Posts tagged "Hauntings"

Glamis Castle Part Two

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.

Glamis Castle

Photo of Glamis Castle – Courtesy of PhilnCaz

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.

Further information on Glamis Castle:

Glamis Castle on Wikipedia
Castle’s Website

Sanquhar Castle

The first three letters of its name describes Sanquhar Castle very aptly – Sad And Neglected. What remains of it can be found on the southern edge of the town of Sanquhar, hardly two hundred yards south-west of the A76, the West Coast main line from Scotland to England, in Dumfrieshire, in south-west Scotland. There are no signboards to indicate its location and visitors are more likely to stumble upon it on their way to the fairytale pink sandstone Drumlanrig Castle, just ten miles south of Sanquhar near Thornhill.

Sanquhar Castle

Photos of Sanquhar Castle – Courtesy of Brian Driske

Sanquhar Castle was built in the 13th century. Originally the lands in the area belonged to the Ross family. In the 14th century, ownership passed to the Crichton family by marriage. The location chosen for the castle was very defensible. On the west, the ground fell steeply to the River Nith and to the north was Townfoot Burn. The eastern and southern boundaries were secured by a deep ditch. In 1639, the castle was sold to Sir William Douglas, the first Duke of Queensberry, who built Drumlanrig Castle. In 1895, John Crichton-Stuart, the third Marquess of Bute, bought back his ancestral home and worked on its restoration until his death in 1900. Since then it has been neglected, remembered only by some sad stories from its past.

The Ghost of Marion of Dalpeddar

One such story dated from 1590. The heroine of the tale was Marion of Dalpeddar. She was a flaxen-haired young woman who disappeared at that time, under suspicious circumstances. Rumors had it that she was murdered by one of the Crichtons, one Lord Robert Crichton, who was remembered in local lore as a cruel tyrant.

In 1875-76, parts of the castle were excavated in preparation for restoration work. In a pit, entombed inside a wall, a young female skeleton was found face down. The skeleton still had some hair attached to the skull. The hair was long and blond. Presumably these were the mortal remains of Marion.

Her ghost has been sighted from time to time in Sanquhar Castle. She appears as a white lady, with long, pale tresses and long, white, flowing gown. People who had seen her said she was quite beautiful to behold. This apparition is referred to as the White Lady.

The Haunting of John Wilson

Another tale of woe from Sanquhar Castle involved a man. His name was John Wilson. He was the unfortunate victim of circumstances, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

John Wilson was the servant of of Sir Thomas Kirkpatrick. Sir Thomas was at odds with Douglas of Drumlanrig, who was an ally of Robert Crichton, the Lord of Sanquhar and Sheriff of Nithsdale. To spite Sir Thomas, Crichton accused John Wilson of some contrived crimes. When Sir Thomas tried to protest Wilson’s innocence, Crichton responded by sentencing the unfortunate pawn to death by hanging. Wilson’s ghost still haunts the ruins of Sanquhar Castle. It has been heard groaning and rattling its chains, perpetually protesting its innocence.

The Faith of Abraham Crichton

One of the best known legends of Sanquhar relates the story of the ghost of Abraham Crichton. He was a merchant, descended from the ancient lords of Crichton Peel. Being a shrewd and active businessman, he became very wealthy and eventually became the chief magistrate. When the parish of Kirkbride was merged with the parishes of Sanquhar and Durisdeer, he was involved in the demolition of the old parish building. In his own words, he would “sune ding doon the Whigs’ sanctuary”.

Soon afterwards, he fell from his horse and died. His ghost had been sighted often walking in the kirkyard or grinning over the low wall that surrounded it. Eventually, a venerable man of the cloth named Hunter laid his spirit to rest.

Local lore had a story, a funny one, related to his ghost.

There were collieries at Sanquhar near Crawickbridge. The colliers lived in the town and went to work very early, usually two or three o’clock in the morning during the winter season. One of them was Cringan, a notorious coward.

To get to the collieries, Cringan had to pass the kirkyard where Abraham Crichton’s ghost had been sighted often. He tried his best to walk there in the company of his fellow colliers. When he had to go alone, he resorted to an interesting way to get past the kirkyard without seeing the ghost.

When he got to the top of the kirk brae, he would shut his eyes tight and run down at full speed until he was past the stream between the kirk and the Broomfield. Then he felt safe enough to open his eyes again because it was said that ghosts could not cross a running stream.

One dark winter morning, Cringan had to pass the kirkyard on his own again. The previous day, a band of tinkers had come to the neighborhood. They had a donkey. The donkey laid down to rest on the road in the middle of the kirk brae, exactly opposite the church. So when Cringan ran down from the brae top with both his eyes shut tightly in fear of seeing ghosts, he fell right over the donkey.

Thinking that he had run foul of Abraham Crichton’s ghost, he did not dare to have a closer look at what he had stumbled over and instead scrambled back to his feet to continue running until he reached the pit where he worked. There he told his workmates about how he had a marvelous escape from the ghost. Whereupon all of them had a good laugh because they had pass that way earlier and had seen the donkey lying in the middle of the road.

Visitors to Sanquhar Castle are well-advised to keep both eyes wide open when picking their way over the crumbling ruins so that they would not miss a step or miss a spectral sighting.

Further information on Sanquhar Castle:

Sanquhar Castle on Wikipedia

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