Three of these battles were fought in its immediate vicinity, two of which were turning points in Scottish history. Of all the Scottish Castles, the magnificent fortress of Stirling Castle is probably the most important in terms of its position. It has been fought over and has changed hands more than any other Scottish castle.

     Of course, Stirling castle sports an array of ghosts. One of these ghosts is known as the “Pink Lady” who appears in the form of a beautiful woman dressed in a pink silk gown. It is believed she is the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots. Mary made frequent visits to Stirling Castle, and this was the place she sent her son James to be raised. Another ghost seen is that of a “Green Lady”, who may have been a Lady in waiting to Mary Queen of Scots. It is said she saved Mary when the Lady’s bedclothes caught on fire. Any sighting of the Green Lady is taken very seriously by the authorities at the castle. Many of her appearances have been followed by a disaster of some kind and indeed several fires at the castle have followed a sighting of the silent figure. In the early 19th century, a guard was found dead at his post in the Governor’s Block. It is not known exactly what happened to him, but apparently he was found with his mouth wide open and a look of terror on his face. During recent times, soldiers based in the castle have reported hearing footsteps in the Governors Block.

     RRS Discovery was built in Dundee in 1901 and was designed for research. It was the last three-masted ship built in Britain. In 1901 the Discovery sailed to Antarctica with Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton where it became icebound for 26 months. An attempt by the expedition to reach the South Pole failed, but the rescue made Scott and the ship famous all over the world. Scott eventually reached the South Pole, but died on the return trip during a blizzard in 1912.

     There have been strange happenings on board the Discovery and many visitors have a tendency to avoid certain rooms. A light bulb above Ernest Shackleton’s bed kept blowing out and an electrician could find no explanation for this. Some say Shackleton loved the ship so much what he never left. Ghostly footsteps have been heard on the wooden decks late at night. Some say the footsteps belong to Shackleton—but others believe it is another sailor—Charles Bonner—who fell to his death from the crow’s nest in 1901.

     Ah, but there were more castles to explore. Just a short distance away was the majestic Glamis Castle—also known as the setting for Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Glamis is the ancestral home of the Lyon, now Bowes-Lyon family. This was the childhood home of Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Duchess of York, who became Queen of England, and later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Glamis Castle image courtesy Lana Lutz
     The castle has many legends and secrets surrounding it. The first and most well know legend is the secret room or chamber that is hidden deep within the castle walls. It is said that the Lord of Glamis and Earl of Crawford played cards with the Devil himself on the Sabbath. So great were the resulting disturbances that the room was sealed up 300 years later—permanently!

     One of the known ghosts of the castle is Lady of Glamis who became Lady Campbell after her husband’s death. A trumped-up charge of witchcraft was brought against her by the wicked Monarch James V. Although she was a woman of flawless character and a very popular woman, she was imprisoned. After a long sentence in a dark dungeon, she was almost blind. She was burned alive at the stake outside of Edinburgh Castle. Her ghost known as “The White Lady” has haunted Glamis Castle for hundreds of years.

     Other ghosts seen are a small boy servant waiting patiently on a stone seat just inside the Queen Mother’s Sitting Room. A Gray Lady has been seen gliding across the castle and the grounds. One guest witnessed a shadowy figure of a ghost wearing armor near her room. Perhaps a peek into the concealed room would be worth an investigation of some fearless ghost team in the future!

     Just when you thought there could not possibly be time for one more castle, the group was on the way to Stonehaven and the picturesque Dunnottar Castle. The dramatic ruined cliff top fortress is truly a stunning setting against the sea.

     We accessed the footpath—and several stairs that brought us close to the ruins. Some of the group tried to gain entrance to the castle from the side paths only to find dangerous sheer cliffs keeping them from the buildings and unique surroundings.

     The site on which the castle sits has been inhabited since Pictish times (5000 BC to 700 AD) although an exact date is not known. The importance of the site to the Picts stems from their religion. They are believed to be similar to Druidism, which worshiped masculinity, femininity, and nature spirits. The site of Dunnottar Castle and the area has a strong feminine nature and takes on the form of the “green lady.” The spirit of the green lady has been seen in the brewery at the Castle. She is said to be looking for her “lost children”.

     Back on the bus, the “lost ghost hunters” headed for their next hotel, Ardoe House, a 19th Century Mansion House in Aberdeen. This stunning hotel and spa boasts many original and historical features and retains an old world feel to it. The property is rumored to be haunted by the daughter of a former owner who met her death as she fell from the grand staircase. After dinner, many of the ghost hunters chatted in the dining room—then moved to the lounge where other sorts of spirits were encountered.

