When you see a photo of Glamis Castle, or the actual castle itself, it’s like looking at something straight out of the pages of many fairytales. You would never believe that it is considered to be the most haunted castle in Scotland. Over the years, there have been legends and stories, that in addition to ghosts, include a witch and a vampire that call this magnificent castle “home”.
[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”] Did the devil actually take Beardie’s soul and condemn him to play cards until doomsday? There have been numerous reports of Beardie standing over the beds of children watching them and loud shouts coming from him.[/pullquote]There was a village here, many years before a royal hunting lodge or castle were even thought of, that can be traced all the way back to the 8th century. An Irish missionary by the name of Fergus settled in this area in 710 A.D. The church St. Fergus Kirk, was named after him. There was a Pictish stone found in the nearby village of Eassie, that shows there are prehistoric traces in this area. A Royal Hunting Lodge stood at the site in 1034, where King Malcolm II was murdered. Shakespeare’s play, “Macbeth” has the character of Macbeth dying at Glamis Castle, even though the actual King Macbeth had no connection to the castle at all.
Sir John Lyon, Thane of Glamis, married King Robert II’s daughter in 1376 and a castle was built that has remained in the Lyon’s and Bowes-Lyon’s family since that time, except for a time when King James V lived in the home.
There is a legend involving Earl Beardie from the 15th century. There are several versions of the story, but they all revolve around Earl Beardie playing cards. The story takes place on a Sunday and according to 2 of the stories, either his hosts refused to play cards with him, or a servant advised him to stop because it was after all the Sabbath. Lord Beardie became so enraged that he vowed to play cards until doomsday, or with the actual Devil, depending on the version of the story. A stranger suddenly shows up at the castle and joins the Earl in a game of cards. The stranger is identified with the Devil. The 2 men basically rocked the castle with their swearing and yelling. One story includes a servant that tried to take a peak into the room where they were playing, thru the keyhole and was struck blind. Lord Beardie was found dead the next morning. Did the devil actually take Beardie’s soul and condemn him to play cards until doomsday? There have been numerous reports of Beardie standing over the beds of children watching them and loud shouts coming from him.
The 6th Lord Glamis, John Lyon, married a woman by the name of Janet Douglas. She was the daughter of the Master of Angus, who at the time was involved in a feud with King James V. Janet was accused of treason against the King in December of 1528, for bringing supporters of the Earl of Angus to Edinburgh. Her husband, the 6th Lord of Glamis, had died on Sept. 17, 1528, so she was charged with poisoning him. She was eventually accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake at Edinburgh on July 17, 1537.
There is a small chapel in the castle. The chapel is still used today, but 1 seat is always left vacant and no one is allowed to sit there. This seat has been reserved for the “Grey Lady”, a ghost that is said to live at the castle. The Grey Lady is thought to be the ghost of Jane Douglas, Lady Glamis. She has been seen and felt by a number of visitors to the castle over the past 3 centuries. She walks around the chapel and has also been seen above the clock tower.
The most famous legend associated with the castle is the Monster of Glamis. The “monster” was supposedly a hideously deformed child that was born into the family. Some of these stories came from the accounts of a singer and composer by the name of Virginia Gabriel who stayed in the castle during 1870. In her story, the “monster” was kept in the castle for its’ entire life and his rooms were bricked up after his death. Another version of this story is that every generation of the family has had a vampire child born into the family and is walled up in the room
It is said that guests of the castle once hung towels from the windows of every single room, trying to find the bricked up room where the “monster” lived. As the story goes, when they would look at the building from the outside, there were several windows that did not have towels hanging from them.
Some think that the legend of the “monster” was inspired by a true story. There was a family by the name of Ogilvie. They sought protection from a family that was their enemy at the castle. Somewhere inside the 16 ft. thick walls of the castle is the famous “room of skulls”, where the Ogilvie family were all walled up and died of starvation.
Hamish Rue Glamis, the 9th Laird of Glamis, was executed for treason after being betrayed by the Ruthven family. His ghost has been seen several times in full Scottish regalia. It is said that if you hear Scottish music being played, that this is signaling the specture funeral procession of Hamish. You can see 6 dark figures carrying a blackened coffin across the castle grounds.
Other stories include a “tongue-less woman”. She has been seen running across the castle grounds at midnight, tearing at her mouth. There are other reports of screaming, banging noises and doors that refuse to stay closed, even after they have been bolted and hammered shut. There is a story of a young black boy that is seen sitting in an old stone seat by the door of the Queen’s bedroom. There have reports of this sighting for at least 200 years.
Glamis Castle is open to the public. If you feel like taking a vacation or trip to Scotland, be sure to check out this magnificent piece of Scottish history and maybe…..just maybe if you are very lucky, you will see one of the past residents of the castle dropping in to tell you hello. Just beware of becoming involved in a card game with Lord Beardie.
For more information on Glamis Castle, you can go to their official website