“At Chrystmas tyme,” to quote an old chronicler, “ye ghostes do love to walke abroade.” And certainly there are many ancient houses at which spectres of the past are as inevitable a feature of Christmas as the turkey!
Strange and terrifying tales are told of the ghosts that gather at Glamis Castle, that grim Forfarshire home of the Earls of Strathmore, at Christmas time — of a bearded man who flits about at night and hovers over the beds of sleepers; of pale faces that peer through the windows and vanish to an accompaniment of shrieks; of sounds of hammering, “as if somebody was putting up a scaffold.” And these are by no means the greatest of the castle’s terrors. A lady guest at the castle awoke one Christmas night to hear the moving of a soft body over the floor of her bedroom, and the crack of a bony joint, and then to see the outline of something “luminous and horrid.”
“Slowly,” she says, “the thing, whatever it was, took shape. A body, tawny and hunched; arms long and spidery, a large and terrible head covered with a tangled mass of grey hair, a face white and staring—pig-like in formation, malevolent in expression.”
“As I stared at it aghast it reared itself on its haunches and leered hideously at me, then, shuffling forward, it rolled over and lay sprawled out like some ungainly turtle. At this juncture the handle of the door turned, someone entered, there was a loud cry, and the. whole tower, walls and rafters, rang with the most appalling screams I have ever heard.” Continue reading