     After a refreshing breakfast in a castle-like setting in Aberdeen, travelers from all around the United States, Canada (and 1 Australian) loaded back on to the bus for even MORE haunted Scotland travel locations.

     Day 4 The Tolbooth Prison, Inverness, Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle, and Airth Castle Hotel

Tolbooth Plaque image courtesy Rose Bean Schledwitz
     The Ghost Tour of Scotland continued as the bus left the crew off at the Tolbooth Prison Museum in downtown Aberdeen. The old jailhouse is one of Aberdeen’s oldest buildings and one of the best-preserved 17th century jails in Scotland. The first building on the site of Museum was constructed in 1393 as an area for collecting tolls for goods that were bought and sold. Years later, its role changed to that of a holding place for prisoners about to be tried in court. It later developed into a general prison. The Wardhouse—now the Tolbooth Prison Museum—was built between 1616 and 1629. Several of the cells still exist in their original design. They are restored to how they would have looked when they were used as holding cells.

Picture above is tour-host Charles fitting in with the dead prisoners. Image courtesy of Mandy Mazzei
     Over the years there have been several deaths in the jail, including executions, murders, and death from torture. With all this pain and suffering, it is not a surprise that the Tolbooth Prison Museum is considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in Scotland. Several of these ghosts have made the Tolbooth their final home and serving an eternal life sentence.

     The Tolbooth Prison Museum Aberdeen welcomes ghost hunters and paranormal investigators to conduct their own investigations throughout the year. TV’s “Most Haunted” filmed on location here in 2009.

     A picturesque two-hour journey through the countryside brought us to a haunted, or shall we say, one of the most mysterious locations on the Scotland adventure. Sailing upon the Loch Ness in search of “Nessie” was on the bucket list of many of the tour members—including myself. After a quick lunch at the Loch Ness Center, the “Nessie” hunters broke up into four groups and enjoyed a one-hour cruise with breath-taking views of the highland hillsides and Urquhart Castle.

Image courtesy of Mandy Mazzei
     “Nessie” sightings have been recorded as far back as the 6th century, but it’s the modern day sightings that continue to capture the public’s imagination. In the early 1930’s, a new road was constructed around Loch Ness which enabled travelers and sightseers to get a glimpse on the allusive phenomena. “Nessie” has been spotted crossing the road and entering the water as well as swimming in the deep blue rippling waters No official sighting of “Nessie” was made during our “watch”—although there are a few mysterious dark images below the waters in some of our photographs. You be the judge!

Urquhart Castle image courtesy Rick Wells
     After shopping for the necessary “Nessie” collectibles, we headed to Urquhart Castle just down the road from the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. The Urquhart Castle ruins were once one of the largest strongholds of medieval Scotland. It remains an impressive structure situated on a headland overlooking Loch Ness. It is also near this castle that the majority of the Nessie” sightings occur. The castle was built in the 1230’s, seized by the English in 1296, recaptured by the MacDonald Lord of the Isles in 1545 and left to fall in to decay and despair after 1689. During the ghost tour visit, beautiful rainbows accented the castle ruins against the background of waters of the Loch Ness—sort of a “thank you” from “Nessie.” The visitor center features an impressive display of medieval artifacts found at the castle.

Image courtesy of Karri Snider
     Soon we were heading to the next accommodations, Airth Castle Hotel. This hotel is a 14th century castle and stables set in 14 acres of wooded parkland and landscaped gardens. It was once owned by the family of Robert the Bruce. The hotel is said to be haunted by a small group of playing children (who may have paid us a visit on second evening at Airth—stayed tuned). It seems their nanny neglected two small children while in her care and her ghost is said to search the building looking for the children after they were killed in a fire. The nanny is still around and sometimes looks after children whose parents have gone to dinner in the hotel restaurant. The most haunted rooms are number 3, 9 and 23. A few of the tour members had a room in the castle quarters while the rest of the group stayed in the renovated manor house.

     The castle has its own cemetery on the grounds along with the ruins of the former parish church of Airth—an eerie roofless building that watches over the graveyard. Some of the group explored the cemetery, some took a stroll through the old roadway of the spooky forest, while others gathered in the lounge and talked ‘ghosts’ with Debe Branning and Richard Felix way into the night.

