THE night was draped in shadows, the wind howled like a lonesome wolf and breath condensed in the jarring cold air like soulless apparitions. A perfect night to celebrate Hallowe’en.
The name is said to be a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening or All Saints’ Eve and is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day.
It is based on the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs and all the faithful departed. The date is believed to have initially been influenced by Celtic harvest festivals with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain.
And where better to look at supernatural events than in the
Linlithgow has a wealth of ghostly folklore, some more believable than others, and we’ve also uncovered some interesting and spooky tales from around Bo’ness and Queensferry too.
So, sit back, close the curtains, switch the lights out and ... be afraid, very afraid!
The birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots retains many historical memories, and, it seems, the ghosts to accompnay them. A source told me that he and his wife and a number of other visitors saw the ghostly shape of a woman near the main entrance. “She is in a bluish gown,” he said “and walks purposefully towards the nearby church.
“She then disappears within a few feet of the wall.”
Queen Margaret’s bower, also in the spectacular ruin of Linlithgow Palace, is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of either Margaret Tudor, wife of James IV, or Mary of Guise wife of James V.
Her apparition has allegedly been witnessed standing at the top of the tower waiting on the return of her husband from battle.
And it’s not just buildings which are affected – in 2002, a driver overtook an Austin Allegro just after the Forth Road Bridge slip road. As he passed, he noticed the front of the car was badly damaged and that the driver, an old man in a grey flat cap with an elderly lady, seemed unaware. Overtaking the car with the intention of stopping it, the driver looked in his rear view mirror and – to his astonishment – found no other vehicles behind him!
The Binns, former home of General Tam Dalyell and now managed by the National Trust For Scotland, is reputed to be haunted by a few ghosts including an old man in a brown habit who is seen gathering wood on the hillside, water sprites who lurk around the ancient pond below the hill and General Dalyell himself. His ghost has been witnessed on a white charger, galloping across the wooden bridge and heading up the hill to his home. It is said that Dalyell played cards with the devil and when Dalyell won, the enraged Devil threw the table past him and it landed in the Sergeant’s Pond. Many years later during a dry summer in 1878, the water of the pond reduced to reveal a heavy carved table!
In Queensferry, The “Stag” is reputed to be haunted by spirits who, on occasion make their presence known. Mrs Wyld, a former proprietor of the 17th century inn, can often be heard pacing up and down the top floor.... and has been occasionally seen. And ‘Jack’, a former cellar man, is heard moving barrels around and switching lights on and off.