Glamis (pronounced with a silent “i”) Castle is located, coordinate-wise, at 56.62030 North and 3.00240 West. That puts it near the village of Glamis, five miles west of Forfar, in Angus, Scotland. The tourist attraction is the home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne. It is also the childhood home of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon who is better known as the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the widow of King George VI. This castle is depicted on the reverse side of ten pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The estate surrounding the castle covers more than 14,000 acres. Two streams, one of which is the Glamis Burn, run through the estate. There is an arboretum overlooking the Glamis Burn, with trees from all over the world. Many of these trees are rare and several hundred years old.
The vicinity of Glamis itself has relics from prehistoric times. There is an intricately carved Pictish stone known as the Eassie Stone found in a creek-bed at the nearby village of Eassie. In 1034 AD King Malcom II was mortally wounded in a battle nearby and was taken to the Royal Hunting Lodge where he died. This lodge is on the site of the present castle.
From 1372 onwards, Glamis Castle had been the home of the Lords of Glamis who are now the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne. Shakespeare’s famous play “Macbeth” was set in this castle although the historical King Duncan was actually killed near Elgin. While the fictitious Macbeth struggles with the ghost which haunts the castle in the play, other specters roam within its walls in real life.
The Hidden Chamber
There is a very well-known hidden chamber in Glamis Castle. There are many stories connected with this chamber. One legend concerns “Earl Beardie”. This man had been identified as either Alexander Lyon, the second Lord of Glamis or Alexander Lindsay, the fourth Earl of Crawford.
It appears that this Earl Beardie was very fond of playing cards. One day, which was a Sabbath, he insisted on indulging in his favorite pastime. No one would play with him. He became furious. He was so incensed at being denied his fun that he shouted, “I’d play with the Devil himself if he were here!‘
No sooner had he uttered these famous last words, so to say, than there was a knock at the door. The Earl said, “Enter in the fiend’s name.” And the Devil himself walked in.
Soon, the servants heard horrifying sounds coming from the room. One of them could not contain his curiosity anymore. He tried to peer through the keyhole to see what was going on in the room. A sheet of unholy fire blasted him from the presence of the living. The room was permanently sealed up. It is said that the Earl and the Devil are still playing cards in there.
There is another story connected with the hidden chamber which is no less horrifying. It seemed that some Scottish clansmen, seeking refuge from enemies, came to the castle. The Lord of Glamis admitted them. Then he took them to the chamber. They were locked in. The doors and windows were bricked up. The poor clansmen were left to starve to death inside.
One day, a stonemason accidentally knocked a hole in the wall of the room. He looked inside. What he saw was so horrifying that he died from shock. His wife was given thousands of pounds in compensation. She was sent to Australia so that no one will ever know what her late husband saw before he died.
The Seat of Janet Douglas
Not all the legends about Glamis Castle are so hair-raising and heart-stopping. There is a small chapel inside the castle which has seats for 46 but only 45 persons are allowed to be seated there. One seat is permanently reserved for the Grey Lady. This is supposed to be the ghost of Lady Glamis, Janet Douglas. The chapel is used regularly for family functions but no one is ever allowed to use that particular seat.
The Ghost Girl at the Window
The late Sir David Bowes-Lyon did once come upon a paranormal manifestation at the castle. One late evening, after dinner, he took a stroll on the lawn. He looked up at a castle window. He saw a girl gripping the bars of the window. She was staring distractedly into the night. He wanted to speak to her. However before he could say anything, she abruptly disappeared. It seemed like she was forcibly torn away from the window from inside the castle.
The Apparition of Lady of Glamis
A prominent Edinburgh lawyer also had brush with a being from the other realm near Glamis Castle. He had been invited, together with some friends, to have dinner at the castle. As they drove into the castle grounds, they saw the shadowy figure of a woman dressed in white. Surprisingly, she went along so swiftly that she could keep up with their car, right up to the castle doors. Then she disappeared.
Initially, they thought that it was just one of the maids out for an evening walk. Then they were told that all the maids were inside the castle that night and all were accounted for. Thinking back about it, considering that the woman looked so strange and was able to move so swiftly as to keep up with his moving car, the lawyer concluded that he had just had a close encounter of the other worldly kind.
This apparition is said to be the ghost of the Lady of Glamis who became Lady Campbell after her husband’s demise. King James V concocted a charge of witchcraft against her. She was a very beautiful and popular lady with an impeccable character. Nevertheless she was imprisoned. She was kept so long in the dark dungeon that she became nearly blind. Then she was burned alive at the stake outside Edinburgh Castle. Her ghost, known as the White Lady, had been sighted at Glamis Castle for hundreds of years.
The chances are good that present-day visitors to the Glamis Castle in Scotland may still have to chance to come across the White Lady while they are trying to locate the hidden chamber. More about the hidden chamber and the paranormal activity surround the castle can be found in Glamis Castle Part Two.
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