     Day 5 Airth Graveyard, Edinburgh, Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh Dungeon, Hard Rock Café, Edinburgh Vaults, Greyfriar's Cemetery, Convenanter’s Prison Cemetery, Frankenstein’s Pub and the City of the Dead Tour

     With a few minutes to spare, the tour group walked down to the little cemetery on the grounds of Airth Castle. Although the gates are locked, we found an easy passageway near the back wall. The overgrown vegetation on the grounds added to the spook factor—not to mention the open metal casket. It was our regular bus driver's day off (Bob #1) day off, so we were now under the wheel of a new bus driver (Bob #2). Our first stop in Edinburgh was a tour of Mary King’s Close. Mary King’s Close is a labyrinth of old underground streets and living spaces. Back in the 1600’s, Mary King’s Close and neighboring Closes were in the heart of Edinburgh’s busiest and most lively streets. They were open to the skies and bustling with traders selling their goods to the Old Town’s residents. It was partially demolished and buried under the Royal Exchange buildings. After being closed for many years, the complex became the subject of myths and urban legends. Tales of ghosts, murders and the plague victims circulated the city. The underground Close was reopened in 2003 as a tourist attraction.

Mary King’s Close Underground image courtesy Gloria Pinkerton
     Every tour needs a little fun added to the adventure and that is exactly what the group encountered at the Edinburgh Dungeon. Eleven live actors, interactive shows, special effects, and a pair or scary rides make the Edinburgh Dungeon an educationally chilling experience and a great day out for the entire (freaky) family.

Our group in the Edinburgh Dungeon image courtesy Gloria Pinkerton
     We checked into our rooms at Edinburgh City Centre (Haymarket) Premier Inn—our only un-gothic, non- haunted, non-castle accommodations on the entire tour. But, they did have Ben & Jerry’s in a vending machine, so it wasn’t all that bad.

     We all met downstairs and were transported to Edinburgh’s Hard Rock Café where we could once again savor the taste of cheeseburgers and other American treats!

     After dinner we met up with tour host Jamie Corstorphine and took the City of the Dead Tour which meant exploring more of Edinburgh underground.

Scotland's Underground Vaults image courtesy Rick Wells
     This time we crept around in the Underground Vaults—or South Bridge Vaults—which are a series of chambers formed in nineteen arches of the South Bridge in Edinburgh. For about 30 years the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers, and tradesmen. They were also used as storage space for illegal material, prostitution, and hold bodies of people killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for medical experiments. The vaults were rediscovered in a 1985 excavation when chambers were found containing toys, bottles, and other signs of human occupancy. TV’s ‘Most Haunted’ and ‘Ghost Adventures’ filmed investigations in the vaults and claim to encounter spirits there. “Mr. Boots” and a little boy are just a couple of the ghosts who roam the vaults.

Greyfriar's Cemetery image above courtesy Rick Wells
Greyfriar's Cemetery image below courtesy Gloria Pinkerton

     Then we walked down to Greyfriar’s Cemetery and learned the dark history of the MacKenzie Poltergeist and the Black Mausoleum. Burials have been taking place since the late 16th century, and a number of notable Edinburgh residents are interred at Greyfriar’s. The grave stones and ornate tombs were decorated with eerie cross bones and skeletons. You could almost feel the spirits of the dead watching our every move as we walked slowly through the historic cemetery. Jamie, our tour guide had lots of stories about the ghosts who roam Greyfriar’s Cemetery, including the Sir George MacKenzie poltergeist that is said to cause bruising, bites, and cuts on those who come in contact with it.

     Jamie had the key to the even more sinister Covenanter's Prison Cemetery gate. The Covenanters were a political force in Scotland whose purpose was to keep Scotland a Presbyterian nation. After the arrival of King Charles ll, the Covenanter movement was defeated and hundreds of Covenanters were imprisoned. The Covenanter's Prison and GreyFriar’s Kirk Cemetery are now the home to the restless and wronged ghosts of tormented Scotsmen. There we huddled together in a dark empty tomb and called in a spirit to make his presence known. One should use caution inside the dark crypt—emotions form the group of sensitives ran wild!

     What better way to end the night than dancing at the famed Frankenstein Pub in downtown Edinburgh? The group hit the floor, dancing and partying late into the night. Frankenstein's monster never made anappearance, but the evening was monstrously magical nonetheless.

Frankenstein Pub entrance image courtesy Rick Wells
     A few of the tour members opted for early taxi rides back to the hotel. For some reason, Bob #2 forgot to come back to the pub and pick us up. Frantic phone messages were made, but no response. The thirty-five revelers now faced a twenty minute walk back to the hotel. A single file line of tired ghost hunters spanned two blocks as they began their mile and a half walk to the hotel. Out of nowhere—like a bat out of Hell—a bus flew past the group and parked at the top of a hill. It was OUR bus! Bob #1 had come to our rescue like the cavalry out of an old western. (We never did see Bob #2 again—and that probably was a good thing).

