When it comes to ghosts, Scotland and England seem to take the lion’s share of haunted experiences. They really seem to have more ghostly encounters compared to the rest of Europe.
Major tourist destinations like London, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews all feature very popular ghost tours.
ENGLAND IS FULL OF GHOSTS
However, many of these tours are purely for fun and ghosts in England and Scotland are pretty ordinary things. So there’s not much of a chilling factor. I did the St.Andrews ghost tour one evening, for instance, and there was absolutely nothing scary about it.
In fact, it was so un-scary (even if St. Andrews can be a rather somber town, especially on a dark and overcast day) that the organisers had to rustle up a fake ghost to appear before its clients. A man in a ghost costume surprised us at the end of the tour.
THE EDINBURGH GHOST TOUR
Nevertheless, some tours are just not for the faint-hearted. In fact, they’re plain scary.
I once joined an Edinburgh ghost tour that took in many locations with gory and violent pasts. It took us to Mary’s Close, an underground attraction that is reportedly among Edinburgh’s most haunted places.
Then it terminated in a local cemetery well-known for apparitions. I had to leave midway because of a terribly uneasy feeling. Apparently, not a few participants experience this, and some even start shaking all over.
THE MOST HAUNTED HOTEL IN ENGLAND
While many hotels worldwide might consider a ghostly resident asa public relations nightmare, quite a number of UK hotels seem to revel in, if not enjoy, the notoriety. Some even employ their ghosts as an effective marketing tool.
The 12th century luxury Ettington Park Hotel near Stratford-upon-Avon, for example, is often called England’s most haunted hotel.
THE LADY IN WHITE
This isn’t just because it’s neo-gothic architecture fits the popular imagery of a haunted house. Both guests and hotel staff frequently report seeing a lady in white roaming the corridors and hearing banging doors and footsteps from empty rooms.
BANGING DOORS IN THE COTSWOLDS
I had a similar experience at a 16th century hotel in the Cotswolds, an area of ancient origins that almost certainly has a ghost story haunting every neighborhood. My suite – which was fashioned out of several rooms in the attic — was large, bright and decorated in pastel colored chintz.
SPIRITS AT MIDNIGHT
I was very pleased with it until midnight came (what is it with ghosts and the midnight hour anyway?) when I was again woken up by the incessant banging of my bathroom door.
This was in spite of closed windows and no wind at all. I closed the door, but it simply started again after half an hour – as if someone was teasing me and preventing me from sleeping.
EARLY MORNING ESCAPE
I feigned sleep for the rest of the night, not wanting to come face to face with the unexpected by turning on the lights. Of course, at daybreak, we checked out. I’m from Asia after all, and if I were to encounter the supernatural, I’d much prefer them to be from where I hail.
Read more hotel ghost stories in the run-up to Halloween on Travelife Magazine.