If the Spirit Moves You, Scotland Has the Accommodations

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By Caroline Scutt

Reed Travel Features

NEW YORK -- If ghostly shadows, the unexplained rattling of chains or the sound of things that go bump in the night are clients' ideas of local color, they might be thrilled by staying in one or of Scotland's haunted hotels. Of course, there is no guarantee guests will experience the unexplainable at these properties, but one never knows.

Following is a selection of hotels with their own ghost tales to tell:

* The Cross Keys Hotel in Northgate, Peebles, was built as a coaching inn in 1693 and is reputed to be haunted by Meg Dodds, a previous landlady. The building, with its cobbled courtyard, is featured regularly in "The Waverly Novels" of Sir Walter Scott, who was a regular guest for many years.

* Dryburgh Abbey Hotel in St. Boswells was built about 1845 where a house and abbey once stood. It is said that the lady of the house at the time started a liaison with one of the monks of the adjacent abbey. The abbot, on hearing of the monk's affair ordered him to be killed immediately. The young lady, on hearing of the monk's death, was so distraught that she threw herself into the river and drowned. The Grey Lady, as she is now known, has been seen walking across the chain bridge and in some out buildings of the hotel.

* Tibbie Shiels, isolated on the shores of St. Mary's Loch, is a coaching inn dating to 1876 and once was owned by a woman of the same name. She died here in 1878 at the age of 96, and her wandering spirit is said to keep a caring eye over the inn.

* Comlongon Castle, located in Clarencefield, is allegedly haunted by the ghost of Marian Carruthers. In 1564, she was forced to enter into an arranged marriage, disappeared soon after and a few months later was found dead. It is unknown whether the cause of death was murder or suicide. She was never given a funeral, so her ghost still wanders about.

* Amatola Hotel in Aberdeen is home to a lady bedecked in the same 19th century outfit seen in a portrait hanging in the hotel. She is rumored to be the great-great-grandmother of past owners of the house.

* Johnstounburn House in Humbie, about 17 miles from Edinburgh, boasts two ghosts. The first is the wife of Andrew Broun, owner of Johnstounburn in the 19th century. It is said that she returned to the house after her death and can be seen in looking out the dining room windows. The second ghost is of a chauffeur who brought guests to the house to visit the Usher family, who resided there from 1884 until 1976. For reasons unknown, the chauffeur decided to kill himself on the property, and his ghost reportedly haunts two of the bedrooms.

* Meldrum House Hotel in Oldmeldrum is home to the White Lady, a spirit who has made several appearances, the last known one in 1985 during a thunderstorm when she gave a male guest an ice-cold kiss.

* The Thainstone House Hotel and Country Club, located in Inverurie, also is haunted by a female spirit. This ghost was dubbed the Green Lady because she died while wearing a green cloak. There have been recent sightings of the Green Lady in the hotel restaurant, and the property has a bedroom where things reputedly move around and pets refuse to enter.

* The Broadford Hotel, located in Broadford on the Isle of Skye, has had a number of unexplained occurrences. A few strange happenings include mist and fog in some of the rooms, lamps and ladders moving and a mysterious image seen on the staircase. An old housekeeper has been spotted searching for her favorite chair.

* Tulloch Castle Hotel in Dingwall dates to the 12th century, and its ghost story originates in Victorian times when the Clan Davidson was in possession of the castle and land. A child caught her father with another woman, ran from the scene and fell down a staircase to her death. Her ghost has roamed the castle since.

* The halls of 800-year-old Dalhousie Castle Hotel in Bonnyrigg are filled with strange noises blamed on the Grey Lady. She was the mistress of the master of the castle, and his jealous wife imprisoned her in a turret. Accommodations are priced from about $222.

* Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club Resort, located in Kirknewton, was built in 1725 by the Dalrymple family and was acquired by Lord Aberdour, who became the Earl of Morton. He had five children, one of whom is said to be the White Lady who haunts Dalmahoy, visiting corridors and some bedrooms in the hotel. Her portrait hangs in the hotel.

* Cartland Bridge Hotel in Lanark originally was the private residence of James Farle and was converted into a hotel in 1962. The Farle family had a 7-year-old daughter named Annie who met with an untimely death while riding near the house. Her ghost still visits from time to time, and she is said to be particularly fond of the room that was her "Dolls Room."

* The Clydesdale Hotel, also located in Lanark, was erected in 1792 on the site of the Greyfriars Monastery. The basement is situated above the monk's original sleeping quarters. The ghost, known as the Grey Abbot is a friendly spirit whose main concern is to look after the well-being of the hotel. In the attic of the hotel is said to be the ghost of a young child killed during a fire in the 1800s. Some guests who have had rooms near the attic have reported hearing a child crying.

* Kilmichael Country House Hotel, located in Brodick on the Isle of Arran, is believed to be the oldest house on the island. The hotel is said to be haunted by the Grey Lady. No one seems to know who she is, only that she visits certain rooms.

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