Glamis Castle has pure white, cup-shaped flowers of typical Old Rose character. That’s the horticultural Glamis Castle. The architectural Glamis Castle has a somewhat less pure white past. The name Glamis comes from the Gaelic word “glamhus” meaning a strath or a vale. In 1424, the Lyon family became the owner of Glamis. The family name became Bowes-Lyon when the ninth Earl married a Yorkshire heiress. The castle is just five miles south of the town of Forfar in the vale of Strathmore, in the north-east of Scotland.
From its origin as a keep, the castle has been extended and strengthened until, in some parts, the walls are 15 feet thick. This gives credence to the existence of a secret chamber hidden somewhere in the castle. This secret chamber is said to hold a secret said to be known to only certain members of the British Royal Family.
In 1904, Claude Bowes-Lyon, the 13th Earl of Glamis, told an inquisitive friend,
“If you could only know the nature of the terrible secret, you would go down on your knees and thank God that it were not yours.”
Once when the daughter of the 14th Earl of Glamis asked what the secret was, her father told her,
“You cannot be told; for no woman can know the secret of Glamis Castle.”
It is said that only certain male members of the Royal Family were told of the secret on their 18th birthday, but none of them has ever commented on or denied the secret of Glamis Castle.
Of course, this does not mean the general populace is immune from speculation about it. One story in circulation says that the room holds a monster.
The Secret of the Hidden Chamber
In 1821, the first son of the 11th Earl is said to have been born horribly deformed. Its body is said to be egg-shaped with tiny arms and legs with no neck. The official version says that this child died just a few days after birth. Rumors say that this unfortunate infant was locked up in a secret room in the castle. Somehow, despite its deformity, the child survived. In time, a second son was born. When the second son reached the age of eighteen, he was told about his elder brother. He, in turn, told his male heir and the tradition was passed on down the generations.
There is a section of the castle ramparts called the “Mad Earl’s Walk” which is said to be where the deformed Earl was taken out for exercise. There is also an old oil painting in the castle which shows a strange green-clad figure of a child with a strangely-deformed torso. The identity of the painting’s subject, however, had never been established.
Locating the Secret Chamber
Glamis Castle, as is common with structures of this kind, has got many windows. Once, a party of visitors to the castle decided to use the windows as a means of locating the secret chamber. Theoretically, a window seen from inside the castle should also be seen from outside the castle. So they went all over inside the castle and hung a towel from every window they could find. Then they went outside the castle to check on their handiwork. True enough, there was a window seen from outside the castle which did not have a towel hanging from it.
Phase one of operation Secret Chamber accomplished successfully. However, phase two, actually locating the secret chamber from inside the castle, was aborted with indeterminate results. Try as they might, they could not find the entrance to the secret chamber from inside the castle. The vague conclusion was that the secret chamber should be somewhere in the old square tower. Perhaps someday, high-tech equipment, which had been used to locate the pharaoh’s tomb deep inside the pyramid, might be used to locate this elusive secret of Glamis Castle.
In the meantime, visitors to the castle will have to be content with other less elusive phantoms. One such apparition is known as Jack the Runner.
The Ghost of Jack the Runner
In the 17th century, the Earls of Glamis are said to have added a gruesome aspect to the sport of hunting. A black slave was stripped naked. Then hunting dogs were set after him. The slave was repeatedly impaled with lances while the dogs literally tore him to pieces. It is said that the ladies of the castle watching from the ramparts laughed in merriment at this ghastly spectacle. The murdered slave’s ghost has been sighted darting about the castle grounds, screaming in agony.
The Haunting of the Silenced Maiden
There is another ghost from a gory incident around that time. It is said that it is the ghost of a young maiden from the nearby village. She is said to have been engaged in illicit relations with one of the Earls. Then one day, she stumbled upon the secret chamber. Whatever she saw inside must have been terribly horrifying for she ran screaming from the castle.
She was later captured by two Royal henchmen. One of them took a pair of iron tongs. He ripped out the young maiden’s tongue and threw it into the fire. This is apparently a standard procedure called the ritual of silencing. In normal circumstances, the victim would have either died of shock or of bleeding. However, in this particular case, the mutilated maiden ran out of the castle dungeon without her tongue with blood spurting from her mouth. The henchmen went after her.
One of them caught her. He held her in a headlock and twisted her head until her neck broke. Then they meticulously sawed up her body and fed the severed parts to the wild boars in the forest. Her ghost has been sighted running around the castle grounds with silent screams issuing from her mutilated bloody mouth.
Just the possibility of coming across these two apparitions should put the Scotland tourist attraction Glamis Castle at the top of the list of any avid paranormal researcher’s itinerary.
Back to part one of Glamis Castle.
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