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Glamis Castle


Glamis Castle



Glamis Castle


Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle Scotland

Glamis, 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.

High 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.

Following 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 the morning.

Although 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.

The 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.

In 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.

Some 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.

"The 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 locations.

The 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.

A 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".

The 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.

The 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?

There 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.

The 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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