In the early 1800s, gossip began to circulate that a hideous creature, bestial in appearance, was locked away from public view in Glamis Castle…
writes Robert B. McNeill
For more than six hundred years Glamis in Forfarshire – one of Scotland’s oldest inhabited castles – has been the seat of the Earls of Strathmore. It was also the family home of the late Queen Mother and the birthplace of her daughter, Princess Margaret. This formidable building has another claim to fame, however: as a scene of mysterious hauntings and the setting for events that remain secret to this day.
Said to be the place where Duncan was murdered by MacBeth, Glamis Castle is thought to have existed at the beginning of the eleventh century. Although added to through the years, the original structure remains much as when it was first built. At the centre there is a square tower that affords a view of surrounding castle and grounds. The walls are fifteen feet thick and, of the rooms within, one is rumoured to be hidden, with access known only to a few.
In 1820, Sir Walter Scott wrote, ‘The castle has a secret chamber, the entrance to which, by law or custom of the family, must be known only to three persons, the Earl of Strathmore, his heir apparent, and any third person they may take into their confidence.’
In the early 1800s, gossip began to circulate that a hideous creature, bestial in appearance, was locked away from public view in the room.
The creature was said to be the 11th Earl’s first child, who had been born in 1821 and was deformed both physically and mentally. It was rumoured that the birth was kept secret in the belief that the child would not live long. When the boy survived, however, his parents realised it would be impossible for him to inherit title of 12th Earl and he was kept hidden in the tower.
Food was taken to him during the day, and at night he was allowed to roam the castle roof. Apparently he lived a long life and when he died was buried at the castle in an unmarked grave.
It appears his spirit didn’t rest in peace, however, for at the turn of the century visitors began to experience unusual happenings at Glamis.
Shortly after his death, guests at the castle — particularly those who had rooms in the Square Tower — began to hear strange noises or have supernatural experiences. Two of the most frightening of these took place within the space of a few years. The first occurred when a lady called Eloise Bond stayed at Glamis with her mother and sister. Miss Bond went to the tower one evening very tired and fell asleep within minutes.