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HauntedIllinois.com - Haunted Illinois goes on a Supernatural Ghost Tour of Scotland

Day 2:

Day two started off with our group landing at Heathrow Airport in London. Even though we were continuing on to a connecting flight, we still had to go through security again. I guess you can't be too careful these days. After passing through the security checkpoint, we waited at the terminal for a couple of hours, before embarking on the flight to Edinburgh International Airport. With the long day of travel that I had already experienced, I was glad that the layover wasn't any longer than that. The flight was only about an hour and a half long, so we were there before we knew it.

After gathering our luggage, we all made our way to the tour bus, where we were given a nice welcome by our tour guide for the week, Richard Felix. Richard, a professional paranormal investigator and historian, is probably best known for his appearances on the television show "Most Haunted". Throughout the week, he shared his wealth of knowledge related to local culture, history, and paranormal folklore. 

On the bus, we discussed the first optional activity on the itinerary. It was a “Burns Night”, at the Globe Inn, in Dumfries. Famous Scottish poet Robert Burns used to frequent the Inn. In fact, they still have the chair by the fire place, where he used to sit and write his poems. The building is supposed to be haunted by a serving girl, who he made pregnant. The optional stop sounded like fun, but considering that it was going to be a late night activity, as well as how exhausted everyone was from a long day of travel, I had my doubts whether or not many people would want to go. The fatigue level of everyone on the tour was pretty high and it was still early in the day.

The first leg of our journey took us through the twisting and winding roads of Scotland's southern borders region. The rolling countryside was a sight to behold; however, all of the twists and turns were a bit much for a couple of the passengers, who got a little dizzy. Some of the roads that we encountered were only a single lane, barely wide enough for the bus to get through. We were really lucky that we didn't encounter any oncoming traffic in those areas! 

On The Road in Scotland

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Our tour bus.
Our tour bus.

Roundabout - One of the many dizzying 'roundabouts' that we went through in Scotland.
Roundabout
Richard Felix - Our Tour Guide
Richard Felix - Our Tour Guide







Gas Prices!
Gas Prices!



 

Our first official stop of the tour was Hermitage Castle, located in the border regions of Scotland. Unfortunately, when we got there, we found that the gate was locked. Since the tour group had already been given permission to visit the castle, we took matters into our own hands and climbed over the gate, to get a closer look. After walking around the property and snapping some pictures, we gathered around to listen to Richard Felix explain the violent history of the landmark. 

Hermitage Castle was built in the 12th century for the DeSoulis family. In the early 1300s, Walter DeSoulis, one of the original descendents, lived on the property. Legend has it that he was into witchcraft and the dark arts. He would kidnap local children and sacrifice them, during his dark rituals. Local townsfolk consulted a warlock, who said that the only way to get rid of him was to hang him with a rope made of sand. Following the warlock's instructions, they filled a lead tube with sand, put it around DeSoulis’ neck and burned him to death. He has been haunting the castle ever since. His familiar (a demon's minion) was called "Red Cap", because he would wear a hat made from the flesh and skin of the deceased children. Red Cap’s ghost also haunts the castle. 

After learning about the history of the castle and looking around for a while, we returned to the entrance, only to realize that the gate wasn't really locked after all. It was only latched, so I guess we didn't have to climb over it to see the castle. Oops!   

 Hermitage Castle

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Climbing over the gate.










It was really open the whole time. Duh!
    

Listed next on the itinerary was checking into the hotel; however, we were given the option of making an additional stop before the end of the day. Even though everyone was tired, we all agreed to make the detour. I personally wanted to take advantage of every opportunity and not miss out on any part of the ”Scotland experience”.  I think everyone else felt the same way. Our detour was the "Garden of Remembrance", which is a monument in Dryfesdale Cemetery that commemorates the sad loss of life in the Lockerbie air crash of 1988. On December 21, 1988, Pan Am flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. As a result of the explosion, many houses in the Lockerbie area were destroyed and several people in town were killed by the falling debris from the plane. After paying our respects, we all piled back on the bus, to continue to the hotel. I am really glad that we took the time to stop there.

 Dryfesdale Cemetery

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On the way to Dryfesdale Cemetery
On the way to Dryfesdale Cemetery
On the way to Dryfesdale Cemetery
On the way to Dryfesdale Cemetery




The marble wall inscribed with the names of all the people who lost their lives in the crash.





    

After a short drive, we arrived at the Gretna Hall Hotel, in Gretna Green. Located just one mile from the border of Scotland and England, the building was originally built for the Johnstone family in 1710. This hotel also has a haunted history. Various supernatural phenomenon have been reported in the area of rooms 130 through 139. Chambermaids reported seeing a woman in a white dress walk through the wall. As a result, the chambermaids now work in pairs; they refuse to work alone.

The Gretna Hall Hotel dining room was where we had our first group dinner. Before dinner was served, we were all encouraged to introduce ourselves to the rest of the ghost tour group and explain why we decided to sign up for the tour. That was a great way to get to know the people you were going to be spending the next week with. After a nice dinner and some socializing, most of our group headed to their rooms for some much needed rest after such a long day. Sadly, I was just too exhausted to participate in the “Burns Night” excursion.  

Gretna Hall Hotel

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View from my hotel room window.



  

 

 

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