Is this a ghost photographed in the window of a former seminary?

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The former seminary near Aviemore was a place of refuge during murderous persecution by Hanoverian soldiers


A SPOOKY hooded figure has been photographed in the window of a building where 18th century Catholic trainee priests tried to escape persecution.

A snap of the former seminary near Aviemore was recently posted, sparking debate about whether the shape in the upper window is a ghost.

The original picture captures what seems to be a faint, hooded figure at the abandoned Scalan Seminary on the Glenlivet estate in the Highlands

The seminary helped keep Catholicism alive in 18th century Scotland at a time when priests were being hunted and murdered by Government soldiers following the Jacobite Rebellion.

Although there is no record of any dying violently at the seminary, a teacher called John Paterson died there of natural causes in 1783.

Close up, it has been suggested that a hooded figure can be seen in one of the windows.


A website for the seminary states: “He was a tall man, and he needed a long coffin, and such a coffin would not fit through the low door, and into the narrow corridor and the steep staircase.

“So John Paterson was lowered out of the little upstairs window to the ground, and from there six men bore his coffin on their shoulders, as was the custom, five miles to the cemetery down the glen.”

The remote two storey farmhouse lies deep in the hills, and can only be reached by a half-mile (1km) walk up a rough farm track.

Neil Robertson, from Tomintoul, posted the snap on Facebook and wrote “The old Scalan seminary in the Braes Of Glenlivet.

“Top left hand window reflection ? Thoughts.”

Amy Winsor wrote: “ A hooded monk – it was a seminary after all.”

Marie Hanlin wrote: “ A hooded figure, I’ve seen similar before.”

Marty Littlejohn replied: “Monk with head bowed is what I see, but probably trick of light or reflection.”

Nichola Murray posted: “Definitely looks like someone at the window – spooky!”

But others were less convinced, with Martin Parsons joking: “Someone in a tiger onesy” whilst some even suggested it looked like a member of the Klu Klux Klan.

The building’s caretaker, John Toovey, said: “The seminary was at Scalan because it was so isolated.

“The government were hunting and murdering priests. It was the Hanoverian soldiers after the ‘45.

“It usually feels damp in there, but otherwise I feel nothing. It’s just like any other building. I don’t believe in ghosts.”

And the Rev. Michael Briody, a local priest, poured cold water on the idea, saying: “Until this moment, we’re unaware of any ghosts.

“Nobody’s heard of it in 200 years. Not even a little one.

He added: “You’d want to clean the windows before you took any photos of that place.”