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Glamis Castle is known as one of the most haunted castles in Britain. It certainly has more stories and legends attached to it than any other castle within the British Isles, perhaps with the exception of Hermitage Castle in the Scottish Borders. The following provides a brief selection of stories and lore from the castle. The stories differ from source to source, and it is likely the tales became better with each telling, most have their roots in the 19th century

Glamis CastleBrief History
Glamis Castle is the historic seat of the Bowes-Lyons Family, the lands were presented to them as a gift by Robert the Bruce in 1372. The Bowes-Lyons family still own the castle as the earls of Strathmore, its members include the Queen Mother, who was born at Glamis and gave birth to Princess Margaret here. The main keep of the castle dates from the 14th century, and the majestic towers and turrets were added in later years.

Ghosts of the Castle
The family chapel is haunted by a Grey Lady, who is said to be the spirit of Lady Janet Douglas, burned at the stake as a witch on Castle Hill, Edinburgh in 1537, on charges of plotting to poison the King. It is likely that the charges were fabricated for political motives. The apparition has been seen relatively recently in the chapel by a number of witnesses. She is also said to appear above the Clock Tower.

The ghost of a woman with no tongue is said to haunt the grounds, and to look out from a barred window somewhere within the castle. She runs about the park pointing at her mutilated face. There is no suggestion as to who she might be.

A young black boy, the ghost of a Negro servant who was badly treated around 200 years ago, haunts a stone seat by the door of the Queen's bedroom.

One of the more infamous ghosts is known as Earl Beardie, who is otherwise known as Alexander, Earl Crawford. Allegedly he was a cruel and wicked man, probably stemming from his rebellion against James II. His spirit is said to wander the castle, and there have been reports of children waking to find the figure leaning over their beds. He is also said to be gambling for all eternity in a secret room with the Devil, people have reported loud swearing and the rattling of dice. He is often mixed up in literature with the second Earl of Glamis.

Legends and Folklore
According to legend the castle is as haunted as it is because of an ancient curse brought on the family by Sir John Lyon, who removed an ancestral chalice from their seat at Forteviot, where it was supposed to reside for ever. The castle is also mentioned in Shakespeare's play MacBeth, and the murder of King Malcolm the II is supposed to have taken place in one of the rooms. It is highly unlikely as the castle dates from the 14th century and the murder from the 11th century.

Probably the most resounding piece of folklore that crops up, is the story of a secret room somewhere within the castle, that harbours a dreadful secret. At one time a towel is said to have been hung from every window in the castle, but from the outside a window without a towel was visible, suggesting a hidden room.

The secret room has many tales as to its origin; the most popular is that it holds a monster. In 1821 the first son of the eleventh Earl is said to have been born horribly malformed. To hide this fact the story was circulated that the boy had died, and the infant was locked up in a secret room within the castle. The malformed boy survived, and in time a second son was born, who was told of his older brother when he came of age. In some stories the boy grows to become incredibly strong, and lives for over a hundred years. The secret of the hidden room had to be passed down to each heir on their 21st birthday. The 'Mad Earls Walk' on the castle ramparts is said by some to have been the place where the malformed Earl was exercised.

There is suggestion that a workman accidentally broke through a wall while making alterations to the castle, revealing a passage into the secret room. He was given a large sum of money to leave the country and keep his silence. In other tales the room holds the bodies of men who were enemies of the family, walled up and starved to death.

As we have mentioned above one of the most notorious characters in the castles history was Earl Beardie, a Lord Crawford, who was a cruel and indulgent man. One of the tales most commonly told about him is the loss of his soul to the Devil while playing cards.

One Sunday, Earl Beardie was guesting at the castle. After a heavy drinking session with the Earl of Glamis, he was returning to his room in a drunken rage shouting for a partner to play him at cards. Nobody wanted to play on the Sabbath, and finally he raged that he would play with the Devil himself. Inevitably there was a knock at the door, and a tall man in dark clothes came into the castle and asked if Earl Beardie still required a partner. The Earl agreed, and they went away to a room in the castle, slammed the door shut, and started to play cards.

The castle was rocked with the swearing and shouting from the room, and one of the servants, giving in to curiosity peeped through the keyhole. A bright beam of light blasted (in some versions) through, and blinded the servant in one eye. The Earl burst from the room and rounded on the servant for spying on him. When he returned to the room the stranger, who was the Devil, had disappeared along with the Earls Soul, lost in the card game. The Earl is said to play cards with the stranger in a walled up room, another slant on the secret room legend.

Directions:
The castle can be reached from the A928.



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Re: ghosts of glamis castle


Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle is one of maybe three or four structures that can lay claim to the title of the most haunted building in the UK The castle is set in fine countryside beside the Dean Water about 15 miles north of Dundee and is the seat of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne. The current Queen Mother is the daughter of the 14th Earl. She was formerly Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon and her daughter Princess Margaret was born in the castle. The castle is still used as the principal home of the family and the Queen Mother regularly spends time there. Although it is said to contain many ghosts, tradition has it that members of the Bowes-Lyon family are unable to see them.


To describe all the fascinating ghosts that are said to exist at Glamis would take a complete volume in itself, so here it has been decided to concentrate on just a few of them. One of the ghosts about which little is known is one that haunts the grounds of the castle on moonlit nights. His ghostly, but harmless, figure has been seen running across the grass and he is known as Jack the Runner. Maybe he is a forerunner of the 'streakers' that seems to haunt grassy spaces in modern times! More sinister is the story of a ghost who appears to have a bloody mouth. No doubt a modern interpretation would include talk of vampires but although a more mundane explanation is widely accepted, it is no less grisly. It is said that the ghost belongs to a female servant of an early Earl who witnessed a brutal crime. In order to silence the woman for ever more, the miscreant cut out the poor maid's tongue and she died of the shock.


