August 4

28 comments

Ghosts of Another Time


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. Image source.


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…

Isobel Gowdie. Image source: Wikipedia.


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?

Who knows…

Witches in Scotland. Image source..

What are you explanations for these mysterious tales, my dear?

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…
Written by
Maddie MacKenna


Tags

Articles, Scottish Romance


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  • Curiouser and curiouser. The first tale is a tangled one with the two versions. Hard to say. Seems there’s something there, but what? Or whom? The mystery on isobel is why there’s no record of her execution and her supposed disappearance. She likely confessed to avoid the torture to make her confess since they were set on the outcome as they went through the charade of a trial. Perhaps she had a well connected benefactor who “spirited” her away!

    • Hmm who could be really? And that’s true! Maybe that’s why she became the Queen of the witches! Because she escaped her fate, like a witch 😉

  • I have never seen a ghost, but a shadow upstairs, like he had hat on, didn’t scare me, if it had been a rat, I don’t where to run to, I would not be spy out of in my face ok would spell my guts.

  • Very interesting the gift was a tragedy. The second who knows people believe in witch craft but our imagination can run wild.

  • These are things I don’t usually think about, but enjoyed the insight to how people were swayed by things. But really people are just as easily swayed today as then, just not the same things!

  • Love all your stories Maddie, especially the scary ones. I myself have witnessed ghosts/apparitions on more than one occasion; probably because I am of both celtic and native American ancestry. If it’s anything I love, it’s a good ghost story. I’m already looking forward to Halloween, even if we can’t celebrate it like we normally would.

  • I am a sceptic & don’t believe in ghosts but I did have a strange experience a long time ago when I was living in a large country town where my husband had been appointed as a teacher. My family, who had passed on, appeared to me, beckoning me to come with them but I heard my youngest daughter cry out so I turned towards her then turned back to tell my family to wait a while but they had disappeared.
    I was left a tad shaken by this appearance but do recall they were all smiling at me, welcoming me.
    I suppose that at that time I was a little under some pressure to return to teaching but was quite reluctant to do so due to having a young baby to care for.
    Thus far no more appearances have occurred. So some ghosts are friendly but others not so much.

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