A Scottish haunting


The Scottish twilight comes late in the summer, the sun refuses to set until 10pm. My American brain couldn’t make the rapid change to daylight 18 hours a day, so I spent many hours combing the village of Whithorn where I had signed on to dig up a medieval priory ruin. On this night I enjoyed a rare moment out of the rain, I seemed to be growing webs between my feet. I hopped down into the pit and carefully picked my way to the safe spots so as not to disturb the bones poking out of the soil. Darkness was settling, however, so I communed with work a bit more and started to head back. As I did, I detoured into the priory’s graveyard. Hundreds of years of residents made the small space crowded, their plots busy with multiple bones.

I had been through here many times before but this night the wind seemed different, it went still and quiet as I randomly wove through the tombstones. As I paused near my favorite, a waist-tall stone whose owner had passed in 1603, I noticed a glow coming from a site nearby. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe as the glow floating by condensed into a bright shadow of a figure. I could make out the shape of a man, small and bent, his head down as he passed me. I must’ve made a sound because he stopped close by and began to raise his head. By now the darkness had come and it was consuming, I stepped back and bumped into the stone and could move no further. He raised a face smooth but old, his eyes absent. I watched as it floated across the stones to one in particular, the same shape as his but with imprints of flowers. He hovered over it for a moment and disappeared as the wind sighed in the trees above us.

Naturally I couldn’t let this pass, I checked both tombstones. The first had a carving of a satyr dancing with a skeleton, the inscription on the back read “Joseph MacInnes, 1645-1704”, the second had flowers curling over its small face, surrounding the words, “Mary MacInnes, 1650-1679.” I returned the next night bringing friends but no appearance came from our boy Joseph, now I only felt the heaviness of the oncoming rain and the force of the wind on my face. Joseph apparently likes only nice weather for courting.

1 comment:

Peggy said...

I confess I love old graveyards. There is something compelling about the carving on old tombstones. I haven't seen any ghosts, though.