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Scottish Ghost Stories (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural)

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Rosemary Gray

This book is selected by Rosemary Gray. Scotland has a notoriously rich and diverse cultural tradition when it comes to the supernatural. Many of her greatest writers from Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg to Robert Louis Stevenson and John Buchan have … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Rosemary Gray
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd
1 review about Scottish Ghost Stories (Wordsworth Mystery...

Bogles, spunkies, and blackgaird jotterymen

  • Nov 27, 2010
Rating:
+3
Throughout its history, the story of Scotland has been interwoven with tales of the paranormal: Highlanders who 'see' the funeral procession of someone not yet dead; the ghostly reenactments of bloody battles; and fey creatures that lure men to a watery doom.

Rosemary Gray has selected stories from the pens of Scotland's most well-known supernatural authors, including John Buchan, Sir Walter Scott, Margaret Oliphant, and Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as a smattering of anonymous folk tales.

Alas, some of the stories are incomplete, e.g. "The Watcher by the Threshold" by John Buchan is mainly an excerpt from Chapter 1 of the longer, original version.

The other problem with many of the stories (for me at least) is that they are narrated in an almost impenetrable Scots dialect. Here is a sampling from one of the most harrowing tales in this collection, Stevenson's "Thrawn Janet:"

"Wi' a' that he had upon his mind, it was gey and unlikely Mr Soulis wad get muckle sleep. He lay an' he tumbled; the gude, caller bed that he got into brunt his very banes; whiles he slept, and whiles he waukened; whiles he heard the time o' nicht, and whiles a tyke yowlin' up the muir, as if somebody was deid; whiles he thocht he heard bogles claverin' in his lug, an' whiles he saw spunkies in the room."

The longest story, "The Haunted Major" by Robert Marshall, is a humorous tale of a haughty English aristocrat who challenges Scotland's best golfer to a game, even though he himself has never set foot on a golf course.

Of course no book on Scotland's paranormal history would be complete without mention of the late Queen Mother's home, Glamis Castle, often called the most haunted castle in Great Britain. The editor chooses to retell the tales of the guest who was awakened by ghostly hammering, and the stonemason who was forced to emigrate after "discovering more than he should have done" about the castle's secret room.

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