The Monster of Glamis Castle, Angus and Dundee
Many houses and castles in Britain lay claim to being the most haunted in these isles; among the contenders is Glamis Castle, ancestral home of the Bowes-Lyon family, until 2002 the beloved home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. But it is not for a ghost story that Glamis is most celebrated by lovers of the macabre; rather it is the supposedly true tale of The Monster of Glamis.
Legend has it that in 1821 Thomas, a son and heir to the family fortune, was born in Glamis; but he was so terribly deformed – neckless, hairy, his limbs mere stubs projecting from a globular body - that the family, having had him christened, announced his demise and from then to Thomas’s actual death kept him hidden from view in a secret room said to have been accessed via the chapel. Some versions of the story have the poor creature exercised on moonless nights around the battlements; and fed through an iron grill by a single trusted servant. Each succeeding generation of the Bowes-Lyon family was apprised of the existence of ‘the monster’, the heir told the truth on the eve of his coming-of-age.
Thomas was allegedly ‘discovered’ by a workman in the 1870s, this workman being silenced with a huge bribe and made to emigrate. He is said to have lived into the 20th century, perhaps like the Queen Mother reaching his hundredth year and beyond. It is a horrible thought that the tale may well be true; that a poor disabled soul was kept caged for many decades to avoid embarrassment for his noble family.
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