ROSIE McCLUNE goes into the shadows to seek the horrible secrets of Scotland’s Glamis Castle!
When you hear or tell stories of Scottish castles, myths and legends, there is little doubt that Glamis Castle will be amongst them. Located in the village of Glamis in Angus, Scotland, the castle is dripping in history and tales of murder, monsters, ghosts and devilish card games. It is thought to be the most haunted castle in Scotland.
The castle was originally built in the 14th Century, though the present building has stood since the 17th century and is the home of the Lyon/Bowes-Lyon family to the present day. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was born there in 1900, who later became Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and she spent much of her childhood at Glamis, even when it was being used as a hospital in the First World War.
Glamis is also the home of the main protagonist of one of Shakespeare’s greatest and darkest tragedies, the play Macbeth. It is unknown if Shakespeare ever visited Glamis, however, it does provide a perfect background to the castles’ dark history.
One of the most famous legends of the castle is the one of “Earl Beardie”, thought to be the 4th Earl of Crawford. The story goes that Beardie on a Saturday night, was playing cards with a friend and as the clock neared midnight, a servant warned them that playing cards on the Sabbath was sacrilege. Beardie wanted to continue playing, so he said that he would play with “the very devil himself”. On the stroke of midnight, a tall man dressed in black walked into the room who Beardie had never seen before and asked if he still needed a playing partner. Beardie agreed to the wager which was for a handful of rubies. The man sat down, then a short time later, the servant heard commotion coming from the room. The servant entered the room and saw Beardie had been engulfed in flames. The legend goes that the tall man was actually the Devil himself, and Beardies’ soul was condemned to play cards until Doomsday for playing on the Sabbath. Sounds of feet angrily stomping and loud swearing still allegedly come from the high up room in the West Tower where Beardie played cards with the Devil.
The Grey Lady
Another ghost said to haunt Glamis is that of Janet Douglas. A beautiful young woman, she was married to the 6th Lord of Glamis and after his death, she was arrested for witchcraft and conspiracy to poison the King, by King James V who despised the family Douglas (in particular her brother) and condemned her to death. She was kept in a dungeon for years then burned alive at Edinburgh castle. After the execution which she endured with grace and dignity, her ghost has been seen kneeling, praying at the altar of the chapel in Glamis and has become known as the “Grey Lady”. There are few who thought her guilty of the crimes she was charged with. There is one seat in the chapel that is still reserved for Lady Janet and although family functions still occur regularly in the chapel, no-one is allowed to sit in the seat reserved for Lady Janet.
The Glamis Monster
There are several tales of a Glamis “monster'”, which involves a hidden room and a hideous monster which resides in it. Although, it is a macabre tale of a badly-deformed child, thought to be the son of the 11th Earl of Strathmore born in 1821. So severe were the deformities, they registered the child as dead and locked him away in a secret room, not expecting him to live beyond infancy. However, the child grew to be an enormous man of great strength and lived for near a century. When any men in the family turned 21, they were offered the chance to see the secret horror of Glamis and see the secret room and what it held. Some of the men refused, afraid of going insane. There is another story of guests staying at the castle who were seeking out the secret room and decided to hang towels from the windows of rooms they could get into. On going outside to look, many of the windows did not have towels hanging from them. The ghost of the Monster apparently roams the “Mad Earls’ Walk” on the roof of the castle.
ROSIE McCLUNE is a Scottish musician who has a lifelong obsession with the paranormal, horror films and chocolate.