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Scottish Ghost Stories Paperback – March 7, 1996
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James Robertson has researched these lively old bones back to the graves from which they first arose... there is much instruction and entertainment to be exhumed from this guide to our other national spirits.―GLASGOW HERALD
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With its prolific folklore and long history of civil strife, its many ancient castles and churches, its many bleak, windswept and lonely locations for human habitation, Scotland has been a fertile place for the growth of tales of the supernatural. Most such tales date from earlier more credulous times than ours but Robertson's collection includes recent examples.
Scottish history with its bloody battles, betrayals, and persecutions lends itself peculiarly well to tales of ghostly vengeance. Several stories in this book describe revenants that arose from the persecutions of the Covenanters, the witches, the Royalists, and the Catholics (depending on who was in power). Glamis Castle gets its own chapter, and haunted lochs and beaches also have their stories told. Some of the scariest hauntings are drowned sailors returned from the sea, and some of the least scary involve Baby Boomer types who treat their ghosts like pets or something deserving of pity. It was enough to make me wish that the smug New Agers would some day have to go a round with 'the Deil of Littledean' or the 'Beast of Glamis'.
The author also makes room for several eerie tales of Gaelic 'second sight'. Scots with this 'gift' seem particularly prone to seeing ghostly funeral processions, sometimes with themselves as part of the funeral cortege!
All in all, "Scottish Ghost Stories" is a worthwhile read for those of you who collect tales of 'true' hauntings.
On the other hand, I did enjoy most of this book. Of particular importance to me is that the author took the time to give the background information pertaining to the haunt while not getting so carried away by the history of the haunt that he forgets the haunt itself. I particularly found the chapters dealing with poltergeists and Glamis Castle to be interesting. Most interesting of all however were chapters fifteen and sixteen, which deal with modern haunts and include eyewitness testimony. Both are excellent chapters and make the whole book worthwhile.
This is not the kind of book that makes a wonderful read on a chilly autumn evening. It simply is not frightening.Read more ›