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Wickers share scary tales for Halloween bestseller

By David G Scott

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A number of Wick residents have shared their scariest paranormal experiences in a book released this week which has gone straight into a top 100 bestsellers list on Amazon.

Dr Aaron Mullins, who hails from Wick, draws on his experience as an award-winning, internationally published psychologist to add a "psychological thriller edge" to his version of famous Scottish tales.

Scottish Urban Legends: 50 Myths and True Stories features "terrifying tales from current and former Caithness residents that had never been told before", according to Aaron.

He includes tales of the alleged ghosts and gremlins that haunted the now demolished Wick North Primary School, as well as frightening and deeply touching personal tragedies told by his former high school friends.

Aaron said: “Alongside the famous myths, I wanted to include Caithness stories that had never been published before, but stem from local urban legends that, perhaps, many others can relate to from their own childhood – the things that used to scare them that they may have forgotten.

The front cover of Aaron Mullins new book of spooky stories.
The front cover of Aaron Mullins new book of spooky stories.

“It also includes personal stories that were difficult to share, as our experiences with loved ones who have passed on often are, and I’m grateful to the people who opened up to me.”

Hitting the Amazon top 100 bestseller charts in time for Halloween, the book includes some of Scotland’s most haunted places and unsolved mysteries.

“Caithness is represented in the book with a pretty gruesome tale about Adam Melrose, a former bishop of Caithness and based in Halkirk – back when Caithness was still part of the Jarldom of Orkney.

“That story is called The Burning Bishop, so you can imagine how that one ends.”

The north-east of Scotland features heavily, with tales about the ghosts of Ackergill Tower and Culloden battlefield, alongside the haunting of Castle Stuart and the Green Lady of Crathes Castle.

A screenshot showing how Dr Mullins' book has risen in the Amazon list of bestsellers.
A screenshot showing how Dr Mullins' book has risen in the Amazon list of bestsellers.

There are also legends from Orkney, including the myths surrounding the Ring of Brodgar standing stones and strange occurrences at Skaill House. Orcadian mythical creatures the Stoor Worm and the Boneless also creep their way into the book.

“I tried to retell Scotland’s oldest myths and legends in a way that a modern audience can relate to," Aaron said.

“I imagine my readers huddled around a camp fire late at night, scaring each other with ghost stories and tales of mystery and magic. What we are actually doing with each retelling is keeping the rich history and tradition of Scottish folk tales alive, often passing on lessons and morals hidden within the tales to a new generation.

“This helps people feel connected to the past, to the lives of their ancestors, the land and its people.”

Aaron was inspired to include the urban legends surrounding his primary school – Wick North – after a recent visit to Caithness.

“The first lockdown had come to an end and I was desperate to get up to visit my friends and family. I went for a socially distanced dinner with one of my old primary school teachers and she produced four photo albums of pictures from her pupils over the years.

“This included ones of me and my brother that I had never seen before. So the school and its stories were at the forefront of my thinking when I returned home to finish writing the book.

“The school was demolished, but the childhood experiences we shared are preserved in our memories, our stories and four albums of photographs.”

Dr Aaron Mullins attended Wick High School and is now an award-winning, internationally published psychologist.
Dr Aaron Mullins attended Wick High School and is now an award-winning, internationally published psychologist.

When Aaron asked his friends for suggestions of their favourite Scottish myths and legends, the conversation quickly turned to their own unusual experiences.

“It seems that everybody has had at least one strange experience in their lives that they can’t fully explain and some of them are quite traumatic. Every school also seemed to have a Grey Lady frequenting their toilets too.”

Now living in Troon, Aaron splits his time between charity work and writing mysteries.

His new book follows the success of another Caithness-inspired work, Mysteries and Misadventures: Tales from the Highlands , which was also an Amazon top 100 bestseller.

“After the success of that book and the support I received, I vowed to always include a part of Caithness and its people in every book I write.

“I wrote the first book as stories of hope during the first lockdown. With Halloween looking increasingly like it’s going to be very different this year, I have released this book now, so that people can let the ghosts, ghouls, vampires and witches come to them.”

Scottish Urban Legends: 50 Myths and True Stories, as well as Aaron’s other books, are available from Amazon as both a paperback and ebook at www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07K636D6H

Aaron’s author website is https://aaronmullins.com/ and there is a Facebook page for fans at www.facebook.com/aaronmullinsauthor/

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