[UK] Scottish Ghosts – Where to Find a ‘Green Lady’

Scottish castle entrance The Green Lady is a unique spirit. She’s more often described as a faerie rather than a ghost.  I’m not sure that’s the best description.  She’s certainly not someone lightly categorized with all brownies or Gruagachs.

Every woman who appears as a ‘Green Lady’ wears a rich green gown that usually reaches the ground.

That’s why we usually refer to her as a “green lady.”  Her skin isn’t green; her dress is.

Other than that, it’s difficult to generalize about the appearance of a Green Lady.

DARK TALES OF THE GREEN LADY

In darker legends, the Green Lady is a demon and the gown covers her hairy, goat-like body. In other stories, she is cursed with hooves for feet, and the gown hides them.

In my opinion, those descriptions are about the Green Women, who may be dark, demon-like faeries.  (Listen to my podcast, Green Faeries, at FaerieMagick.com.)

The goat’s body tradition relates to another category of Highland spirits: the Glaistig. In fact, the Green Lady can be called a Ghlaistig uaine, ‘the Green Glaistig.’ Glaistigs are spirits who were once women of title, or at least the mistress of a house.

Each of them has been put under an enchantment. They dislike dogs, prefer to be alone, protect houses, and favor fools and people ‘of weak intellect.’

Of course, that’s another area in which the traditions blur between ghosts, spirits, and faeries.

The Green Glaistigs are rarely seen, but there are stories of the Glaistigs of Ardnacaillich (home of the Macquarries), Donolly Castle, Mernaigh, Dunstaffnage, and many other locations.

In most cases, she is simply called the Green Lady.

FAMOUS GREEN LADY GHOSTS

One of the most famous is the Green Lady of Skipness Castle, by Loch Fyne. She has protected her home and the family in it for centuries. Several times, she created a supernatural confusion among enemies who’d planned to attack the castle. After they left Skipness, their wits returned, but as they marched back towards the Castle, they became confused again.

One Green Lady appears today at Crathes Castle, about 15 miles southwest of Aberdeen City in Scotland. This Green Lady is usually called a “ghost,” and she appears by the fireplace to pick up a ghostly infant. Then they vanish together.

Centuries ago when the castle was renovated, her bones, and those of the baby, were found buried beneath this spot in the castle.

Another reliable place to see a Green Lady, is at the ruins of the castle at Caerphilly, just north of Cardiff in Wales.

Like the Green Man of the forest, she hides herself as ivy around this castle. However, if you watch very closely, she will reveal her presence by moving slightly. Once she knows she has been seen, she will emerge as the gracious and lovely woman that she is, extend a hand in welcome if she likes you, and then she vanishes.

MORE GREEN LADY LOCATIONS

There are no formal reports of a Green Lady outside of the British Isles, but there are some similar tales. We suspect that the Green Lady is a category of ghosts, similar to the Banshees (Bean Sidhe) of Ireland.

For example, there is Ocean-Born Mary, an 18th-century spirit who haunts Henniker, New Hampshire. She wears a green gown, and she had Scottish ancestry.

Likewise, 18th-century ghost Judith Thompson Tyng has been seen in a green gown, in the houses she haunts around Nashua, NH. (See my related articles, including The Haunting of John Alford Tyng.)

However, the Green Lady is most frequently found at castles and homes in Scotland. In fact, ghost hunters can plan vacations to encounter at least one Green Lady.

Additional castles that report Green Lady ghosts include Castle of Park, Banff and Fernie Castle, Fife.

Scotland also boasts castles and homes with other “lady” ghosts, including Grey Ladies and White Ladies.

LINKS: WHERE TO ENCOUNTER A GREEN LADY GHOST

  • A Green Lady appears at Caerphilly Castle in Wales.
  • Another Green Lady protects her baby, and the home, at Crathes Castle.
  • Scotland’s Dunstaffnage Castle, is the home of a Glaistig. And read the legend of this Green Lady, by Margaret Campbell.
  • Additional Green Ladies are seen at their respective castle homes: Fyvie Castle, near Muchalls Castle (now an hotel), Huntingtower Castle, and probably dozens (hundreds?) of others.
  • If you’re planning a trip to Scotland and want to increase your chances of seeing a Green Lady or other spectre, see the list at Travel Scotland’s Haunted Hotels.
  • One haunted hotel in Scotland, Tulloch Castle Hotel, even has a painting of the Green Lady who protects it.Thanks to Adam W. for suggesting the subject of The Green Lady for this article. (The hotel’s link – TullochCastle.co.uk – seems not to be working in March 2017. For now, the best source of information may be travel websites, or Wikipedia.)

