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Scottish Ghost Stories Paperback – March 7, 1996

4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A splendid selection of supernatural sightings, past and present- these tales are intriguing reflections of the era in which they belong.―SCOTS MAGAZINE

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

About the Author

James Robertson is the author of the novel The Fanatic, as well as two collections of short stories, Close and The Ragged Man's Complaint, several collections of poetry, and a book of Scottish ghost stories. He lives in Fife.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (March 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751513938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751513936
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,276,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio Cassette
I have read helpful and detailed appreciations of this book on the Internet. I shall just add two points. Firstly, I think the book's great strength is that it is written by a skeptic. Ghost stories are not likely to be taken seriously if their reporting is sensationalized. James Robertson has collected and presented them with just the right mix of detached scholarship and narrative simplicity. Secondly, it should be obvious that ghost stories are ideal material for old-fashioned listening rather than for reading. Accordingly, I strongly recommend the Soundings audio version of this book, enabling you to hear the Scottish ghost stories told by a Scotsman. James Bryce delivers them beautifully, tossing the place names off with ready familiarity.

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.
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Format: Paperback
James Robertson has collected some interesting if not always believable stories of Scottish hauntings. The author himself says, "I am a sceptic in most things - in the behavior of the living as much as that of the dead - and so I am inclined to believe some of the stories gathered here more than others."
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.
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Format: Paperback
As anyone who has ever been to Scotland knows, there is an abundance of supernatural tales in this ancient land. James Robertson has put together a fine book that includes many of these stories. Some are ancient, some are recent. Much to his credit he does not rehash some of the more worn Scottish ghost stories, but instead includes many stories that the reader will not likely find in any other books still in print. His writing style is for the most part pleasing, but does drag a little at times. I also doubt that this book will send a chill up your spine or cause you to have any trouble sleeping. Some really good ghost books do both of these things but this one will do neither. Part of the problem is that Robertson approaches this book as a skeptic. I have found that the really good ghost book writers have full faith that what they are writing about is absolute fact. Another problem is that so many of the stories are indeed old legends with no recent eyewitness accounts to add authenticity to the story. Those kinds of accounts always add a great deal to this type of book.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The stories themselves are great. The author just doesn't know how to tell a ghost story. He lays out vivid historical detail, describes the spooky goings-on, but then kills the mood every time by reciting the ghost stories like a historian. It's a great account of Scottish folklore, but I bought it to read in bed by candlelight. The trick is to read the scary parts, then stop. Then you read the rest in the next day. I recommend for people interested in Scottish folklore but not for people looking for a scary read.
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Wonderful book! Couldn't put it gown once I started reading it!
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