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

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Outer Hebrides Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Humped Creature

Location: Achmore, Isle of Lewis - Loch Urabhal
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 27 July 1961
Further Comments: While fishing, two teachers watched a small headed creature with a single hump swim past their boat some thirty-five metres away. It surfaced three times before disappearing.

The Otter King

Location: All over the region - No exact location given
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Seventeenth century
Further Comments: Martin Martin recorded the tradition of a large otter with a white spot upon its breast. It was said that the king otter was always accompanied by seven normal otters. The pelt of the Otter King was said to offer magical properties to those who owned it.

A ghostly figure against a surreal sky.

Executed Man

Location: Arnish - Loch along A858 between town and Stornoway?
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Local tradition tells says that this man was executed in Stornoway for murdering a student who had accompanied him on a bird hunting trip. The ghost is said to haunt the spot of the killing.

Women with Child

Location: Barra - Reef in Caolas Cumhan
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Pre-twentieth century
Further Comments: Crofter Colin Campbell raised his rifle to fire at what he thought was an otter eating a fish but stopped when he realised the creature was a mermaid holding a child. The creature dived into the sea after Campbell made a noise.

Foretelling War

Location: Barra - Spring at Kilbarry (location may no longer exist)
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Pieces of peat would float in this spring when peace reigned, but in times of war, the water would contain flakes of blood.


Location: Barra - Unidentified house, Earsary
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Pre 1955
Further Comments: A house built on the site where the bodies of two mariners were washed ashore remained empty for many years; whenever someone moved in, they left a few days later, although the exact details of the manifestations are lacking.


Location: Benbecula - Shores
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1990
Further Comments: A dead four metre long creature was washed up on the beach, with diamond shaped fins sitting along its back - the creature could not be identified.


Location: Benbecula - Unknown
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The Sluagh are a fairy host that travel across the sky to the land of the ever young, Tir-nan-Og. A couple of hunting hounds belonging to the Sluagh are said to have landed in Benbecula briefly before heading off on their travels.

Unseen Tarbh-uisge

Location: Borerary, St Kilda - Exact location not known
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: During one dark and stormy evening one of several men sheltering in a hut wished that he had a fat ox. No sooner had he wished for one, there could be heard a bull just outside. However, all in the hut were too terrified to look and see what had appeared. It was only next morning when they ventured out, they found plenty of cloven hoof track but no sign of what had left them.

The Third Brother

Location: Bragar - Old mill (may no longer exist)
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Two brothers worked in the mill. One brother would work while the other slept. One day, the working brother watched a figure, who he recognised as another one of his brothers who had recently died, walk over to the sleeping brother and kiss him before disappearing. The brother who received the kiss died a few days later.

Mysterious Stones

Location: Callanish, Isle of Lewis - Callanish standing stones
Type: Other
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: It is still argued to what extent this stone circle represents the heavenly bodies above, and what its ultimate purpose was. One legend says that the thirteen stones were giants who refused to become Christians - they were petrified for the sin.

Each Uisge

Location: Cnoc-na-Beist - Loch a Mhuileinn
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local girl had a narrow escape after encountering a water horse which had taken the form of young man by the edge of the loch, only realising his true nature after spotting sand and mud in his hair. She fled home and told her brother, who killed it with his sword the following morning.

Wish Granter

Location: Eilean Anabuich - Coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A local man caught a mermaid on the rocks, only releasing the creature after she agreed to grant three wishes. One of the wishes ensured the man became a skilled doctor, another granted the gift of prophecy, but the third wish, to become a great singer, apparently failed.

Vanishing Keepers

Location: Eilean Mor - Lighthouse
Type: Other
Date / Time: December 1900
Further Comments: The three keepers who vanished from the lighthouse left their log behind, which reported they had been rocked by storms over a five day period. However, the surrounding towns and villages reported that the weather had been calm.

Gallan Whale

Location: Gallan Head, Isle of Lewis - Off coast
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Circa 1690
Further Comments: Martin Martin reported that a large mystery whale terrorised the fishing boats of Gallan Head. It would deliberately sink the boats before returning to eat the crew.

Cro Sith

Location: Great Bernera - Coast
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Dun and hornless fairy cattle were once thought to live along the coast of Bernera and under the nearby waters.

Long Necked Creature

Location: Isle of Canna - Off the coast, and around surrounding islands
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: June 1808
Further Comments: This creature, mistaken for a rock when first observed, was seen at various times by up to thirteen fishing boat crews. It was described as between 70 and 80 foot in length (21 - 24 metres) and possessing a long neck which it kept underwater whilst swimming.

Glowing Balls

Location: Isle of Lewis - Area around Sandwick
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The lights that float around the area normally announce approaching death for a local. Some say the light belongs to an Irish merchant robbed and murdered on the island. One legend says that a witness who spoke to the ghost of the merchant was awarded a fairy dog's tooth that enabled the holder to cure ills and punish the greedy.


Location: Isle of Lewis - Broad Bay area
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Circa February 1830
Further Comments: A sea serpent spent a couple of weeks at this location, playing in the water. The creature, described as between 18 and 24 metres in length, had a mane like a horse and appeared white in colour.


Location: Isle of Lewis - Kebock Head
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: Unknown (traditional)
Further Comments: The Feolagan was a small mouse-sized creature (or fairy) that would paralyse sheep by walking across the animal's back. The sheep would die unless the Feolagan was forced retrace its steps, or, if many sheep were affected, by capturing the Feolagan in a jar filled with salt and using the grains to cure the sheep.

Searrach Uisge

Location: Isle of Lewis - Loch Suainbhal
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1856 onwards
Further Comments: Resembling a capsized boat, this creature has been reported swimming around for one and a half centuries. Locals say lambs were once offered annually to the creature.

Bumpy Beast

Location: Isle of Lewis - Sea off the north of the island
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: May 1882
Further Comments: A German ship 15 kilometres off the coast reported a sea serpent around 40 metres in length, several bumps protruding from the water, along the creatures back. Sea serpents have also been reported at the southern side of the island.

Potato Eater

Location: Isle of Lewis - Unknown
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Nineteenth century?
Further Comments: A crofter noticed his potato store was raided each night. One morning he discovered the tooth of a Cu Sith stuck in a potato - looks like this Cu Sith liked a meal of spuds!

Jumping Peat

Location: Isle of Lewis - Unknown cottage on west side of island
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: Circa February 1938
Further Comments: Mrs MacLeod, with her two grandchildren experienced a very brief poltergeist outbreak, during which a small piece of peat jumped from the floor and landed in her cup of tea. Crockery scattered itself around the floor, tins thrown into the bedroom, and another piece of peat struck MacLeod in the face.

An old photograph of the Isle of Skye.


Location: Isle of Skye - No exact location documented
Type: Cryptozoology
Date / Time: 1690
Further Comments: Martin Martin documented a small worm that lived between the flesh and skin, known as either a Fiollan or Fillan. It was about 2.5 centimetres in length, as wide as a goose quill, and it had little legs either side of the body that enabled it to crawl around under the skin. Once there, it would cause tumours and abscesses.

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