I have never believed in ghosts, or at least I didn’t until I stayed in Room 8 at the Tulloch Castle Hotel in Dingwall, Scotland last September. My cousin, Kathy, and I traveled to the land of our heritage, eager to visit the Munros of our ancestral clan. The town of Dingwall is near Foulis Castle, the seat of Clan Munro, so I made reservations at the hotel. Kathy and I eagerly looked forward to staying in a real Scottish castle.
Tulloch Castle is actually thought to have many ghosts, but the most-sighted and most talked about, is the Green Lady. She has been seen so frequently, the bar in the castle is named the Green Lady Bar, and a portrait of the lady believed to be the Green Lady, Elizabeth Davidson, hangs in the Great Hall. Although we didn’t know until the third day, Room 8 is considered to be the most haunted room. Some guests refuse to stay in the room. It is located on the fourth floor at the end of a dark hallway.
The Green Lady is also one of the few ghosts captured on film, prompting numerous investigations into the castle. A number of paranormal teams investigated the castle over the years, and they found some very interesting results. Balls of light, orbs, and icy cold patches of air were seen and felt. Constant noises, clicks, bangs and thuds were recorded on film with no explanation.
Kathy eagerly searched out the ghosts and went on a tour. I harbored reservations about the supernatural, especially in the hotel, until I heard a loud bang on my chamber door the first night we stayed in Room 8. Kathy was in the bar using the internet and grabbing a late snack. I was in the room by myself. Thinking Kathy knocked, I jumped up and opened the door to an empty hallway. The small hair on the back of my neck stood up when a cold current of air swept over me, like death itself. That same night, the television popped on at 4:10 A.M. with only a bright white screen. The hotel manager said the TV could not come on by itself.
The following night, maniacal laughing came from the adjacent room no one occupied. The television again popped on at 4:10 A.M. with only a bright white screen. An employee took us on a tour of the hotel, showed us the portrait, and told the story of the Green Lady, Elizabeth Davidson. He also showed us a spooky tunnel running from the castle entry to the street, although we couldn’t go into it.
The third night, I unplugged the television and it didn’t come on at 4:10 A.M.
To describe a ghastly story scene is challenging, but the Scots of old had many superstitions and myths about the supernatural, and a few ghosts should be included in a Scottish historical novel. I am not an author of paranormal, but I did include a few scenes in a Scottish historical to make the story more authentic. After experiencing the ghost of Tulloch Castle, I understand more about the physiology of such an experience.
The first emotion I felt was fright. Along with being scared, came a dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, perspiration in the palm of my hand and on my forehead, a gasp, then the urge to scream loudly. I held back the scream in the hotel with a hand over my mouth. I tried to act calm for Kathy’s sake, but felt my heartbeat in my throat.
All five senses reacted to the experience. My eyes popped open when the white screen on the TV lit up the room to disturb our sleep, and I saw an empty, gloomy hallway. My ears heard the loud banging on the door, and the maniacal laughing. I felt the cold breath of air, then the hair on my neck, arms, and legs stood up. Some writers describe this reaction a goose bumps. My flesh tingled, my eyes widened, and my mouth became very dry with the bitter taste of fear. A sweet, musky smell permeated the room.
I chided myself afterward for letting a mere ghost frighten me, and explained the experience as a prank the hotel staff played on us to promote the paranormal experiences in the hotel, but I’m closer to believing in ghosts than I was before. I can write a better paranormal scene in my Scottish historical—I hope.
Excerpt from A Highland Pearl (soon to be released):
Andrew’s eyes closed against his will. He wished for one of Maidie Monroe’s potions to ease the pain in his gut and her gentle touch to ease the pain in his heart. He soon dozed. In a fitful sleep, he dreamed of a bonny lass surrounded by glowing light, dressed in a flowing sheer white gown with a wreath of yellow daisies about her head. She wore a large pearl around a slender neck, and her skin shone like alabaster. Golden locks spilled around her shoulders and down her back. Large blue eyes and red lips taunted him. He reached for her when she beckoned with one willowy hand.
“If ye touch this pearl, ye will have life and love,” she spoke in a voice sounding of tinkling bells.
“Aye, come closer and I will touch it.” Andrew stretched his hand out further. He had almost reached the pearl when the beautiful lass backed away. “Come closer. I canna reach ye. I will touch the pearl,” he called as she grew smaller and smaller. He tried to run toward her, but his legs would not move. “Come back, come back. I canna reach the pearl,” he called at the top of his lungs, but she vanished.
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