Also read my article Scottish Ghosts – The ‘Green Lady’

[UK] Scottish ghosts – the ‘Green Lady’

The ‘Green Lady’ of Scotland is either beautiful and protective, or a blood-sucking demon. It all depends upon where you hear the story, and who is telling it.

In the Highlands, as with many faerie and ghost stories, the macabre is ever-present. Many Highland tales speak of a dangerous Green Lady, but the demonic entity is generally considered a Green Woman.

The two are different, but often confused in stories… and that’s what confuses us as researchers, following the trail of the good (or evil) women dressed in green.

I believe that the Green Lady is benevolent spirit who visits her former home by choice,  and the darker imagery comes from a something that is not a ghost.

However, if we combine the stories, the Green Lady seems similar to the Irish Banshee, because she is neither human nor ghost.

Many stories describe the Green Lady as a mortal woman who is under an enchantment, or has already entered the faerie world.  I believe that’s consistent with the Green Women tales of the Scottish Highlands.  (Listen to my podcast, Green Faeries, at FaerieMagick.com)

Whatever her nature, the Green Lady’s appearance is lovely. She is a slender and lovely young woman, with long golden hair. She wears a green gown that reaches the ground.

She is usually associated with water, and there are stories of a beautiful woman arriving at a cottage, dripping wet.

She asks if she can enter the home to warm herself and dry her clothing. If welcomed, she stays for awhile, and then she becomes the home’s own Green Lady.

Eileen Donan Castle, Scotland - photo by incredi Each Green Lady protects a particular house, and the family in it. If the family moves, the Green Lady remains in the house and protects the next family to move in.

In this way, the Green Lady differs from the Banshee, which follows and protects a particular family.

The Green Lady can be helpful to farmers. There are many stories of a Green Lady taking care of cattle, herding them into the barn when a storm was coming, or when enemies were nearby.

There is a male counterpart to the Green Lady, but not the “Green Man” of Celtic forest legends. The male version of the Green Lady is a slender, handsome young man who wears red and green. He also protects the house, the family that lives there, and its cattle. However, this male counterpart is rare.

Because she has long hair, the Green Lady is usually called a Gruagach. This is a category of brownie-type spirits of the Scottish Highlands. As soon as you read the word “brownie,” you know that these are generally good spirits, although they sometimes enjoy a practical joke. Any mischief they cause is minor compared with the good that they do.

In Skye, where Gruagachs are usually male, there is a tradition called a “gruagach stone.” This is a stone with a small hole or depression in it. Every night, the family sets out its gruagach stone and leaves a bit of milk in it. This is to thank the home’s own Gruagach for help. A small amount of milk, fresh cream, cake, or bread is acceptable. Anything larger will insult the Gruagach.

However, Green Lady ghosts are seen worldwide. Usually, they have Scottish ancestry. When we hear about the ghost of a woman in a gown, the first question we ask is, “What color was her gown?”

If it’s green, we know that she’s probably a protecting spirit associated with the house.

In our next article, we discuss Scottish ghosts – Where to find a ‘Green Lady‘, with links to places to see one.

Photo credit: Peter van der Hammen

[UK] Edinburgh – Vaults Tour – Conclusion

Crossbones in Edinburgh, Scotland

(Continued from Edinburgh vault tour – two ghosts )

WANDERING THROUGH MORE ROOMS

The rest of our return tour of the Edinburgh underground was troubling, so much that I did not keep notes at the time. These are my current recollections of the site:

We walked through more rooms and then we were in a long corridor. At the end of it, I “saw” a crowd of people rushing back and forth, reminding me of subway platforms during the busy commuting hours. However, the people I “saw” were wearing clothing from a variety of eras, including modern-day.

I commented to one of the tour guides (I don’t think it was Ms. Mann), “Look at all the people down there!” The guide said that the area I was pointing at had been opened for Edinburgh foot traffic in recent years. She said it had been used frequently, and that would account for people in modern clothing in my impression.

Often, when I’m giving an important reading, I’m “given” situations that establish my credibility. I was certain that this was why I was prompted to mention the people in modern dress. I had no way to know about that tunnel, and it let the tour guides know that I wasn’t making things up.

