Saturday, 14 November 2015
The Boring Ghost of Balnabreich
It's always a disappointment when you come across a nice little ghost story in an unexpected place and get ready to be at least mildly chilled or entertained by it, then when you read on, it turns out the said haunting is, well, a bit dull. What is the point of a haunting that does not scare or even intrigue? A boring, supposedly 'real' ghost is so much more of a let down than a promising 'fake' ghost. Of course supposedly real ghost stories are products of the age in which they are recorded. Anyone reading Catherine Crowe's Victorian classic The Night Side of Nature will be struck by how sanctimonious and morally upstanding her visitants from the Night Side turn out to be. Why should immortal spirits observe the stringent social conditions of the era they inhabit? Who knows. All that being said as a warning, I now present you with the [Boring] Ghost of Balnabreich, near Careston. This particular White Lady said not a word to anyone she met and her area of haunting was the wooded glen of Balnabreich (once known colloquially as Bonnybreich). No one has recorded this silent lady's history, but her presence certainly didn't strike fear into the hearts of anyone who saw her. Her only know reaction to those who saw her was wagging her long, thin white fingers reproachfully at lassies who were out cavorting, or even just walking, in the woods with young men. This terrifying gesture was sufficient, back in the day, to send the rebellious young besoms scurrying back home. The truly terrifying White Wife of Balnabreich was first brought to the attention of the public by the correspondent known as 'Auld Eppie' in the Brechin Advertiser. The author David Herschell Edwards found the tale so scintillating that he included it in his book Around the Ancient City (1887).