Have you ever spent a night in a haunted hotel?…
Andy and I were exploring the west coast of Scotland on a mini-break in November 2014. We’d booked three nights away in three different hotels en-route, and we were having the best time. Our journey took us off the main roads and onto the single tracks to explore circular roads and peninsulas right along the coastline. We discovered some incredible white beaches and saw parts of Scotland that neither of us had seen before.
On our second night away we turned off the main road again and onto single track for the last leg of our journey before reaching our hotel. It promised to be another beautiful journey. We took our time, stopping at a big white beach before arriving at the tiny village where our hotel was located.
Before checking in, we stopped at a stunning viewpoint at the entrance of the village, which offered an incredible vista of many of the islands off the west coast.
Our hotel was the only one for miles, and there was a small village store beside it. It was a nice place, overlooking a loch. The hotel was split into two sections – the older original building containing two upstairs bedrooms to the left of the entrance, and a new extension containing several ground level rooms to the right. The owner led us up the creaky stairs into the old section of the hotel, and our room was to the left of the staircase. The bedroom opposite ours had the door slightly ajar, and he advised us that no one would be staying there overnight.
Dinner was great, and we went for a short evening stroll before heading back to our room to turn in for the night.
Everything was quiet until the dead of night. It must have been around midnight when things began to happen. Andy was sleeping soundly beside me, so missed all of what followed. I didn’t see any point in waking him, because although I felt deeply uneasy by what I could hear, I didn’t feel that whatever it was intended to harm me. Nothing could be gained by both of us being awake anyway…
Just so you know, the door was very securely locked from the inside, including the door-chain. We generally travel with a lot of Andy’s photography equipment which is very valuable and so are always security conscious. No one had, or could have broken in without us hearing a lot of commotion.
To the left of my side of the bed stood a large double wardrobe. My wax jacket was hanging on the front of it. I’d hung it there because it was slightly damp from the November mist. In the dead of night something began scratching on my jacket. No more than two feet away from me, it sounded like long fingernails clawing up and down on the surface, quick, rapid movements, up and down, scratching. The sound was so close that I could have reached out and touched it. However, I didn’t dare. I just wanted it to stop and go away. The scratching continued for several minutes as I lay there with my eyes wide open, afraid to move.
Then it stopped, and something walked across our creaky floorboards, passing by the end of our bed and headed towards the window. I could hear something being set down on the windowsill, followed by rustling in the left hand corner of the room. I could vaguely see through the dark, and could see no one there. I would have been able to see a dense human form, and although the sounds were there, no form was present. Then something landed on the roof. Although it startled me at first, this noise was okay. It was clearly outside our room space even though it created the loud hollow sound of bird’s feet on a tin roof. Perhaps a crow… whatever it was it walked across the roof, and funnily enough, hearing that felt good. It brought me back to normality.
The footsteps across our floorboards continued back and forth for some time. At one point pacing almost desperately, as if to search for something outside the window. Whatever it was kept returning to that window overlooking the loch. Then it returned to my bedside, again scratching on my coat.
After what must have been two or three hours of laying still, staring wide-eyed into darkness while I listened to these repeating noises, I surrendered to a lucid dream state… I couldn’t remain awake any longer. I could still hear the sounds around me, but I felt myself falling into a hole, energy swirling around me. Then I felt like I was floating weightless up into the room above my bed. I drifted across the room, clearly able to see everything around me despite the darkness. I floated through the door and out onto the landing at the top of the stairs, everything still swirling. I felt partly dizzy, partly afraid, partly exhilarated. I felt wide awake. This wasn’t any kind of normal dream.
In front of me I could see the second bedroom. I floated into there, not quite grasping what was happening. After I’d entered the room, the door of the bedroom swung closed violently, locking me in. Everything began swirling with an even more powerful force and it felt like the room began to close in around me. The walls, the bed, the chair, they were all merging, melting, swirling, getting smaller and smaller until I felt like I was stuck in a small capsule of pulsating energy. Terrified, I forced myself awake…
Instantaneously I was back on my bed, gasping for air. Andy was still laying peacefully asleep beside me. This time I did wake him up. I was visibly shaken, not having experienced anything remotely like that before. I told him about the night I’d just had and he really wasn’t sure what to make of it. Knowing I’m not drawn to drama, he listened and heard me out.
Dawn approached. Nothing whatsoever had been disturbed in our room, despite the noise. I had a somewhat uneasy shower, then got dressed so we could make an early start. I must admit, I wanted to get out of that room.
Before heading downstairs for breakfast, my curiosity got the better of me. I had to know. I put my head around the door of the bedroom opposite ours, wanting to know if it looked the same as I’d seen it earlier. To my astonishment it did look just as I’d seen it. That was enough for me…
Without mentioning anything specific, over breakfast I asked the owner if any of his guests had experienced ghostly encounters during their stay. He looked at me, smiled and replied “Well funnily enough, when guests do mention it, it’s only ever from one of the two bedrooms in the old part of the hotel”.
Breakfast was fabulous… but I never, ever want to stay there again.
We also had a ghostly encounter in a hotel in Broadford on the Isle of Skye when we were staying for two nights. We were allocated a beautiful room at the top of the stairs, the first room in a corridor of around three or four bedrooms. The corridor had automatic lighting built into the ceiling, so any guests walking up the stairs and along the corridor would have a lit journey through before the lights turned themselves off again. Throughout the first night we could hear someone walking up the stairs and along the corridor quite regularly. The corridor lights kept coming on, and I could see them sending pillars of light into our room from under the door. Every hour or so, even on into the early hours, a set of footsteps passed by our door and the lights came on briefly. I didn’t think anything of it because I thought it was other hotel guests.
The second night the same thing happened, and this time I decided to open our door to see who was walking along the corridor at 4am. There was no one there.
The following morning I mentioned it to the owner and he found it very strange. He told us that no one was allocated any rooms along our corridor on either of the nights we were staying, and that no one would or should have been walking there.
Now that kind of ghostly encounter I don’t mind…
Please be aware that we’ve stayed in probably around 80 or more Scottish hotels, and only two of them have shown any signs of an unexplained nature. Please don’t let this put you off coming to Scotland, because it’s most definitely not the norm…
Secondly, I haven’t named either hotel in my post, because I don’t want to affect their business. They are good people, and any ghostly presence is not their fault. I am happy to share the name of hotels with you if you want to drop me a private email.
(The painting above is one I did in September 2016 ).