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So you want to stay in a haunted hotel?

The Scots have a reputation for their hospitality, but guests in some of the country's top hotels, pubs and inns, might find themselves with an extra guest sharing their room. The identity of the guest could be wide and varied. It could be the old landlady who refuses to leave her territory, former guests with mysterious histories or even an anonymous presence who will torment the unsuspecting visitor. These are of course just some of the ghosts who are reputed to haunt some of Scotland's hotels. The older inns in particular have many a story to tell and unless your easily "spooked" will make your stay all the worthwhile.

If you were to encounter the undead, which type of spirit would you like to meet? The unseen, mischievous, but ultimately harmless or the spirit acting out some old ritual from which it cannot break free. Whatever one you prefer Scotland has them in abundance.

Travel to the Learmonth Hotel, currently owned by Jarvis (see link on right hand side of page) in Edinburgh, which is conveniently situated for Tourists in the capital city and you may find yourself involved with a mischievous ghost. It apparently will play pranks on guests, locking them out of their rooms, switching electrical appliance on and off at will and the old favourite of opening and closing doors. Its identity is unknown but at least it seems friendly.

Or what about the unfortunate tale that disturbs the former distillery on the Island of Islay. The story that is told would be a little amusing if it were not so tragic. Apparently the building was still in use during the nineteenth century as a distillery. One night an enterprising (and probably thirsty) chap broke in and climbed to the second floor. Finding a seemingly unending supply of fine malt he proceeded to drink, shall we say more than one. After some time he decided to leave for home but, brain addled by drink, decided that the quickest way out was by the closest window (two floors up remember). It will not surprise you to learn that he died from the fall. The window from which the unfortunate burglar jumped was sealed up during conversion work on the building. However, his ghost still appears form time to time around the place where he met his death, surprising visitors who are looking for another type of spirit.

One of the oldest Inns in Scotland, which is reputed to be haunted, is the Old Post Horn Inn near Crawford . Crawford is close to the present M74 motorway, which is the main link between Scotland and England, and even before the motorway was built it would still have been roughly the road south. The inn was built around 1744. It would be a natural conclusion therefore, to expect it to be haunted by Jacobite soldiers, as the woods round the area were used to hang them. Surprisingly though the ghost is in fact that of a young girl. Although her exact identity is unknown, it is assumed that she is the daughter of a one-time landlord of the inn. It is also assumed that because she plays in the area which was formerly the stable (now the dining area) that some tragic accident happened there. So if you visit are happily enjoying your meal in the restaurant and some young voice speaks or sings to you - Perhaps, just perhaps!!

Scotland of course also has it's fair share of ghostly castles but we can leave that for another time.