There is a little more detail known about the ghost called Earl Beardie. Some say he was the first Lord Glamis, others that he was one of the Earl's friends, a Lord Crawford. In any case he won his sobriquet by virtue of his long straggly beard. If it was the 1st Earl, that would place the events that are said to have led up to the haunting at about 1459. These days, the condition that the Earl suffered from would be well recognised as that of compulsive gambling. He was known to gamble with dice and cards and with anyone with the wherewithal, for long periods well into the night.


It is said that one night he was gambling with friends in one of the tower rooms at Glamis Castle. He was losing badly and as the evening wore on, became more and more bad-tempered, swearing and drinking to excess. In the end his friends could stand no more and told him that if he did not moderate his behaviour they would leave him. This made the Earl even angrier and he told them that they could do as they wished for if they would not remain with him he would play with the devil! At that remark, the devil himself is said to have appeared and demanded a game with the Earl.


The Earl continued his losing streak and is said to have died a few days later. Since that night the strangled cries of the angry Earl can sometimes be heard in the tower. Some are reputed to have seen the ghostly figure with a straggly beard; a man condemned to play with the devil repeatedly. Sometime around the early part of the 19th century, one of the Earls of Strathmore, Patrick, is said to have fathered a son who was born badly misshapen with an excess of hair on his body. Although the detail of his deformity and whether or not he was mentally retarded, is not known it is clear that in early Victorian times, such a misfortune in a family would have been a source of great shame.


The shame would have been even more acutely felt if, as in this case, the child had been a first-born son and heir to a great title and estates. The Earl decided to keep his son hidden from the rest of the world and kept him locked away in a secret room within the castle. Only a few trusted servants knew of the secret or had contact with the poor unfortunate for the rest of his life, which some say lasted almost 100 years. The story might have been laid to rest there but, just like today, such secrets were bread and meat to the gossips of the time and rumours got around about the existence of the sad freak. No doubt fuelled by these rumours, stories started to emerge about visitors to the castle being accosted by a hairy vision.


In 1869 a Mrs Munro is said to have been woken by a hairy man and others tell similar stories about grunting sounds being heard during the night. Whether these are ghost stories or accounts about aOnosts real person is not all that clear since some, like that related above, took place while the person was still alive. Maybe the grunts were just someone snoring but whatever the truth, it is well guarded by the family. It is said to be known only to the Earl, his heir and the estate factor. It is also apparent that the secret is a source of immense sorrow to the family.


When asked about the great secret, the 13th Earl is said to have replied that if the questioner knew what the matter was, he would thank God that it was not his own affair. The rumours suggest that when the poor man died he was placed in his coffin and was then bricked up in his secret room. It is said that the only trace of him left is that of his ghost exercising along a rooftop walk known as the 'Mad Earl's Walk'. Ghosts of women often go by the name of 'Grey Lady' or 'White Lady' because that is how they appear to the observer; wraith-like, semi-transparent and colourless. Glamis Castle has both a White Lady and a Grey Lady. The Grey Lady is particularly interesting.


She was seen in the castle chapel by the late Lady Granville, the Queen Mother's sister, and also by a previous Earl. The Grey Lady is said to be the ghost of Janet Douglas who became Lady Glamis, the widow of the 6th Earl, John. Later on, she was married to Campbell of Skipness in Kintyre. The king at the time was James V of Scotland who came to the throne when he was only 12 years old. His father had been killed at Flodden Field some years before. In the interim, various nobles effectively ruled Scotland, and even after he became king he was only kept in power by one noble or another. To make things worse, the auld enemy, the English, invaded in 1542.


All this must have made him feel pretty insecure and he was always on his guard against some insurrection both from within as well as without Scotland. During that period the Douglas clan was particularly powerful. A charge of trying to poison the king was fabricated by a distant relative, William Lyon and laid against Janet Douglas, Lady Glamis, her husband, Campbell of Skipness and Lord Glamis her eldest son. His motive was presumably the prospect of seizing the Glamis estate for himself. The king attacked the family at Glamis Castle, which was besieged and captured. The son was kept in gaol until James died in 1542, whereupon he was given back his estates and castle. His mother and her husband were not so lucky; she was accused of being a witch and taken from her cell onto the Castle Hill where she was covered in pitch and burned at the stake.


Such was the distress of her husband who, with his son, was forced to watch the spectacle that he threw himself from the battlements the very next day. Lady Glamis' spirit found its way back to Glamis Castle where it is said to appear to warn the Bowes-Lyon family of impending disaster. Also within the castle there is a room called the Haunted Chamber. It is now sealed up but is said to be the scene of a notorious deceit inflicted on a neighbouring clan by the Glamis family. The nearby Ogilvies were fighting with the Lindsays. On one infamous occasion, the Ogilvies were in full retreat and pleaded with Lord Glamis for sanctuary within the castle. He inveigled them into a secret room in the castle but instead of protecting them, he locked them in and then proceeded to starve them to death. The reason for such a disgraceful act is not known but it is said that on occasion, the cries of the starving men can still be heard.


Other haunted rooms include one called the Hangman's Chamber. It is haunted by the ghost of a butler who strung himself up there, and there are also said to be rooms where the furniture occasionally takes the form of that from a bygone age. The castle has one further claim to fame; it is the setting of Shakespeare's famous play Macbeth in which, of course, there is a famous ghost. Shakespeare wrote the play in about 1605 but It is not known if that coincides with the beginning of Glamis Castle's notoriety.



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Nov/7/2008, 1:23 pm Link to this post Send Email to MaTTsWoRld   Send PM to MaTTsWoRld Blog
 


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