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Shetland Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Barbara Pitcairn

Location: Brae - Busta House Hotel
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: It has been suggested that the apparition of a grey-haired woman wearing a brown dress and a lace cap is Barbara Pitcairn, secretly married to a former owner of the house just prior to his death.

Smelly Creature

Location: Burra Haaf - Waters in the area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1900s
Further Comments: Several reports of a creature with a sail-like body and a flipper on the end of its nose exist in this region of water off the Shetland Isles. A fishing crew who encountered it stated the beast destroyed several of their nets and came so close to their boat they could detect a pungent stench.

Petrified Stones

Location: Fetlar - Haltadans stone circle
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This group of standing stones are said to have been trolls who danced until dawn - unable to return to their cave in time, they all turned to rock.

Harassed by Fairies

Location: Fetlar - Unnamed disused watermills on the island, unlikely to remain
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Several abandoned watermills on the island were associated with myths, the most prevalent one being that fairies had driven the owners away.

Nygel

Location: Foula - Mills with water wheels
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The Nygel was a water horse that appeared to hang around locations with water wheels, using its teeth to stop the wheel turning. It had a tail that arched over its back. One story said the creature entered a home of a local man; the occupant fled, and the building was left empty for thirty years.

Halibut-Tailed creature

Location: Isle of Yell - Thirty miles off the coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1833
Further Comments: Three (or six) fishermen claimed to have caught a ninety centimetre long mermaid while at sea. The creature had arms around 23 centimetres in length with webbed fingers, and while it had blue eyes and nostrils, no ears or chin could be seen. It possessed a tail similar to a halibut and had two fins on its shoulders. After listening to the creature wail for three hours, the fishermen threw it back into the sea.

Gentleman in Top Hat

Location: Isle of Yell - Windhouse, near the Lumbister RSPB Reserve
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Early Twentieth century
Further Comments: Merely one of the spooks found here, the man in the top hat not putting on the Ritz shares the house with a woman dressed in silken clothes, a former pet dog, and a servant who is doomed to spend the rest of time ascending the staircase.

Soldier

Location: Lerwick - Garrison Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: An old story says that a ghostly soldier would lurk at the foot of a staircase near the performers' entrance, while another says the lighting area is haunting by something.

Footsteps

Location: Lerwick - Old Radio Scotland building
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Employees working late would hear footsteps cross the upper floor, even though the area would be devoid of life. When the broadcasters moved from the building, the haunting ceased.

Footsteps

Location: Lerwick - Osla's Cafe
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Mid 2000s
Further Comments: A former employee claimed to have heard ghostly footsteps on the staircase and the sound of someone unseen rummaging around through a trunk upstairs.

Man in Brown

Location: Lerwick - Shetland Library
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Formerly a church, the library is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a man wearing a brown coat. Staff claim that books have flown off shelves without being touched, and disembodied footsteps heard in the basement.

U Boat Sighting

Location: Muckle Flugga - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 28 July 1918
Further Comments: The German submarine U108 encountered a giant marine saurian, estimated to be 18 to 24 metres in length.

Small Trolls

Location: Northmavine - Trowie Knowe cairn
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This cairn was used by trows who would only leave it by moonlight to go hunting.

Unknown Killers

Location: Papa Stour - Across the island
Type: Other
Date / Time: Eighteenth century?
Further Comments: After midday, unknown entities would emerge from hiding and cross the island, looking for anyone who had wandered too far from town. They were said to be able to hurt or kill even the strongest man.

Selkie Prince

Location: Papa Stour - Exact location not known
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A group of hunters who arrived at the island killed and skinned many seals before a violent storm began to batter the island - unbeknown to the hunters, a selkie prince was amongst the seals. The hunters finally returned the skins to the remaining seals, after which the storm ceased.

Remains in the Bay

Location: Scalloway - Bay
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1810
Further Comments: The remains of a large mystery sea creature drifted into Scalloway Bay. Described as a looking like an upturned vessel, it remained in the bay for two weeks before disappearing - during this time, no one was brave enough to approach it for a closer look.

Presence

Location: Scalloway - Gallows Hill
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The 'presence' that haunts this hill is likely a reminder of the innocent women who were murdered here after accused of witchcraft.


An old photograph of Scalloway Castle

Figure

Location: Scalloway - Scalloway Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: During a production of Macbeth, a witness reported seeing a figure on the wall of the castle who vanished. Local folklore says Earl Patrick Stewart, who commissioned the castle, insisted the walls contain the hair and blood of locals.

Kelpies

Location: Scalloway - Waters around the area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This area was thought to be home to humanoid sea creatures that drowned their victims before partaking of the deceased flesh.

Shoepultie

Location: Shetland - Exact areas unknown
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This creature was said to be like traditional water horses, other than it would use its tail like a propeller once in the water.

Cursed

Location: Shetland - Exact location not known
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Pre-1822
Further Comments: A fisherman who caught a mermaid while out at sea killed the creature with a knife. It was said that from that moment, he was cursed.

Noggle

Location: Shetland - Near water wheels
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The Noggle was a type of water horse that could be found stopping water wheels. When a miller appeared to chase the beast off, he would often be tricked into mounting it - being taken to deep water and his doom.

Tangie

Location: Shetland Islands - Fitful Head (cave), aka the Thief's Hole
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A mythical seahorse that was owned by the robber-bandit Black Eric. The creature continued to roam the area for a while following its master's death.

Upset Sea Creature

Location: Shetland Islands - Southeast of the island of Fetlar
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1881 or 1882
Further Comments: The crew of the fishing vessel Bertie fired several shots at a sea monster they passed - this angered the beast, which created waves of such force that they washed over the boat, taking away fishing gear and other supplies. The creature continued to stalk the crew until night fell.

Sailor

Location: Symbister - Symbister House
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: One story says the site is haunted by a sailor murdered by a gardener that accused him of cheating during a card game.

Records 1 - 25 of 34

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