The Paranormal Database

Examining folkloric, paranormal & cryptozoological locations in the UK and beyond

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Orkney Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana


Location: All over isles - General area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A hybrid, sea living creature, the Nuckelavee was described as having the features of both a mighty horse and its rider. The rider was legless and appeared to grow straight out of the horse's back. Its head was ten times the size of a normal human head, possessing a very wide mouth that jutted out like a pig's snout, and a single red eye that blazed with flame. It was both hairless and skinless. Nuckelavee's breath was toxic and it was responsible for the 'Mortasheen', a fatal disease of cattle.

Good Looking Woman

Location: Birsay - Rocks along coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Nineteenth century
Further Comments: A wife and husband witnessed a mermaid sitting on the rocks, described as 'good looking' by the wife. The couple tried to capture the creature, but it swam away.

Walking Stone

Location: Birsay - Standing Stone in the area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: 31 December (reoccurring)
Further Comments: At the stroke of midnight on Hogmanay, this stone would walk down to Birsay loch and would briefly dip its head into the water before moving back to its original location. Anyone foolish enough to try to observe the stone at this time would be found dead the following morning, laying by the base of the stone.

An old woodcut of a mermaid swimming past a sailing ship.


Location: Deerness - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Late nineteenth century
Further Comments: These women of the water were seen dozens of times during the last twenty years of the nineteenth century. One was said to have been shot, but the body was not recovered.

Vanishing Twitchers

Location: Eynhallow - Exact location unknown
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 14 July 1990
Further Comments: Two birdwatchers that vanished without trace on the island after arriving with 86 other people were thought by locals to have been taken by merfolk. An extensive search by the coastguard could find no trace of the missing people.

An old woodcut of several ears of corn dropping grains.

Bleeding Ears

Location: Eynhallow - General area
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Another local legend says that the ears of corn which grow here bleed if cut after dusk.

White Horse of Clumly

Location: Hestwall - Clumly Farm
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Weather Dependent: Stormy nights
Further Comments: Both horse and rider were killed in an accident as they galloped back home, the rider having just disposed of a body. Now the pair only appear when the environment is right.


Location: Holm - Deepdale
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: December 1941
Further Comments: The rotting corpse of a basking shark that washed up on the beach was mistaken as a Scapasaurus or sea monster, killed by depth charges.

Angry Little Men

Location: Hoy - Cliff top at Torness
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: 1940s
Further Comments: Seen by a witness throwing themselves off the cliff edge in a mad dance, the witness said that these small men looked 'primitive', with long dark hair.

Disappearing Collie

Location: Hoy - Former lodge of Melsetter House
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970
Further Comments: This phantom dog slowly disappeared as it approached the witness down a corridor in their holiday home.

Water Horse

Location: Hoy - Pegal Burn
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This creature would attack anyone using the bridge over the burn at night.

Water Horse

Location: Hoy - Runsigill Hill, Radwick
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The water horse that lived on the hill would attack people travelling along the road to Longhope.

An old postcard showing the Scapa coastline.

Soft Landing

Location: Hoy - Scapa Flow
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Attack in 1850s, diver sighting unknown
Further Comments: A young lad sitting on the rocks claimed he was attacked by a sea monster with a horse's mane - it tried (unsuccessfully) to clamp its teeth around his legs. Many years later, a diver reported descending to investigate a sunken German ship, only to realise he was standing on the back of a large sea monster that had made its home in the wreak.

Dead Creature

Location: Isle of Hunda - Hope of Hunda
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: February 1942
Further Comments: The remains of a creature some 8.5 metres long were originally named as being that of a Scapasaurus, although later revealed to be a carcass of a basking shark.


Location: Isle of Sanday - Exact area not known
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Nineteenth century
Further Comments: Folklorist Walter Traill Dennison recorded in 1893 that there were decedents of a union between a male selkie and a woman living on the island - you could tell who the offspring were because they had webbed hands and feet.

Island Covered in Buildings

Location: Isle of Sanday - In the sky off coast of the island
Type: Environmental Manifestation
Date / Time: 1840, 1857
Further Comments: This island, covered in fantastic white buildings, has appeared twice in the sky just off the coast. On one instance it remained viable for most of the day. Some people believe it to be the Fairy Isle, while others say it was a mirage of a part of Norway.

Black Lady of Scar

Location: Isle of Sanday - Scar House
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Mid-twentieth century?
Further Comments: This phantom woman, known as Black Lady of Scar, was reputed to have been pushed overboard by the from a ship on a passage back to Scotland from India. She had married the laird of Scar in India, but while travelling home with her husband, he decided that the marriage was a mistake and murdered her.

Not a Seal

Location: Kirkwall - Inganess Bay
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1904 / 1905
Further Comments: Two children out picking whelks were shocked when they encountered a mystery sea creature at the water's edge. They described it as being black in colour and far bigger than a seal.

An old photograph of Kirkwall Harbour.

Tailed Sphere

Location: Kirkwall - Northwest of Kirkwall
Type: UFO
Date / Time: 25 January 1985
Further Comments: The Kirkwall coastguard reported a very bright spherical object with a tail, moving north west to the south east. The object then split in two. The Aberdeen coastguard reported seeing the same or similar two objects a little later.

White Nun

Location: Kirkwall - St Magnus Cathedral and Bishop's Palace
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Walking around the cathedral three times at midnight shall summon a ghostly white nun. Somewhere underneath the site a phantom piper walks around ancient tunnels which connect to the Bishop's Palace.


Location: Maeshowe - Area around the cairn
Type: Other
Date / Time: Late nineteenth century
Further Comments: Hogboy was the name of a hogboon, a dark and moody family spirit which lived in the cairns and became upset if milk was not offered to them after a birth or marriage in a family. This hogboon was blamed for several deaths of people and animal on a nearby farm, after the farmer ploughed up a burial mound.

An old woodcut of a large fish-like creature with legs.

Whale like Creature

Location: North of Island - Sea
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1537
Further Comments: Fishermen reported a whale with characteristics of a boar in the sea in this area.


Location: North Ronaldsay - Exact location not known
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The Goodman of Wastness, a farmer by trade, stole a selkie's seal skin and hid it, forcing the woman to become his wife. After many years of marriage and a house full of children the selkie found her seal skin and ran off back to the sea, never to be seen again.


Location: Orkney - Skaill House
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Ubby is said to be a former owner of the house responsible for constructing the artificial island in the nearby loch. His ghost is one of several friendly entities which haunt the house, which also include a tall man with dark hair and the smell of cigarette smoke.

Great Auk

Location: Papa Westray - General area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1986
Further Comments: Reports of an extinct Great Auk being spotted alive on a beach 142 years after the last confirmed sighting turned out to be nothing more than a hoax.

Records 1 - 25 of 42

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