     After such a busy day exploring the city of the dead below Edinburgh, the only thing these ghost hunters wanted to crawl under were their bed covers!

     Day 6 Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Airth Castle, Masquerade Ball

Image courtesy of Gloria Pinkerton
     But, there was still one long day ahead for the Scotland ghost seekers. After the morning bus boarding call, the group was on their way and disembarked at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. We posed for a group shot in front of the castle grounds and made our way into the depths of one of the most well-known haunted castles in Scotland. Through the years, visitors to the Edinburgh Castle have reported seeing a headless drummer, a phantom piper, colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War, spirits of French prisoners from the Seven Years War, and even the ghost of a dog wandering in the ground’s dog cemetery. The castle dungeons are haunted by the ghosts of their victims. One prisoner tried to escaped but fell down the rock slopes of the castle to his death. He still haunts the grounds today.

     In the 16th century, Janet Douglas, the Lady of Glamis Castle we spoke about in Scotland Day 3, was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. She was accused of witchcraft and conspiring to murder King James V. She was burned at the stake on July 17, 1537. Lady Janet’s restless spirit is said to still haunt parts of the castle. Hollow knocking sounds are often heard at night and attributed to the workmen building the platform on which she was burned.

     Everyone was left on their own to discover the castle grounds. Groups broke up and explored various buildings on the estate such as the chapel, military prison, great hall, towers, dog cemetery, and a look at the Scottish Crown Jewels. And, then there was shopping to do…lots of last minute gift shopping for friends and family who were not able to come along on this ghostly adventure. Some of the group stopped at museums and cathedrals while others stopped for lunch in various restaurants and pubs. A few on the tour went back for a day time stroll through Greyfriar’s Cemetery, while others enjoyed street performers or just wanted to take in the view.

     The “on your own” day soon came to an end and the tour was heading back to Airth Castle for the traditional last night gala masquerade ball. Many of us posed outside the castle in our castles before going inside.

The Addams Family getting ready to party - image above courtesy Karri Snider (she's Wednesday)

A ghostly cleaning spirit gets the hotel ready for our party - image below courtesy Rose Bean Schledwitz

     Nobody ever knows what to expect until the guests begin to arrive in the dining room. Shrieks of surprise and laughter soon filled the room as the masks or make-up revealed our secret identities.

Image courtesy Gloria Pinkerton
     Although a formal wedding was being held in the downstairs ballroom, our 50 costumed guests filed out in front of Airth Castle for a most appropriate group photo. Even Bob the bus driver and Richard Felix joined in on the fun and celebration. After dinner, the group moved into another room for dancing and outrageous games provided by our hosts Charles and Danny of GHOSTours.

Gloria Pinkerton and Samrith party at the party!
     And by the way, remember the ghost children and the nanny of the Airth Castle we spoke about during the Scotland Day 4 adventure? Well, it seems we may have come in contact with their ghosts. As you can see in the photo below, a group of young lads in kilts crashed our party and one of them was suspected as the “young hooded ghost of Airth Castle”---his blank stare, the dagger in his hands…we were beginning to see a connection—especially after their “nanny” came upstairs and swooshed them away!

GHOSTour hosts Danny & Charles as Scottish ghouls plus a very scary Scarecrow don't really seem to faze the young lads who visited from the wedding reception - image courtesy Gloria Pinkerton
     The next morning there was tears, laughter, and many hugs and photographs as we bid our new ghost hunting buddies farewell and boarded the bus one last time. Bob, the bus driver had us in tears when he declared the Scotland ghost tour group was the best bunch of people he had ever escorted around the UK. Richard Felix had emotional words for us as well, and we had a hard time saying farewell to our hosts. This was a gentleman we all came to love and respect as just another member of our macabre group. He was knowledgeable about the ghosts and history of Scotland, humorous, and geez, he even helped load our bags on the bus!

     The best part of the ride to the airport was when Charles announced an all-new HAUNTED IRELAND TOUR in 2013! Richard Felix will hopefully again be our guide…and maybe Bob the bus driver will be transporting us to all the haunted destinations.

Goodbye Gore-geous GhostGals: Lana, Gloria, Karri, Samrith and Debe Branning, author of this tour report Image courtesy Karri Snider

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