|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!