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Scottish Mysteries

Mysterious ScotlandMysterious Scotland "Mysterious Scotland" presents an array of the weird and wonderful heritage of the country. Michael Balfour examines strange stories from the moors, forests, rivers, holy wells and lochs, where - as well as the old legends and dark secrets which he prises out of palaces, castles and cathedrals - he finds monsters, ghoulies, unsolved murders and ancient cures. Investigating a land where the past is reflected in the present, the author has roamed all around Scotland, exploring standing stones, mermaid beaches and magic springs. He seeks out new theories about the prehistoric, Celtic and Pictish stones, carvings, tombs and brochs which are scattered across the country. Among his many discoveries, he unearths long-forgotten prophecies, puzzling tales from the bothies, consuming traditions and distillers' tricks, and finds evidence of the legendary Highland second sight. Not forgotten are the great historical figures who throng the pages, each making a unique contribution to "Mysterious Scotland".

Devil's GallopDevil's Gallop: Trips into Scotland's... Dark and Bloody Past in Fact and Legend. Scotland is a fascinating country with a dark and bloody past, filled with characters who thought nothing of using torture, murder and treachery to get what they wanted. Many of its ancient sites are steeped in tales of skulduggery and dark doings - castles and houses, monuments and cairns, battlegrounds and burial grounds - each with a story to tell. Now, these historical figures, sites and stories have been brought together in this book. From dragons to dragoons, rebels to rabbles, warlocks to warfare, "Devil's Gallop" mixes fact with legend to bring to life Scotland's dark past, taking the reader on a series of tours ranging north as far as Inverness and south to Hermitage Castle in the Borders. Murderous monarchs, wicked witches and nasty nobles are all featured in these pages. There are tales of cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers; of religious fervour that led to rebellion; and of murder, abduction and general all-round villainy.

Supernatural ScotlandSupernatural Scotland From the days of Arthurian legend in the Scottish Borders to the prophecies of Highland seers in the twenty-first century, mysticism has never failed to fascinate. The past is always with us. We cannot escape from it, and we ignore it at our peril. In Scotland, with 2,000 years of documented history, we encounter reminders at every turn. Amongst the dozens of incidents recorded the author tells us of the hostile presence at the Goblin Ha', the 37-foot vaulted chamber below the ruins of Yester Castle, which exerted enormous pressure on his chest and legs forcing him backwards, as well as extinguishing his torch and terrifying a dog. He investigates the mystery surrounding the burial of David Riccio, the murdered secretary of Mary, Queen of Scots, meets His Grace James IV, King of Scots, reborn as the playwright, A.J. Stewart, and reveals the terrible repercussions following attempts to steal cylindrical stones that have sat on the grave of the Chief of the Shaws at the Doune of Rothiemurchus, for 600 years. We are chilled by tales of the ghostly bagpipe music heard coming from Allenvale Cemetery in Aberdeen at midnight on Hogmanay, and intrigued by the controlling influence of the Jacobite songwriter Lady Nairne which lingers on at Ardblair Castle, in Perthshire. Supernatural Scotland is full of tales of ghosts and poltergeists, second sight, psychic phenomena, reincarnation, the small people and much, much more.

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