Archive for March, 2015

The Haunted Tower of St Andrews Cathedral

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 21, 2015 by gstewartauthor

As part of the research for my new book ‘Supernatural St Andrews’, one of the key things I wanted to do was to gather as many photographs as I could to allow the reader the be able to visualise the locations behind the stories. A picture is worth one thousand words, as they say. Unfortunately repairs have been ongoing at one of the key sites, the Haunted Tower, home of the infamous White Lady of the cathedral, and where a secret chamber was discovered containing coffins with well preserved bodies, giving the appearance they had just been buried, despite the fact that in the two hundred years of earlier records available, there was no mention of the tower ever being used for burials. A request for the fencing around the tower to be removed to allow me to take a photograph was granted, although one section had to be left due to shuttering around a tombstone making it difficult to move.


While seeking permission, I also asked if I could view inside the tower, which is kept locked and is not open to the public and, after some form filling, Historic Scotland said yes! The chambers inside are far smaller than I ever thought they would be, and it is difficult to see how up to twelve coffins could have fitted inside, but I am reliably informed they were placed in a standing position lining the walls. In such a small, cramped space it was also difficult to take decent photographs, but I managed to get a couple, with the one below being the alcove that Dean W.T. Linskill, the recognised authority of his time in local ghostlore and author of the 1911 book ‘Haunted St Andrews’, stacked the coffins after he had the crypt, which had been bricked up, opened in the late 1800’s.


The coffins, which had been found to be empty at that time, had started to disintegrate. What happened to the bodies in the twenty years that had passed since the chamber was last opened remains a mystery. Despite the difficulties their size caused, I really did feel quite privileged to stand in these tiny chambers, where so few have ever stood before me and where so much mystery still lies, to experience the atmosphere for myself. The full story of the tower will be in Supernatural St Andrews, available for pre-order very soon.


The Hidden Statue

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2015 by gstewartauthor

It took me a while and guidance from someone familiar with the estate, but finally I found the statue of a mother and baby, hidden in the gardens of a country mansion house. To give readers an idea of the scale of the task, the garden grounds included lakes and a miniature island village (now sold to form a country park for the public) and 330 acres that were recently sold to create a golf course, and there is still a fair bit of land left! The statue itself was already placed deep in the foliage of the garden and, having been abandoned over ten years ago, it is only accessible by ripping yourself apart pushing your way through thorn bushes, but it was worth the effort.


So what’s so special about this statue? The answer to this lies in the mystery surrounding it. The garden was extensively decorated with statues, but this one was not in a prominent position. Why? The story is that one of the senior males in the house got one of the maids pregnant. Fearful that his wife would find out, he hid the pregnancy and spurned his lover. Unable to deal with the rejection, when the baby was born the maid threw herself from the roof of the house, with the baby in her arms. An alternative version tells that the father had the baby disposed off, leading the maid to take her own life. Full of remorse, the father had the statue made of his love and their child, and hid it in the garden where no one would know where it was so he could spend quiet time contemplating what might have been if he had acted differently. The story however does not end there. His wife found the statue and the story came out. She allowed the statue to remain but had the stonemason make some alterations.


Hoofed feet were added to the baby to represent the fact it was born out of sin. The ghost of the mother can still be seen and heard wandering through the house and gardens, searching for her baby.

While this may be folklore, and some suggest the statue is the goddess Penelope with her son, Pan, the story has persisted through the years. An anonymous historian once stated ‘truth is in folklore, you’ll not find lies carried down the years’, so just maybe there is truth in the tale of the married man and his jilted mistress.