 STORAGE ROOMS

We continued to two rooms that seemed like storage areas. I recall that the last one seemed to have a silly man behind the door. He was sort of folded up and on the floor. He didn’t understand that he was dead, and he was waiting for someone. He was truly preposterous; common sense should have told him that he was dead.

However, towards the back of that same room, I encountered some grisly energy/images. I saw that there had been leather stored in the room.

Bodies had also been stored there, short term, after they’d been murdered. The murderer had access to the room, and knew that the smell of the leather would disguise any odor from the bodies.

AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE GHOST OF A MURDERER

The murderer looked like the cartoons of (American) Boss Tweed: morbidly obese with a too-small vest that gaped too wide to be buttoned. His skin was greasy. He had stubble on his face. He was almost overwhelmingly repulsive. He dressed in dark clothing, except for a white, blousy shirt. He was gruff and aggressive, and seemed bitterly angry with life in general. He had lost faith in everything, and tyrannized others with his greed and rage.

Only intense experiences seemed to help fill the bottomless well of emptiness inside him.

THE LITTLE GIRL GHOST

Another energy with him was a frail little girl, about five-years-old in appearance, but her health was so poor and she was so skinny, she might have been older and simply looked small.

She had been murdered by the obese man, and was shattered by the event. I remember that her stick-straight hair was almost white, it was so blonde. She was pale and lovely, but too thin and dressed in a shabby blue or brown shift.

Little girl ghost beneath streets of Ediburgh, Scotland.
My painting of the ghostly girl.

I know that she had lost her parents early in life, but had a vague memory of them. And, she had kept a doll from when her parents were alive, and she’d lost it around the time that she had been murdered.

She wanted her dolly back. She didn’t mind the poverty, the hunger, or her life on the streets. Mostly, she wanted her dolly back, as if that would make the rest of it bearable.

At that point, I was overtaken by her grief, and started to cry inconsolably. As I communicated empathically with and for the little girl, I didn’t understand why this man killed small children.

He seemed relentlessly evil and cruel. He killed abandoned children of the streets of Edinburgh, and perhaps workers in what we’d call “sweat shops,” but this was probably well before the Industrial Era.

I do not know why he killed, and I’m not even certain if this crime spree was reported in the newspaper of the time. It was as if these children–and their brief lives–meant nothing.

All that I can say is, it was awful.

THE TOUR ENDED QUICKLY

The “tour” ended then, quite abruptly. I’d opened myself too much to the available energy, and the grief I’d received from this little girl was too much for me. Distraught and embarrassed, I left the underground location with the group, apologizing for the sour conclusion to the evening.

We left Scotland the next day, and continued our tour of the U.K. and Ireland.

A month later, in Ireland, I met one of the tourists who’d been with the group on that return tour. She wanted to know if I’d been able to figure out the identity of Child #3, or anything else I’d witnessed.

I hadn’t, but I felt much better about the way the evening had ended when she said that my collapse into tears had not spoiled the experience, but in fact made it more “spooky” for her.

RETURNING FOR MORE?

I’d love to go back and visit the underground areas again, though I expect that modern-day energy of tourists who’ve been through, will mute many of the impressions which had been crystal-clear in 1996.

I’d like to see other haunted areas in Edinburgh, and explore their stories, too. I have a strong feeling that I’m supposed to do this, if that makes sense.

I also hope to find time to review Edinburgh history, and make sense of the lives that I “saw.”

If you have additional information about these ghosts, Edinburgh’s haunted vaults or Mary King’s Close, please add them in comments at the foot of this page. Thank you!

Some other articles in this series about Edinburgh’s vaults:

Related links: Mercat Tours in Edinburgh

[UK] Edinburgh – Vaults Tour – Two Ghosts

(Continued from Edinburgh vault tours – first ghost)

TWO GHOSTS FROM DIFFERENT WORLDS

In the next room, there were two energies:

One was a young-ish man from England, with a haircut that I wanted to describe as “different.” In fact, he took pride in his stylish, perhaps trendsetting looks. In my notes immediately after the tour, I described him as a “lower class smart aleck.” I sensed that he’d lived in the room just briefly, soon getting into deep trouble and living elsewhere as a result.

The second energy was from an older man with a small, rounded body. He was a Bible reader, but why did he hide his Bible? (I know nothing about Edinburgh religious politics in history, as I write this.) I know that he was poor, but he took in younger men who were in even worse financial and spiritual condition, as a kind of personal ministry.

I’m not certain that he was a kindly old man. I didn’t like him.

