For those who read "Spirit of the Revolution," fell in love with my Scottish knight, Sir Cailen, (thank you) and wanted him to have a story of his own...
"Spirit of the Knight" will be published through The Wild Rose Press in 2014. So now begins the laborious process of edits, cover creation, highly anticipated galleys, and finally—a release date. Exciting stuff, so stay tuned for the latest news!
Therefore, in celebration of this fact, and being in a medieval frame of mind as you might guess, I thought we'd visit some haunted castles in Scotland in the weeks ahead. (Blame the Scottish blood that flows through these veins, if you must. I have plenty of it...)
|Hermitage Castle, by Martina L. Abel|
One of the more frightening stories I've encountered concerns the Hermitage castle. This castle is said to have been built by Nicolas de Soulis somewhere around the year 1240. His family retained ownership for almost a century. But then, according to legend, Sir William de Soulis, who possessed the castle during the reign of King Robert the Bruce, plotted to assassinate the famous king. This did not go over well as you can imagine. Shortly thereafter, they tossed him inside a wretched dungeon and eventually, he met his demise at the hand of the executioner.
Or did he?
Whispers abounded and those whispers turned into a legend altogether different than what history records. According to this legend, "Bad Lord Soulis" practiced the vilest form of Black Magic. They say he kidnapped children in his neighborhood and used their innocent blood to perform his demonic spells.
Those in his community begged King Robert for some form of redress. At last the weary king said, "Boil him if you must, but let me hear no more of him." In response to the directive, the citizens stormed the castle, and captured the evil knight. They bound him in lead and then dumped him, head first, into a boiling cauldron. Though the act ended his mortality, it did not end his residency at the castle.
From the moment Sir Ralph de Neville took possession of the castle, followed by Sir William Douglas (and a succession of others though its decline at the turn of the 18th century), sightings of the knight's malevolent ghost were a common occurrence. In addition to his endless wandering, the pitiful, tragic sobs of children, still echo throughout the fortress.
During a visit to the castle, one might hear demonic laughter or even see a figure standing at one of the upper windows, even though the floors no longer exist. And let us not forget to mention the ghost of another unfortunate victim of the castle. During the early part of the 19th century, a mason tore down a wall only to discover a skeleton drooped over a rusty sword. Some believe the skeleton and the ghost belong to Alexander Ramsey. One can hear his blood-curdling screams piercing the night from the Hermitage, and echoing throughout the valley.
And what is a haunted castle without a distraught lady ghost? Hermitage has one. She wears white and for those who have caught sight of her, they tell us that she does her wandering outside the castle. Not surprising. I can't think of a single, self-respecting lady-ghost who would chose to associate with the likes of Sir William de Soulis...