North of Tayside is Glamis Castle, in Angus, ancestral home of the Bowes-Lyons or Earls of Strathmore, as well as the Queen Mother (Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon) and hence, the current Windsor Royals. It's also the birthplace of Princess Margaret. Glamis (pronouned "glahms") is surrounded by a variety of eerie and disturbing legends, ranging from many bloody, ghostly hauntings (including by the historical Macbeth, and a tongueless woman with a bleeding mouth), a female vampire who shows up from time to time, and a strange creature with thin arms and legs and a beast-like head, described by one percipient as "a hellish combination of all things foul and animal." This young lady, sleeping in a "haunted tower room" in the castle in the 19th century, was awakened by the strange apparition or creature, which vanished when someone else rattled the bolt on the door before entering the room. Was an underworld or non-human rapist interrupted or frightened away?

But these are not the greatest terrors of Glamis, which has a horrific secret tradition. For centuries, there have been rumors of the periodic births of 'half-human' or otherwise deformed 'monsters' at Glamis Castle, and their imprisonment, for life, in some of the secret chambers which allegedly exist in the structure. The most recent such birth is said to have occurred in 1800, and the deformed heir to the Bowes-Lyon line was described as having "a huge, egg-like body" (shades of Humpty Dumpty!) and stunted or stubby limbs. He has also been described as being "neckless," and extremely hirsute or hairy. Others have insisted that he was merely mongoloid (suffering from "Down's Syndrome"). The tradition also maintains that he was still immensely strong and inordinately evil, and had to be locked away from the rest of the family in secret, for both his safety and theirs. He allegedly did not die until the year 1921, meaning that he lived for 120 years in nearly-complete secrecy! This negates any rumors of Downs Syndrome, as those who are stricken with this unfortunate condition have generally not been known to last into old age.

Supposedly, during the hidden heir's lifetime, each successive Earl of Strathmore was told of his secret existence when they reached the age of twenty-one, and shown the "rightful" heir.

One tale has it that the first Lord of Glamis, after gambling with the devil (or an underworld being of some sort) at cards on the Sabbath, brought down a curse upon future generations of his line. Could it be that the stakes of the card-game were actually more than just his soul, and that he and his were cursed to make payment in genetic exchange, down through the centuries? Could it be that the genetics of families which tend to be somewhat interbred or interrelated, whether isolated by geography, or of 'noble' lineage, are nurtured by unseen manipulators for certain, desired genetic traits?

There is a family secret surrounding tales of the Glamis 'monster,' which is said to be told only to each male heir of the Bowes-Lyon family when he attains majority (reaches the age of 21). At one time this supposedly dealt with keeping the deformed, rightful heir locked away and his existence concealed, even from his own family (supposedly, only four men at a time were allowed access to his cell, and knew of his existence, one of these being the family "factor" or steward, and one the attorney). This was first told by the second Lord of Halifax, who heard it from the 13th Earl of Strathmore himself. This 'dread ancestral secret' may have also dealt with the family tradition, or curse, of having an occasional birth of a less- or other-than-human child born to the clan. There is said to also be a secret concerning a "vampire-like" or blood-lusting being which is periodically born within the family. All of this raises the obvious question: What is the source of this perhaps-repeating genetic anomaly? Could it have anything to do with strange nocturnal things, male or female, which creep into sleepers' rooms by night? Or was there, in the distant or recent past, a willing liaison now and again, with the "unseen rulers of this world," mentioned in the Book of Ephesians, representatives of the gnome, troll, fairy, elemental or reptilian races which preceded man on this planet?

It should be noted that upon several occasions, different 'factors' of the family, trapped at the castle by either snow-storm or other inclement weather, have refused to stay on the grounds, out of apparent terror based upon the secret knowledge to which they were privy….Another story (All the Year Round Magazine, 1880) states that, during the lifetime of the monstrous heir, a workman accidentally discovered his chamber, and was "persuaded to immigrate to Australia (leave the country and keep his mouth shut?)." Another version states that a stonemason accidentally broke into the chamber, and "died of shock" (did he actually meet his end at the hands of whatever was in the room?). His wife was paid off and packed off to Australia so that she wouldn't ask questions.

As for the unfortunate, deformed and hidden Earl…He is rumored to have been sealed inside his secret room after death, where his remains rest in secret to this day, his restless spirit joining the many others which have been reported by witnesses at Glamis, through the centuries. To add another clue to the mystery, and credence to the periodic 'strange births,' there is said to be a family-type portrait in the drawing-room, which depicts an earlier Earl of Strathmore, his two sons, and a horribly deformed and unsightly dwarf whom no one can (or will?) identify...

Additional legends about Glamis involve a giant ghost (thought to be the ghost of the card-playing first Earl, "Beardie"), a ghost with "long, hairy arms," and the local folk belief that "monsters" are still born into the family upon occasion, or there is still one, hidden on the premises, who has never died.

The Glaukidai A Myth of the Blue Men




[Enigmatic toon-series starring Tony Blair, both Georges, myself and my wife]