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March 2020: West Norfolk

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Glamis Ghouls, Angus and Dundee

With its position in literature and its imposing skyline, it is little wonder that Glamis Castle harbours some dark macabre secrets, the likes of which could chill even the diabolical Lady MacBeth.
Just five miles from Forfar , Angus, Glamis Castle is a beautiful location – we’ll give it that. Available for wedding hire, the castle’s gardens and opulent suites are fit for royalty. It is the seat of Bowes Lyon family, dating back to 1372 when King Robert The Bruce awarded them it. Now owned by the Earls Of Strathmore – Strathmore mineral water bears the castle’s image on the bottle – it was where the Queen Mother spent her childhood. So too Princess Margaret . It’s also one of the most haunted buildings in the United Kingdom.
Sure, the Queen Mum grew up there, toddling about the palatial beat; to the manor born, as it were. But its most famous resident is a more mysterious lady, known as the Grey Lady, and said to be the restless spirit of Lady Janet Douglas. Lady Douglas was burned at the stake, as was the fashion for those they called witches in the rather unenlightened times of the 16th Century. Apparently she favours the clock tower, so do keep an eye out for her.
Another embattled woman to haunt the castle grounds is a woman with no tongue – what Morecambe and Wise would have made with this detail would be worth hearing. Nobody knows who she is, but word has it she keeps herself to herself. More disquieting still is the secret chamber; the scene of a demonic card game with the devil himself.
It concerned one of Glamis most controversial figures, Earl Beardie. This guy was a cad, morally decrepit, a vagabond and fond of the drink. It is said he lost his soul playing cards with the devil, a penance for playing on the Sabbath. Beardie’s fate – apart from being soulless, which a whole host of cabinet ministers could relate to – was to be stuck in a walled-up room, playing gin rummy till the end of time. Though, rather conveniently, he has been known to have a wonder and terrify sleeping children. See, we told you he was trouble
The stories of Glamis’ secret room are enduring. One fantastic story, which seems to have been cribbed somewhat in Spanish horror film ‘The Orphanage’, is that the secret room contains the son of the 11th Earl of Strathmore, a poor mite, severely disfigured, who was left to an eternal purgatory in this secret room.
When you factor in visitations from ghosts of servants past, mysterious individuals in chain mail and goodness knows what else, Glamis Castle is really terrifying. Just try not to have too much cheese before bedtime, and should all else fail, pull the duvet up over your head. Works every time.

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