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Green Lady of Crathes Castle, Grampian

Banchory is about as terrifying as afternoon tea with scones, jam and clotted cream. It sits in the sylvan splendour of Royal Deeside with a near impenetrable smugness, safe in the knowledge that the standard of living there is astronomical, the air is freshly squeezed from the Earth’s atmosphere and the people are jolly glad about all of this. So, anyway, what’s so terrifying about Banchory? Crathes Castle , obviously.
There is nary a stately home, castle or tenement building in Scotland without its very own haunting. Crathes Castle – 16th Century period features, nice garden, oak ceilings, convenient watchtower, great location, etc.. – is no different. Royal Deeside might be plump with the bounty from its fields, forests and rivers; but within the walls of Crathes the withered spectre of the Green Lady stalks the corridors, putting the frighteners on those she meets. More than that, she is a portent of death.
Whether you are a believer or not in the supernatural, there is a multitude of hauntings in Scottish castles by a green lady; both Thainstone and Fyvie Castle have a resident Green Lady. Perhaps green is the colour of the undead, when their spirit coalesces under the cloak of darkness and its time to raise the pulses of those trying to get a good night’s sleep. That said, there are a number of White Ladies too.
Crathes’ haunting said to arise from a rather nasty poisoning incident that happened after the death of the Laird. His widow, Lady Agnes was an obsessive mother, whose relationship with her son Alexander was all consuming. Alexander’s blossoming romance with a young common girl called Bertha caused no end of emotional ructions.
While her son was away, Lady Agnes poisoned Bertha. Simple as that. A wee drop of deadly nightshade or similar into her evening’s claret and away went the problem. Except Alexander found out, and in death, Bertha had driven mother and son apart. Either of these tormented souls are said to be haunt the castle.
Curiously the Green Lady is thought to be neither Lady Agnes or Bertha, and such is the nature of anecdotal evidence, plus the fact that ghosts rarely participate in a census, the identity of the Green Lady is unknown. Some say she is a servant who disappeared in disgrace after becoming pregnant. But who really knows? We’d go an ask her personally, but given her reputation as a portent of death for a member of the Burnett family it is understandable that the family would like her to maintain a low profile.

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