Hello my wonderful readers,
In Scotland, you can expect the unexpected. Maybe it could be in the most ancient castle of the Highlands, or the darkest forest of the Lowlands; or even the most bonnie loch in all of Scotland. You might just find something that cannot be explained…
Such as the Green Lady of Crathes Castle, or the Queen of Scottish Witches!
Let’s learn about those ferocious ladies, shall we?
The Green Lady of Crathes Castle
Within the walls of the 16th century Crathes Castle stalks the Green Lady, a forlorn spectre said to be a harbinger of doom for the Burnett Family. But who is she?
They say that the Green Lady always appears in the same room, pacing back and forth in front of the fireplace. Sometimes she even holds an infant in her arms...Even Queen Victoria herself has seen this apparition!
Some say that she was a servant girl, who got pregnant out of wedlock, and fled the castle, never to be seen again. But years later, a shocking discovery unearthed some different facts...Under the hearthstone of the fireplace, some workers found the remains of a young woman and an infant.
In 1562, a young, beautiful Queen of Scots, Mary Stewart, visited the Castle. As Queen, she always brought with her an array of servants, but during this particular visit, she had a new handmaid, who was gifted (or cursed)! She had the gift of fortune-telling…
That night, she warned her Queen that a disaster would befall Mary, and she would die. Being a brave young woman, she told Mary that she would watch over her, but being exhausted from the journey, they both fell asleep. When they woke, it was to a tragic scene!
A candle had fallen over, and the room had gotten on fire. Queen Mary could not even breathe from the smoke, but her young maid helped her to the door, and to safety. But before she managed to get herself to safety, her green dress caught on fire, and she died in that room…
Now her ghost haunts that Castle, looking for revenge for her untimely death…
The Queen of the Witches
Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries Scotland was gripped by witchcraft hysteria. Untold numbers of women accused of practicing black magic and burnt at the stake during this period were undoubtedly innocent. But was this true of Isobel Gowdie?
She was just a simple farmer’s wife. Nothing could be said about her that could be thought as evil or bad in general. She was a loving wife, and a kind soul, or that’s what it was said. She lived a simple life in the Highland village of Auldearn, until one fateful day, when she was accused of dabbling in witchcraft.
This was not wholly unusual for the time. Women were commonly accused of being in league with the Devil over the most minor of transgressions and sometimes complete falsehoods. But what was different about Gowdie is not that she was accused of witchcraft, but the fact that she did not deny it, but rather, fully embraced it and confessed without being tortured.
She detailed her powers, which apparently were given to her by the Queen of the Faeries, and which included shapeshifting, chanting spells, and flying on broomsticks (!). She even boasted of using voodoo doll-like effigies to cast hexes on children and exhuming corpses to make harvests fail.
However, despite this vivid picture of being the Devil’s cohort, no record of her execution exists. Did the people of her clan take pity on her and let her go? Did the dark powers she possessed allowed her to vanish with no earthly trace?
What are you explanations for these mysterious tales, my dear?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Written by Maddie MacKenna