Nov 30, 2020 I Paul Seaburn

Alleged ‘Ghost in a Gown’ Photographed in Abandoned Scottish Mental Hospital

On the lists of haunted places or places that are highly likely to be haunted, abandoned or former mental hospitals always place high, due primarily to the horrors that took place in many of them before the advent of modern medicine, health regulations and therapeutic treatments for mental illnesses. Rosslynlee Hospital near Roslin, Scotland, is one such abandoned facility, but its urban legends tend towards ‘just plain creepy’ rather than ‘probably haunted’. That may change with the experience of two young men who recently (and illegally) entered the facility and left with a story and a photo of what they claim is a ghost in a gown.

“We were in different rooms like the nursery and the nurses’ rooms. We then found a way into the actual building where it got a lot colder where we could see our breath even though it was the middle of summer. We looked around where we found old sweet wrappers and old cassette tapes.”

Jamie Osborne and Michael Cosgrove recently spilled their scary beans to Scotland’s Daily Record about a visit to the remains of Rosslynlee Hospital in the pandemic-shutdown summer of 2020. They were apparently just planning for a fun (?) day exploring the creepy old hospital which has been closed and largely neglected since 2010. Rosslynlee Hospital opened as the Midlothian and Peebles Asylum in 1874. Built to house up to 500 patients, the asylum was a closed community with its own water supply, boiler house and farm tended by patients. Additional wings for patients and accommodations for staff were added over the years.

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Rosslynlee Hospitalcc-by-sa/2.0 - © M J Richardson -

There don’t appear to be any public records of abuse, but the name was changed to Rosslynlee Mental Hospital in 1948 when it joined the National Health Service, and shortened to Rosslynlee Hospital in 1960. A British program called Care in the Community (a policy of treating and caring for physically and mentally disabled people in their homes rather than in an institution) went into effect in the early 1980s and brought an end to the hospital in 2010. Although there appears to have been talk about tearing it down and developing the land into residential homes, it’s still standing and attracting thrill seekers, urban explorers and the occasional wedding party. One such group explored it in 2011 and their pictures (see them here) showed a facility already in disrepair.

“We then positioned the wheelchair and took a couple photos and when we looked back through them we saw what looked like someone pushing the chair. After further examination it now looks like something much taller reaching over the chair and looking towards the camera. Once we saw this we quickly left and didn’t go back.”

The single photo the men shared with the Daily Record (see it here with 'ghost' conveniently circled) seems to show something shadowy in a gown behind one of them as he sat in a wheelchair. Since there are no other photos and no information on what kind of camera they used, it’s difficult to confirm this as a ghost photo and not a camera anomaly, especially since the photographer didn’t see anything when taking the picture. As these were obviously urban explorers and not paranormal investigators, they didn’t stay and attempt to engage with the alleged ghost. It’s also a red flag that they waited until now to share the photo. For now, the needle on this photo points to ‘interesting but no proof’.

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Urban exploration is generally against the law and often dangerous -- even without ghosts

Perhaps it’s a credit to the people who worked at the Midlothian and Peebles Asylum and the Rosslynlee Hospital that there aren’t more ghost stories associated with it. In one comment on the photos taken in 2011, another person claimed to have taken a video in the hospital that later showed orbs, but the video was later corrupted. They also claimed to have heard scratching sounds and a “big band” (big bang?).

Rosslynlee Hospital sounds like a good place for a real paranormal investigation once the pandemic ends … if it’s still there.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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