near Forfar, Tayside
Situated just west of Forfar, this splendid seat of the Strathmores
is referred to by Shakespeare in Macbeth, Macbeth having killed
Duncan there in 1040, and it is also there that King Malcolm
II was murdered by assassins in 1034. It is the childhood home
of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and is also the birthplace
of Princess Margaret.
up in the uninhabited West Tower is the room where the ghost
of "Earl Beardie" perpetually gambles with the "devil".
"Earl Beardie" was Alexander, Fourth Earl of Crawford
during the days of James II of Scotland, who had a quarrel with
the Lord Glamis of the day whilst they were gambling with two
other Scottish chieftains. During the argument "Beardie",
who was a giant of a man, was thrown down the stone staircase
but returned, stamping his feet with rage and bellowing that
if no man would play with him he would play with the very "devil"
himself. Instantly a tall dark man, wearing a long cloak, walked
into the room and play began between himself and "Beardie".
It is not known what happened after that but the tall dark man
was never seen again and "Beardie" died five years
afterwards. Legend says that the tall dark man was the "devil"
and that "Beardie" has indeed "sold his soul"
as a result of the gambling.
his death the ghost of "Beardie" was often heard,
stamping has feet and swearing at "something" in rage
in the room and even today castle servants are adamant that
they often hear the rattle of dice at night, heavy stamping
noises and the sound of men swearing at each other from the
direction of the locked and empty room. The ghost of "Beardie"
has been seen many times, including several modern appearances.
Lord Halifax certainly saw him when he spent a night there.
"Beardie" has also been seen on the roof on stormy
nights at a spot known as "Mad Earl's Walk", swearing
and raging. He has been seen by residents and guests alike,
adults and children, leaning over their beds and peering at
them. The sightings and sounds always happen at 4 o'clock in
it is not known who the tall dark man in the cloak was there
is a distinct possibility that he was yet another of the many
ghosts of Glamis. The Provost of Perth was to see this same
figure enter his room one night dressed in a long dark cloak,
walking across the room and disappearing through the far wall.
The same figure was seen by Dr. Nicholson, Dean of Brechin,
when he awoke to find the figure standing at the side of his
bed looking down at him. The figure later disappeared through
a wall. Dr. Forbes, Bishop of Brechin, was to see the same figure
the following night.
Haunted Chamber, or Secret Room, it's position is only known
to a few, is thought to have got it's name from the feuding
days when a number of the Ogilvy Clan, fleeing from the Lindsays
after a terrible slaughter, sought shelter at Glamis. Although
they were admitted the then owner of Glamis had no sympathy
for them, and on the pretence of hiding them, secured the visitors
in a remote spot of the Castle and literally left them there
to starve to death. It is said that the Chamber contains the
ghosts of the Ogilvys. Many years ago the then Lord Strathmore
and some companions went to the Haunted Chamber following many
disturbances said to have come from that part of the Castle.
Strathmore is said to have collapsed when he encountered the
contents of the unventilated chamber. Piles of skeletons lay
twisted and contorted in the last agonies of starvation. Some
are even thought to have died in the act of eating the flesh
from their own arms. Even today the bare chamber is thought
to have a sense of uneasiness.
a room, thought to be adjacent to the Haunted Chamber, a woman,
spending the night at Glamis, is said to have seen the tall
figure of a man in armour passing through her room and enter
the next room in which her son lay asleep. The poor boy awoke
to find this figure staring at him, peering very closely. Those
who have come close to discovering the location of the Haunted
Chamber have been paid large sums of money and forced to emigrate,
after swearing on oath that they would never breath a word of
what they had seen.
years ago a party of youngsters, spending a holiday at Glamis,
made up their minds to discover whether or not the secret room
had a window. Whilst Lord Strathmore and his family were out
shooting for the day the youngsters visited every room in the
castle and hung towels and sheets out to mark them. They were
sure that they had visited every room but when they gathered
outside they counted no less than seven windows with nothing
hanging from them. It is said that Lord Strathmore was furious
when he returned and put a stop to further exploration. The
location of the Haunted Chamber still remains a mystery except
for those few who are allowed to know.
