Hermitage Castle in Scotland is still an imposing building even as a ruin, however, this castle holds a dark history of murder, torture, black magic, starvation, child sacrifice, and even pacts with the devil. Over the years there have been countless reports of paranormal activity within its grounds.
Hermitage Castle, built in the mid-thirteenth century, stands in moorland south of the Border town of Hawick, Scotland. Its rather bleak situation makes it a fitting site for ghostly haunts. Little remains of the building except for a shell, but it does not take much imagination to conjure up pictures of all the things that might be lurking in its gloomy shadows. Its grim history is recalled by the appearances of two spectral figures in particular. The first ghost is said to be that of Sir Alexander Ramsay, Sheriff of Teviotdale, who, in 1342 incurred the wrath of Sir William Douglas, Knight of Liddesdale. The two had once been brothers in arms, but when King David II conferred the sheriffdom upon Ramsay, Douglas, who felt he had some claim to the title, was incensed. The unfortunate Ramsay was captured by Douglas in Hawick, taken to Hermitage, and thrown into a dungeon in the castle. There he was left to starve to death.
He was said to have attempted to prolong his life by eating the few grains of corn that fell into the dungeon from the granary above. The sad, hungry figure of Sir Alexander Ramsay is said to still wander around the ruins of the castle to this day.
The second ghost that is believed to haunt Hermitage Castle is that of Lord Soulis - "Bad Lord Soulis", or "Terrible William". Lord Soulis has a ghastly reputation indeed, for it was widely believed that he practiced black magic and used the dungeons of the castle to hold young children from the surrounding area captive before incorporating them into his hideous rituals and eventually murdering them.
He finally faced justice at the hands of his neighbours. People from the surrounding area gathered in force and stormed the castle, taking him captive and binding him in chains. The story tells how he was wrapped in lead and then thrown into a boiling cauldron to meet a horribly painful death.
Another version of the story of Terrible William says that he had entered into a pact with the devil. He traded his soul in return for a licence to live however he pleased, indulging in whatever debaucheries took his fancy. Then, as he grew older and faced up to the inevitability of his approaching death, he panicked at the thought of the fiery furnaces of hell. It was in order to protect him from his fate that he was wrapped in lead and boiled by loyal subjects. This story, however, seems even less credible than the first one.
The figure of Terrible William has been seen around the grounds of the castle for years, with many visitors reporting a feeling of being watched followed by a strong feeling of dread before witnessing the spectre in front of them.
Other visitors and previous inhabitants have claimed to hear the horrifying screams of children coming from the walls, these screams are thought to come from the children that Terrible William abused so cruelly over the years.