With dark tourism and interest in true crime on the rise, thrill-seekers looking for day trips around Scotland to scare themselves with tales of ghosts and the supernatural will have plenty of options thanks to the country's rich history of hauntings, murders, and battlefield massacres.
Thankfully, we have the expert team at Scottish Paranormal, who have over two decades of experience in delving into Scotland's most mysterious locations and host regular live streams from some of the country's scariest sites, on hand to offer their views on some of the best places to check out.
Ryan O'Neill, who is part of the Fife-based team, said: "As an organisation, we take immense pride in the history and locations of Scotland.
"Where we find such history, we also tend to find great mysteries associated which we then enthusiastically research, analyse and present to the world.
"After two decades of seeking Scotland's spirits, things are starting to get really interesting in our search; the journey is far from over, that is for sure."
Here are some of the most intriguing Scottish sites Ryan and the Scottish Paranormal team recommend for anyone seeking a hair-raising experience.
The teamsaid: " The Real Mary Kings Close is often cited as one of the most haunted locations in Scotland, if not the world. The first filed historical sighting that we have dates back to 1685 and involves the Coltheart family.
"The family moved into the Close after the outbreak of the plague. It was at this time that Thomas and his wife experienced apparitions and unknown energies in the Close.
"Some sceptics claim this may have been due to natural gasses escaping the Nor Loch causing hallucinations, however, this does not explain the many paranormal occurrences from within this location and lack of occurrence in locations closer to the former loch.
"We also have reported incidences of a woman dressed in black who frequents the close, perhaps Mary King herself in spirit form.
"In addition to the above, we have a worried looking man sighted, the famous little girl named 'Annie' who allegedly spoke to a famous Japanese psychic, sounds of a tavern in full swing, and scratching coming from inside a chimney, where a child sweep is said to have died."
The teamsaid: "Witnesses have reported seeing the shadowy figures of the Monks at this location. Usually, they are spotted on the first floor of the tower, and at times on the turnpike stair.
"We are unsure if these are interactive apparitions or more a residual replay of times gone-by. The ghost of James III & Queen Margaret has also been seen on the grounds here. Not surprising since they loved this location so much and are buried here too.
"Could it be their energies visiting due to a strong emotional connection to the area, or again, are we looking at possible residual replays?"
The teamsaid: "This stunning location with long sweeping corridors and little nooks and crannies is famed for being an inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula Castle.
"An example of paranormal activity reported here is the apparition who walks the ruins shaking his keys possibly a jailer who locked up the local accused and even tugs at the jacket of some unsuspecting visitors.
"Or the soldiers said to be of the WW2 era due to the military dress they own. Still walking the lands around this historical ruin.
"Then we have the horse and carriage, known to pull up at the once-grand entrance on the drive."
The teamsaid: "'Green Jeannie', has wandered the ruinous 1702 wing for over two centuries. walking between two rooms linked by a doorway, she is said to walk in a left to right direction behind the two barred windows, stopping only to peer into the walled courtyard from the second window.
"We witnessed one of the Deer Hounds stand, bark and stare towards this area during an investigation.
"That is not all, however another spirit that roams Balgonie Castle is that of an old man. While the Lairds wife was said to be resting in the Great Hall, she had opened her eyes to find a bearded apparition grey in statue in what looked like 17th-century costume staring towards her.
"Other spirits & apparitions include a grey man who uses a non-existent door in the main courtyard and a disembodied head with Ruff that floats around stairways near the hall.
"Reports of a lady are witnessed in the corner of the same main hall, dressed in period costume, looking sad and possibly a former servant or housekeeper. Witnesses have seen a spirit dog at the castle too."
The team said: "We explored this four-thousand-year-old ancient land the Jacobites mostly likely hid or ran through, escaping the bloody battle of Culloden.
"A highly energetic land that our ancestors were drawn too, with still the physical signs left with burial cairns and a breathtaking stone circle.
"Our environmental equipment went crazy here as we wandered this ancient site, even picking up a name via audio which was 'Hamish'."
The team said: "While many people have heard of the famous Edinburgh underground vaults, just a few miles outside the city centre the less well-known Gilmerton Cove can be found.
"This labyrinth of hand-carved tunnels is known to have been home to a Blacksmith named George Paterson in the 18th century, who claimed to have created them himself, however, experts believe they are much older.
"The reality is no one truly knows what the purpose of the caves were, which include a possible temple, carved benches and tables. There are many theories, including them being used for smuggling, by the Knights Templar, by a coven of witches and even the Hellfire Club.
"The team have encountered various activity here including environmental changes, voices and unexplained movements which may indicate an active spirit still resides here."
The team said: "A short distance outside of St Andrews, close to the village of Strathkinness lies a natural woodland called Magus Muir. Within these woods stands a single stone pyramid, a monument to Archbishop James Sharp.
"Sharp was a Scottish minister who became the Archbishop of St Andrews in 1661. As a fierce opponent of the Covenanter movement, he became a target of their supporters and on 3rd May, 1679, his coach was intercepted at Magus Muir by a small group of Covenanters.
"After being pulled from the coach, he was shot and stabbed to death in front of his distraught daughter. In November of the same year, five Covenanters who had been captured at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge were executed for the murder, despite having no involvement in it.
"There are claims that the Archbishops daughter's screams can still be heard echoing around the area, but a more feared ghost story surrounds that of the coach. It is said that on a stormy night it can be seen continuing its journey to St Andrews, and to witness the coach is a warning that there will be a death in the family within a year.
"A walk through these woods can be highly spooky and feel as if you're being watched by some unseen eyes following every movement you make. Be Warned..."
The team said: "Glasgow's Southern Necropolis, meaning City of the Dead, was opened in the year 1840. Amongst the approximate 250,000 burials, stands a statue of a veiled lady.
"This marks the final resting place of Magdalene Smith, and the family housekeeper, Mary McNaughton, both of whom died after being hit by a tram in a tragic accident.
"According to local legend, visitors to the graveyard after dusk have had terrifying encounters when the head of the statue turns to follow them as they pass.
"In 1954, paranoia spread through the city when rumours of a seven-foot tall vampire with metal teeth that had been said to have been seen roaming through the Necropolis had captured two children.
"Despite gangs of local youths spending several nights patrolling the area looking for both the beast and the lost children, neither were found nor were there any reports of missing children.
"A highly atmospheric place to visit where you'll feel lost in time and very watched."
Scottish Paranormal is a research and investigation organisation based in West Wemyss, Scotland. The organisation has operated for two decades, exploring, writing and presenting content from some of Scotland's most mysterious and alleged haunted locations.
They provide further insight into their work weekly on Facebook by conducting Live stream sessions from selected locations. You can follow them on their website http://www.Scottish-Paranormal.co.uk and on Facebook.
Don't miss the top culture and heritage stories from around Scotland. Sign up to our twice weekly Scotland Now newsletter here.
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