Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Eve Legend at Glamis Castle...

For most of us, ringing in the New Year conjures thoughts of parties, revelry, reflection, and spending time with friends and loved ones. But did you know that according to legend, Alexander Lindsay, (the 4th Earl of Crawford) eternally spends each New Year's Eve, playing cards with the devil? He does this in an attempt to win back his soul from a game previously played and lost.

Glamis Castle in Scotland from Morris's Country Seats (1880)

According to various claims, Earl Beardie (as Alexander is affectionately or perhaps not so affectionately called) takes on the devil at both Lordscairnie and Glamis Castles. The story coming from Glamis tells us that Alexander, a man notoriously cruel and indulgent, took to heavy drinking one fateful Sunday evening while visiting the Earl of Glamis. In his drunken state he demanded a partner for a game of cards. Since it was the Sabbath, no one stepped forward to indulge the whim. Enraged over the slight he vowed that he would play with the devil himself. (Not a good idea, really...)

Soon thereafter, they say, a tall man wearing dark clothing knocked at the castle doors, volunteering to play with their inebriated guest. Alexander quickly accepted the offer. The two men retreated into an empty room, closed the door, and sat down to a game of cards. As the evening progressed, servants in the hallways heard frightful noises coming from within the room. Some of them said the walls all but rocked from off their foundations for the shouts and curses that abounded.

One brave soul, curious as to the goings-on dared to peek through the keyhole. At once a bolt of bright light shot through the room and exited the keyhole blinding the servant in one eye. At that point, Alexander leapt from his chair, thrust open the door and all but throttled the servant for spying upon him. When he finished his tirade, Alexander, void of his very soul, returned to an empty room.

Now, each New Year's Eve, the devil and Alexander appear inside the castle for another round and another opportunity for Earl Beardie to win back his soul. However, before you make plans to visit the castle in hopes of watching the game, know this:  Legend tells us that anyone who catches sight of their ghostly game will travel to hell with the devil and Alexander at the end of the match...

Are you up for it?


Happy New Year Everybody!  May the new year treat you kindly!


  1. Wow, I'd never heard that legend before but it left me with a round of goosebumps. I guess it just goes to show that you shouldn't drink to the point of inebriation as nothing good ever comes from it as the poor earl found out first hand. I think I'll definitely skip spying on their card game. Happy 2014!

  2. I'll skip the game as well... just in case! Thanks for stopping by and many wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year!

  3. I love ghostly legends like this! Happy New Year from one of your newest followers!

  4. Thanks Katie! Welcome, welcome and Happy New Year to you too!