Secret Chamber at Glamis Castle

Secret Chamber at Glamis Castle
Secret Chamber at Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle in Angus, Scotland was the childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, birthplace of Princess Margaret, and is also considered to be the most haunted castle in Scotland.

Construction of the castle began in 1400 by the Second Sir John Lyon. His father, Sir John Lyon, had been granted Glamis thaneage by King Robert II of Scotland, a few years before Sir John married Princess Johanna, daughter of King Robert.

Many historical and mysterious events have taken place at the castle over the centuries including the burning at the stake of Lady Glamis (Janet Douglas) in 1537 who had been wrongly accused of witchcraft, the “touch healing” performed by King James VIII in the chapel, and tales of vampires, devils and ghost witches.

Three of the most fascinating legends attached to the castle involve the mystery of the secret room located somewhere within the castle walls. Only the laird and his heir possess the knowledge of its location.

One of the three legends involves the birth of a malformed child to the eleventh Earl and Lady Glamis in 1821. The ill-fated baby was said to have been locked up in a secret room in the castle and lived there for more than a century. The secret of the room was passed down to each heir when he reached the age of 21. The child was supposedly allowed to get some fresh air on the castle ramparts which are known to this day as “Mad Earl’s Walk.” The ghost of this lonely creature called the Monster of Glamis has been glimpsed on the roof by many witnesses.

Another legend concerns the second Earl, Alexander Lyon and/or possibly the 4th Earl of Crawford, Alexander Lindsay, a/k/a Earl Beardie playing cards with the devil on the Sabbath resulting in chaos in the household and the room being sealed off permanently.

The third story is a dreadful tale of mass murder and betrayal. During the 15th century, the Ogilvy clan and the Lindsay clan were feuding. One night in 1486, a group of neighboring Ogilvies showed up at the castle door asking for refuge from the pursuing Lindsay clan. Lord Alexander Glamis agreed to help the Ogilvie clan and hid them in a large room of the castle. A short time later, the Lindsays arrived, and Lord Glamis is said to have told them not to worry about the Ogilvies. He had bricked up the doors and windows and sealed them in the room to thirst and starve to death.

Ghostly cries of distress disturbed the household for hundreds of years. One story tells how a stonemason discovered the room, saw the bones and other horrors and immediately died from shock. His wife was said to have been paid off and shipped to Australia to avoid scandal.

Finally, centuries later, a Lord Glamis decided to investigate and discovered a room filled with skeletons positioned in such a manner as to indicate that the clan had resorted to acts of cannibalism as they were dying.

There are some interesting connections between Lord Glamis and the feuding clans: The mother of Lord Alexander Glamis was a member of the Ogilvy clan before her marriage to Lord Glamis. Many years previously, a man by the name of James Lindsay had murdered Alexander’s great-grandfather. One version of the legend concerning card playing with the devil alludes to the fact that Alexander Lindsay and Lord Glamis were both involved in the game…perhaps, the devil made him do it.

Steiger, Brad. Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places. MI: Visible Ink Press, 2003.

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