Scottish Ghosts – Where to Find a ‘Green Lady’

Where to find a Green Lady ghost - ghost huntingThe 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.

In other words, 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.

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.

Here’s one authentic story about Crathes’ Castle’s Green Lady.

That YouTube video about the Green Lady of Cathes Castle is at: https://youtu.be/I5jvCZX20aw

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

That YouTube video of Caerphilly Castle is at: https://youtu.be/ewwqbTCpmSk

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. (Trivia: She even named one of her sons William Wallace.)

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

Scottish castle entrance

  • 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.)

Read Next: Scottish Ghosts – The ‘Green Lady’

Scottish Ghosts – the ‘Green Lady’

Scotland's green lady ghosts - ghost huntingThe ‘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, the macabre is ever-present in both ghost stories and faerie lore. Many Highland tales speak of a determined (and usually protective) Green Lady.

A similarly styled demonic entity is generally considered a Green Woman.

The two are different, but often confused in stories. That’s what challenges us as researchers, when we’re 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,  but 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.

A Typical Green Lady

Many stories describe the Green Lady as a mortal woman. She’s under an enchantment, or has already entered the faerie world.

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’s usually associated with water.

For example, 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. Then she becomes the home’s own Green Lady.

The Green Lady as a Protector

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 rare, male counterpart to the Green Lady, but he’s 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. (Sort of like Robin Hood.) He also protects the house, the family that lives there, and its cattle.

Because she has long hair, the Green Lady is usually called a Gruagach.  It’s a category of brownie-type spirits of the Scottish Highlands.

(Tip: The word “brownie,” means 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.

Green Ladies Can Be Anywhere

Like banshees, Green Lady ghosts are seen worldwide. Usually, they have Scottish ancestry.  (In the United States, one of the most famous “green lady ghosts” is Ocean-Born Mary.)

So, when I hear about the ghost of a woman in a gown, the first question I ask is, “What color was her gown?”

If it’s green, I know that she’s probably spirit that’s protecting the house.

Read Next: 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