Ghosts & Ghouls Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"A form sits by the window,
That is not seen by day,
For as soon as the dawn approaches
It vanishes away."
~ The Haunted Chamber, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
Green ladies are almost exclusively a Scottish ghost occurrence, either believed to be spirits enchanted by fairies, elemental beings such as Grugachs or Glaistigs, or ghosts with a tragic history and common element of being unfortunate in love or marriage. Skipness Castle is said to have a gruagach, a Green Lady , described as being as small as a child but dressed in green and with golden hair. The spirit would clean and tidy, and feed hens, but it is also accused of nearly killing a man it believed was sleeping in the wrong bed. The ‘Green Lady’ is also said to have thwarted an attack on the castle, by spreading confusion amongst the besiegers.
Green Lady of Skipness Castle
The Green Man, the pagan nature spirit with a face of leaves frequently appears, carved in wood or stone, in churches, chapels, abbeys and cathedrals, the earliest example of which is found at St. Abre, in St. Hilaire-le-grand, dating from c. 400 AD. But there is another feminine spirit figure in green, the Green Lady Ghost.
Green Ladies are unique to the United Kingdom and are not seen in other parts of the world.
Associated with many Scottish homes and castles, most Green Lady Ghosts are considered benevolent in nature, similar to Irish Banshees in that they protect a specific home and family. But unlike the Irish Banshee which moves with the family, Green Ladies stay with the home and protect the next family that moves in.
Generally reckoned as lovely slender young women with long hair, Green Ladies are clothed in green gowns that reach to the ground. Legend says that they often arrive at a home in corporeal form, dripping wet, asking for shelter in order to warm up and dry off. If welcomed, they stay and become that home’s protector.
Over the years many Scottish farmers have claimed Green Ladies as protectors. They would protect the cattle, herding them into barns or shelters when a storm was about to hit, or even protecting them from being stolen by enemies during conflicts.
A famous Green Lady ghost story is connected to Skipness Castle near Loch Fyne. This Green Lady ghost has protected this castle and its family for hundreds of years. She is said to have cast a state of “confusion” over the enemy during an attack of the castle, forcing them to retreat.
For a list of more haunted castles in Scotland, click the Green Lady ghost "Lonely Ghost" by artist folda.