AN EARLY ‘CASPER’

The final residential/work room that we visited, was the most visually spectral.

Ghost in a tricorn... and a sheetI sensed a ghost who was there to be a ghost. In other words, this person knew that he was dead, knew he was a ghost, and was making the most of it. It’s as if he was dedicated to being a ghost. I could “see” someone’s outline with a tricorn-type brimmed hat and rather wide shoulders, but otherwise draped in sparkling sheet-like material. It seemed tacky and cliched, to me.

He floated slightly above the floor, as ghosts are supposed to in B-movies. But the ghost was only slightly irritated by my lack of admiration; he’s there to haunt, and that’s his driving purpose.

COBBLERS’ CORNER

The rest of the room was dominated by the energy of someone who worked on shoes. I saw him–and so did two of my children–clearly outlined as a shadow on the wall (and no, this had nothing to do with the colored lights on the floor, intended to add to the “haunted” atmosphere.)

Stanley Holloway-ish ghostSoon, I could almost see him as he must have looked in life: Like Stanley Holloway (but shorter), from My Fair Lady, including the leather apron, sooty face, and a funny hat with a large brim that extended slightly down his back. He had a Stanley-Holloway type nose, too.

All through the room, I had the sense that this man–and perhaps other workers–had been very industrious, making and/or repairing shoes. I could “hear” the clang of a metal hammer, and “smell” leather. I sensed a large fire there, almost as if it had been a blacksmith’s as well.

But, I don’t know much about shoemaking, so perhaps I am mistaken on that point.

It was in that room that I began manifesting a glowing green misty substance that trailed from my feet as I walked, and then vanished after a few seconds. My children told me about this later, and I was very disappointed that I didn’t notice it.

This story continues in the next article, Edinburgh vault tour – conclusion

[UK] Edinburgh – Vaults Tour – First Ghost

(Continued from Edinburgh – Vault ghosts)

FIRST ENCOUNTER – THE MOTHER WITH ‘CHILD NUMBER THREE’

The first room was reached by a stairway from the street level. The room had little lighting, part of the “atmosphere” created for the tour.

On one wall, I saw a fireplace. It had been the center of life in that room, as it seemed to hold considerable “psychic” energy. I knew it had been a rather smoky fireplace because the lingering image was so clear.

In front of the fireplace, I “saw” a woman, in a shabby linen-like gown and a soiled, austere cap of what seemed to be coarse white linen. From her clothing, I’d guess that she lived in the early 17th century, but I could be wrong.

I knew she’d been highborn, and her father was probably a doctor. She’d married someone far beneath her, and was living in relative squalor. It embarrassed her.

She was too proud to ask her family for help yet, and they were equally uncomfortable dealing with the situation.

Edinburgh lady ghost in vaults
The woman’s husband had been a fascinating and exciting man (in a mercurial way) when they’d met, but now he was quite mad. He slept on the hard floor, fearing “vapours” which he thought were poisoning him. In his madness, he believed that his wife planned to have an affair with a neighbor. The husband continued to work for awhile, but eventually lost his job and left his wife and children.

I don’t know if he died or just deserted them.

The family had at least four children.

There was a baby in this room, and an older boy whom I call “Child #3.” The mother felt guilty about neglecting the baby, but her focus was on Child #3. She was convinced that he had a future.

For some reason — and this is why I have the sense that her father was a doctor — she insisted upon holding Child #3 up to a small window, to let the light shine on his face. In an otherwise dark existence, this was often his only exposure to sunlight, especially in the winter.

I know that she and her children stayed in this underground dwelling for awhile after she was deserted by her husband. Then they moved away. I know that, after living underground, she became obsessed with light and warmth for her family. When her family lived in this room, she spent most of her time near the fireplace.

I think that the woman swallowed her pride and–with her children–returned to her father’s home.

I have the sense that Child #3 grew up to become someone who’s in the history books. Perhaps he was a politician. I think his family history will be noted in biographies. He can be identified.

Also in the room, to the left I “saw” a closet or some niche in the wall. It was where the woman kept a secret. It was a “good” secret, but something she wanted concealed while she lived there. Perhaps she hid money from her husband.

On the other side of the room, I sense a closet or niche that had something very bad about it. It may have been a damp area, and/or something with a horrid odor. The woman was alarmed by that, but not overwhelmingly afraid. She tried to keep that closet (or niche) closed up.

This story continues in Edinburgh vault tours – two ghosts