White lady", who haunts the Clock Tower, and who has been
seen gliding around the main avenue, is thought to be Janet
Douglas, wife of the Sixth Earl of Glamis, who was put to the
stake at Castle Hill, Edinburgh, in 1537 following her trial
on a charge of witchcraft. It is thought that she may have been
connected with an attempt to murder King James V. Her spectre,
surrounded by a reddish glow, has been frequently seen in both
ghostly little Black Boy, who sits on a stone seat by the door
leading into the Queen Mother's sitting room, is thought to
be the ghost of a Negro servant who was unkindly treated at
Glamis in the middle of the 18th century. A small dressing-room
off the Queen Mother's main bedroom used to be haunted. People
who have slept there have often felt their bedclothes being
pulled off the bed but there have been no disturbances since
the room was converted into a bathroom.
former Lord Castleton's daughter woke during the night she was
spending at the castle to see the figure of "a huge old
man" seated in front of the fire in her bedroom. When he
turned to face her she observed that his face was "that
of a dead man".
figure of a Grey Lady has been seen many times in the chapel
dedicated to St Michael. On one occasion she was seen by a Mrs
Hunter, who worked and lived at Glamis, whilst she was in the
chapel intending to arrange some flowers. Normally seen kneeling
in one of the pews, the Grey Lady has also been seen by Lady
Granville, sister of the Queen Mother, who was able to describe
the dress she was wearing and who was also able to observe the
sunlight shining through the chapel window, shining through
the outline of the figure and making a pattern on the floor.
A recent Lord Strathmore saw her on one occasion when he went
into the chapel to look at a picture on one of the walls. Not
wishing to disturb her he quietly left the chapel. The Grey
Lady has also been seen walking into the chapel. Nobody knows
who she is or why she visits the chapel.
Hangman's Chamber is never used these days. It is said to be
haunted by the ghost of a butler who hanged himself there.
The tongueless figure of a woman with large mournful eyes, pressing
her pale face against a window as if appealing for help, and
clutching her hands at the bars, has been seen on several occasions
looking out of a latticed upper window before apparently being
dragged away as if by someone who has leaped up behind her.
The scene is always followed by violent screams. She has also
been seen running across the park, pointing in anguish to her
bloody mouth. Did this poor woman suffer having her tongue cut
out because she learned one of the secrets of Glamis Castle?
are persistent reports of a strange, elusive, thin figure, nicknamed
"Jack the Runner", who has been seen many times racing
across the park on moonlit nights towards the castle.
legend of the Monster of Glamis relates to somewhere around
the turn of the 18th/19th centuries, when a grotesque and bloated
monster was born to be Heir of Glamis. Completely misshapen,
he had no neck, very small arms and legs, and looked like "a
flabby egg", half-human, half-monster. In spite of such
deformities he is said to have been immensely strong and is
reputed to have lived for nearly 150 years, some people thinking
that he finally died in 1921. He lived in a special room at
the castle, where he was kept from everybody's eye. His existence
was known to only four men at one time, the Earl of Strathmore,
his heir, the family lawyer and the factor of the estate. At
the age of 21 each succeeding heir was told the secret and shown
the rightful Earl. Succeeding family lawyers and factors were
also told of the secret, but at any one time no more than four
knew of the existence of the Monster. As no Countess of Strathmore
was ever told the story, one Lady Strathmore, having heard rumours
approach the then factor, Mr Ralston, who flatly refused to
reveal the secret saying "it is fortunate you do not know
the truth for if you did you would never be happy", a reference
presumably to the unhappy state of several Earls of Strathmore
during the suspected lifetime of the Monster. Even now it is
suspected that the remains of the Monster are still retained
in the secret room. Mr Ralston, who was described as a shrewd,
hard-headed Scot, would never sleep in the castle under any
circumstances. One night, when he had worked late, a sudden
snowstorm came on. Pressed to stay for the night he refused
to do so and insisted that a path be dug in the snow to his
house nearly a mile away. Offering strength to the belief of
a hideous monster being born into the family, is a portrait
hung in the drawing-room. It depicts a previous Earl of Strathmore
with his two sons and an indescribably ugly deformed dwarf.
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