Posts tagged "Apparitions"

Blackness Castle

Built on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, not far from the village of Blackness in Stirlingshire, Scotland, Blackness Castle squats on the Black Rock jutting out northwards into the murky waters of the passing river. Its elongated shape and unique placement gave it the name “the ship that never sailed”. The smaller North Tower is called the Stem Tower. The bigger South Tower is called the Stern Tower. The Central Tower, the biggest of the three, stands up like a main mast.

Blackness Castle

Photo of Blackness Castle – Courtesy of Ken Fitzpatrick

Work on the castle was begun in the 1440s by Sir George Crichton, Lord High Admiral of Scotland, a member of one of the most politically powerful Scottish families at that time. In 1449, Blackness Castle was noted in documents as a state prison as well as residence of Sir George Crichton. Today it is a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the care of Historic Scotland.

There had been various modifications and additions made to the castle over the years. The most important was carried out between 1534 and 1540. This was under the direction of Sir James Hamilton of Finnart, the King’s Master of Works. Sir James Hamilton was an expert in artillery fortification, having spent years in Europe studying the subject. For Blackness Castle, he built a complex entrance with a caponier. This is one of only two in Scotland, the other being at Craignethan. The curtain wall was strengthened to the south and east, in parts, to a thickness of five meters.

With such thick walls, Blackness Castle was well-suited to its major function as a prison and, in 1870, as the central ammunition depot for Scotland. Well-placed gun platforms and gun-holes added to its defensive strength until 1650, when Oliver Cromwell overwhelmed it with superior artillery which had greater firing range and more firepower.

Blackness Castle

Photo of Blackness Castle – Courtesy of Gerhard Wickler

Visitors approaching the castle along a narrow road from the little village of Blackness are assailed with a sense of foreboding as they get closer. To get inside, they have to wend through the narrow passage way of the entrance complex which adds to the feeling that visitors are not exactly welcomed here. Once inside, they stumble across a courtyard lined with extremely uneven black natural rock which would trip up the less than nimble of foot.

At the North Tower, they can peer through a hatch in the floor of the lower level to look down into the pit prison below. They can imagine the cold misery of those unfortunate enough to be incarcerated down there, who would be up to their necks, or worse, in salty brine when high tides bring in the sea to flood the pit prison twice a day.

Should they dare to venture up the Central Tower, which is also known as the Prison Tower, they may meet with more than what they had bargained for.

Ghost Apparition and Paranormal Activities

In the late 1990s, a lady visitor, with her two young sons, felt adventurous enough to climb the winding stone staircase of the tower. Suddenly there appeared before her a knight. He was suited in armor, in full dress uniform, so to say. The apparition took umbrage at her temerity. She claimed it chased her angrily from the tower. She didn’t say, though, whether it was brandishing its sword as it clanked after her. Probably, she was too busy trying to stay out of its mail-fisted reach.

Blackness Castle also has plenty of things that went bump in the night.

A group of ardent fans of paranormal phenomena once spent a night at the tower. They chose an auspicious occasion for the sleep-over, Halloween. However, they didn’t get to do much sleeping. The whole night through, they were kept awake by the constant noise of furniture being scraped and banged across the stone floor of the room beneath them. At last, one of them plucked up the courage to investigate.

He ventured into the room which had sounded like a furniture-movers convention having a late-night show-and-tell session. There was nothing out of place. There wasn’t even a noise when he went to check. So he went back to his companions. The noises started again. He didn’t feel the need to investigate again. Obviously the ghost furniture-movers preferred to do their work unseen.

Perhaps, someday someone with high technology equipment that can see through thick stone walls may be able to find out exactly what kind furniture these phantom movers were so busy with.

Further information on the Blackness Castle:

Blackness Castle on Wikipedia

Glamis Castle

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.

Glamis Castle

Photo of Glamis Castle – Courtesy of PhilnCaz

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.

Further information on Glamis Castle:

Glamis Castle on Wikipedia
Castle’s Website

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