Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Ghosts of Glamis goes live!

Welcome to the initial post on the Ghosts of Glamis blog, a new companion to the Angus Folklore Blogspot.  As a mini statement of intent, my plan is to make public a rolling body of sources, thoughts, ideas about the folklore of Glamis Castle in Angus, Scotland.  If any haunted place in the world deserves its own site, then Glamis surely does.  More explanation as we go along.  But here's the first tantalising lore about Glamis, also posted in my original blog.

Sir Walter Scott visited Glamis Castle twice, the first time in 1793.  In his Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft he mentions a Secret Chamber, one of the cornerstones of modern folklore about Glamis Castle. (Can a secret chamber function as a cornerstone, metaphorically or architecturally?) Scott stated that the chamber was known only to the earl, his heir and a third person and admitted that the night he spent at Glamis left him feeling 'too far from the living, and somewhat too near the dead'. Next morning Scott took a draught of liquor from the Lion Beaker (or Lion Cup), a lion shaped silver beaker.  The poor writer became so drunk that he lost his way outside and had to ask the minister's wife about the direction of the road back to Meigle where he was staying.  The Beaker is said to have caused misfortune for the Strathmore family - some thing perhaps resented this object passing from its original home to Glamis.

   The great number of Glamis legends sprung up after Sir Walter in the 19th century, through the writing of luminaries like Robert Chambers, Augustus Hare, Lord Halifax and a host of others less well known, all catering for the Victorian taste for gothic mystery.
   Former servants form one (under)class of ghosts at Glamis.  One maid was caught drinking the blood of a man and was rather harshly walled up alive as punishment, but she still roams the district in search of fresh victims.  A more pathetic visitant is the little African page boy who sits by the door of the Queen Mother's bedroom.  Mistreated when he was alive, he has become liberated by mischief in death and likes to trip people up as they walk past.  A butler who hanged himself lingers in the Hangman's Chamber.  Four servants who were caught drinking and gambling were put to death, but they assuredly return on the anniversary of their demise, terrifying the whole house with their hideous screams.

   A part of the castle battlements was named Lover's Leap after a high born female servant cast herself off the building here and joined her ghostly lover:

                                              The Lover's Leap!  Ane grues to see
                                              the awesome thirty ell;
                                              God grant that we nae sic death may dee
                                              as did puir Christabell!

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