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Heritage and Culture

Folklore Thursday: The Ghosts of Culloden Battlefield

By Kirsty McIntyre

Many of the ancient battlefields of Scotland are rumoured to be plagued by the souls of those who died there. It's not surprising that Culloden, the site one of the most infamous battles in British history, is among them. Over in under an hour, nearly 1500 Jacobite soldiers were killed, and it remains the last battle fought on British soilBut according to some locals, the battle still rages. Gunfire, swords and crying are said to echo across the empty moor, particularly on the anniversary of the battle. As well as sounds of combat, the figure of a lone Jacobite soldier reportedly roams the battlefield, wandering in his clan tartan, muttering "defeated" over and over again as he goes.

He's not the only ghostly visitor to the site. Close to the battlefield is the house that Bonnie Prince Charlie, leader of the Jacobite rebellion, slept in the night before the battle. Although now a hotel, it is said that the Prince still lingers there, wearing full Highland dress, waiting for the battle that will restore him to the throne.

The spirits of the soldiers who died on Culloden Moor continue to make their presence known in inspiration for songs and art to this day. Diana Gabaldon, author of the popular Outlander series of books, featured the Battle of Culloden in her stories, and upon visiting the site claimed that she could feel the spirits of the dead soldiers as she walked among the graves. Perhaps the lack of birdsong that residents say still continues around the ancient battlefield is responsible...or maybe the doomed Jacobite troops really do linger over the graves of their fallen comrades.

Culloden Moor is still as ominous a place as it was on the morning of April 16th 1746. If you're in the area, why not pay the battlefield a visit and see for yourself?

Elaine McRobbie 8 months ago at 18:34
Yes there is a eerie feeling in the battle field !
Dmitriy 7 months ago at 12:47
Hi Elaine,

Have you been to the site of the battlefield? It sounds like you may have had an interesting experience there!
Elaine Mcrobbie 8 months ago at 11:41
Yes have visited the battlefield. A very sad and desolate place!
Sav. M. 8 months ago at 08:17
I, too, have visited the battlefield, many years ago noe but I still recall the quiet eeriness around the graves. and even on a bright sunny September morning, I felt a chill and a shiver, as I walked silently across the field. An alternative remembrance day - Lest we forget.
Dmitriy 7 months ago at 12:47
Hi Sav.,

It sounds like you had quite a memorable experience there. It's such an important point in Scottish history, and there's nothing that can bring that to life like visiting the site itself.

Thank you for sharing your own experiences with this!
Catherine Munden 8 months ago at 20:31
When I was there I felt such an overwhelming sense of loss. There was such an eerie quietness, it made years come to my eyes.
Dmitriy 7 months ago at 12:47
Hi Catherine,

There are few places on Earth where a historical event can be brought to life so intensely, and Culloden Moor is definitely one of them. Thank you for sharing your experience there with us.