Ghosts, Massacres and Horror Stories of Scotland's Castles Horror Book Review
Featured Book Review: Darkbound
Darkbound is an amazing book. Michaelbrent Collings outdid himself with this book. It is not at all what I thought it would be. I took three nights to finish this book because I stayed up way past my bedtime. Darkbound was so suspenseful that I just kept on reading to…
Horror books Review
Parting with a fiver for a book like this should be for the kind of tourists who will buy themed ashtrays, tiepins, lighters, baseball caps and pocket diaries. All I can say in my own defence is that I had undertaken a genuinely strenuous and investigative trip, and had been travelling light in consequence. I was really stuck for something to read, and I can make some sort of amends by warning anyone interested of what to expect.
What you will find here is a set of flat and uninteresting accounts of alleged ghosts in some 40 or 50 of Scotland’s 1200 or so castles. The stories, for want of a better term, are arranged in alphabetical order of the names of the castles. For this imaginative reason castle #1 is Ardblair castle near Blairgowrie, the seat of Blairs and de Blairs, in the fructiferous Carse of Gowrie, claimed to be the raspberry capital of the world. The last castle mentioned is Castle Urquhart on Loch Ness, which I visited last June and where I bought this very volume together with a cup of coffee and a set of whisky miniatures as a thankyou gift to a friend who had helped me with transportation. The accounts are unrelentingly samey and superficial, the kind of stuff you might find on a fairly large box of shortbread. As a work of reference or as a catalogue this thing is null, as reading matter it gives a new dimension to tedium, and in terms of value for money it makes me bitterly aware what sort of person and his money are soon parted.
Ghosts and hauntings don’t have to be all that ancient in origin, it seems—Floors castle near Kelso in the borders dates from the mid-18th century but has arranged some alleged revenant already. Other tales have next to no connexion with ghosts, such as the supereminently dull account of Skibo castle, famous as a home to Andrew Carnegie. The village of Dunphail, south of Forres, seems to attract visitations in a big way for such a small place - not only is its castle haunted, so, I’ve read elsewhere, is its closed railway line. Any banks, hairdressing salons or pizza parlours in the area who might be considering closing down for lack of custom had maybe better think through the possible implications.
Presumably if you are interested in preternatural phenomena at any given castle you will get some local material specifically relating to that castle, or at least something that gives the matter some sort of satisfactory treatment. If you are interested in Loch Ness and its monster, get the excellent book on the subject by Nicholas Witchell. That will give you a fine excuse to visit Urquhart castle, a handsome ruin open only during daylight hours, during which it seems as unlikely a haunt of ghosts as of Martians.