Robert B. McNeill tells the tale of Hobkirk Church where footsteps can be heard after midnight…the local reverend takes matters into his own hands to find out who or what is causing the eerie acts.

In the year 1720 strange events began in the Scottish Borders village of Hobkirk. Unexplained lights were seen coming from the kirk (church) after midnight and the sound of footsteps were heard when nobody was in the vicinity. Rumours quickly spread through the community that the kirk was haunted. Elders of the church, anxious to allay people’s fears, met to discuss the matter and decide a course of action to prevent the spread of panic.

The minister, the Reverend Nicol Edgar, regarded it at a serious matter and one that should be dealt with urgently. ‘It is sacrilege in the House of God,’ he said, ‘and I intend to get to the bottom of it.’

He and the elders discussed the situation and agreed that the kirk was being put to a use completely out of keeping with its intended purpose. Reverend Edgar told the others that he himself would spend a night in the church and discover the intruder’s identity. But, since it was agreed that no one could be above suspicion, he would not say which night that would be. The session members accepted this and the meeting concluded.

A few nights later, just before the stroke of twelve, Reverend Edgar made his way to the kirk. In one hand he held the large pulpit bible, and in the other an old claymore (broad sword) that had been in his family for generations. By any means necessary – spiritual or physical – he resolved to evict the intruder and settle the affair.

Continue reading in the St Patrick’s Day Annual