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The Eternal Queen: Uncovering the Haunting Journey of Mary, Queen of Scots Across Castles and Beyond

Mary Queen of Scots Outside Hermitage Castle

Mary, Queen of Scots, a figure of enduring fascination, was born in Linlithgow Palace, Scotland, on 8 December 1542. She became queen at just six days old following the death of her father, James V, and was the only legitimate child to survive him. Mary's life was marked by a series of dramatic events and relationships, notably her marriages to Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, and James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, and her eventual imprisonment and execution on the orders of Elizabeth I of England.

Her beauty and tragic life have made Mary an iconic historical figure. She was strikingly attractive, with auburn hair, hazel-brown eyes, and smooth pale skin, a beauty unmarred by her childhood bout with smallpox. After her forced abdication in favor of her son, James VI, and her eventual execution at Fotheringhay Castle, Mary's legacy grew into a romanticized tale that has resonated through history.

Mary Queen of Scots

Mary's historical significance and the dramatic nature of her life have made her one of Scotland's most famous queens and a prevalent ghost in folklore. There are numerous reported sightings of her spirit at various locations she inhabited or visited, contributing to her haunted heritage trail in Scotland. These sightings include Stirling Castle, where her son was raised and where she's thought to be the "Pink Lady" ghost, and other locations such as Borthwick Castle, Loch Leven Castle, Hermitage Castle, and Craignethan Castle. Her hauntings are also associated with Glamis Castle, Holyroodhouse, Carlisle Castle, Bolton Castle, Nappa Hall, the Earl of Shrewsbury's castles, the Turret House in Sheffield, and the Talbot Hotel, built from the remnants of Fotheringhay Castle. 

Interestingly, at Linlithgow Palace, her birthplace, only the ghost of her mother, Mary of Guise, is reportedly seen, not Mary herself​.

Stirling Castle

  • History: Stirling Castle, a key site in Scottish history, was where Mary, Queen of Scots, was crowned in 1542. The castle has been a central location in numerous sieges, particularly during the Wars of Scottish Independence.

  • Ghost Sighting: The castle is reputed to be haunted by Mary, possibly as the "Pink Lady" seen in a flowing pink gown. Another ghost, the "Green Lady," believed to be a servant to Mary, is also frequently sighted within the castle.

Borthwick Castle

  • History: Built over 600 years ago near Edinburgh, Borthwick Castle has hosted many significant figures, including Mary, Queen of Scots in 1567, who sought refuge here.

  • Ghost Sighting: Mary's spirit is said to wander the castle, especially in the Red Room, a site of many tragic and paranormal occurrences.

Mary Queen of Scots Ghost

Loch Leven Castle

  • History: A ruined castle on an island in Loch Leven, it was a key site during the Wars of Scottish Independence. Mary was imprisoned here in 1567–68 and was forced to abdicate as queen.

  • Ghost Sighting: The castle is reportedly haunted by Mary's spirit, reflecting the sadness she felt about the loss of her twins.

Hermitage Castle

  • History: Located near Newcastleton and dating back to the 13th century, this castle was owned by the Earl of Bothwell, Mary's lover and later husband.

  • Ghost Sighting: A ghostly White Lady, believed to be Mary, is frequently seen at Hermitage Castle, among other spirits.

Craignathan Castle

  • History: Craignethan Castle near Lanark, where she sought refuge after her escape from Loch Leven, is said to be another favourite haunt of Mary's. She stayed there only briefly before the Battle of Langside.

  • Ghost Sighting: According to local folklore, there have been sightings of Mary's ghost at the location. Her headless apparition is rumoured to have started appearing there ever since her execution.

Carlisle Castle 

  • History: Mary spent 8 weeks at Carlisle Castle with Sir Francis Knollys as her custodian. While she was allowed to take walks with her ladies, she faced limitations on her movements and couldn't receive guests without Elizabeth I's permission.

  • Ghost Sighting: There's an eerie tale from Carlisle Castle that might be connected to Mary. In 1842, a sentry on guard duty was startled by a woman's figure approaching him in the early hours. Despite his challenges, she kept advancing, ignoring his shouts. In a desperate attempt to halt her, he charged with his bayonet, but as he reached her, the figure vanished into thin air. The shock was so profound that, after recounting the event to his revived comrades, the sentry collapsed and died. This mysterious encounter has led some to speculate that the ghost could be Mary, Queen of Scots, who was once imprisoned within the castle's walls.

Nappa Hall

  • History: Legend has it that while under house arrest at Bolton Castle, Mary Queen of Scots stayed at the house for two nights in 1568. James I also visited.

  • Ghost Sighting: Her ghost has been reported to be seen at Nappa Hall, spotted in the courtyard, and, wearing a black velvet dress.

Mary Queen of Scots Ghost Sighting

Mary Queen of Scots, a tragic and regal figure, has left an indelible mark on the history of Scotland and England. Her life, filled with intrigue, passion, and sorrow, has transcended the bounds of her mortality, with numerous accounts of her spirit being sighted in the very places she once graced with her presence. From the majestic halls of Stirling Castle to the confining walls of Carlisle Castle, Mary's ghostly apparitions have been reported far and wide.

Her spectral presence is not just confined to Scotland, where she reigned as queen, but also in various locations in England where she was imprisoned. These frequent sightings have turned Mary into one of the most commonly reported apparitions in the country. Her story, etched into the stones of castles and the annals of history, continues to captivate and haunt the imagination.

There are perhaps many more locations where Mary's spirit has been sensed, whispered about in hushed tones by locals and historians alike. Each sighting adds to the historical mystery surrounding this fascinating Scottish queen, making her one of the most enduring ghostly figures in Scottish folklore. Whether seen as a lingering presence of a troubled past or as a symbol of undying spirit, Mary Queen of Scots continues to fascinate and mystify, her story and sightings a captivating chapter in the realm of the paranormal.

Mary Queen of Scots Life


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