The Monster of Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle, located in the town by the same name Scotland’s county of Angus, has long been associated with tales of the supernatural. Tales of ghosts, witches, and even the Devil himself are wrapped up in the history of this 15th century castle, which was once home to Queen Elizabeth II’s mother.

The Earls of Strathmore have called Glamis home since the 14th century, and it is one of their line who has inspired the castle’s most frightening story. It is said that the castle has a secret room that imprisons a beast, known as the Monster of Glamis.

upload.wikimedia.org
upload.wikimedia.org

On October 21, 1821, the wife of the future 12th Earl of Strathmore gave birth to a son. Records state that the boy was named Thomas, but that he died the same day he was born. Legends state that this child did not die, but that he was born so deformed that just looking at him could make someone go crazy.

If the legends are true, this poor child was locked away in a hidden room. No one thought he would live long, but he grew to manhood and became known as “the Monster.” The Earls themselves were the only family members to know of the secret, and they passed the knowledge down from father to son. Only one servant was allowed to know of his existence, and this servant was responsible for feeding him through a hole in the door to cell. He would also take the Monster on walks, but only on the darkest of nights, when the moon did not shed any light on the grounds of the estate. The battlements that he is said to have walked are still known as the “Mad Earl’s Walk” today.

Despite these intense efforts to keep the Monster’s existence a secret, it is said that a stonemason accidentally discovered the hidden room while performing maintenance work on the castle. This was considered such an emergency that the Earl was called back to Glamis by telegraph message. The Earl then supposedly paid off the mason, who subsequently emigrated to Australia.

Is this story true, or is it just a modern legend? There is no substantiated documentary evidence for Thomas’ existence beyond the day of his birth and supposed death, so he probably did die due to his deformities. The man responsible for writing about the legend and making it publicly known was well-known for his fictitious ghost stories, though he claimed to be a historian when he published the story of the Monster. Given the ability of castles and old houses to inspire ghost stories and legends, it would not be surprising to find out that the Monster of Glamis is nothing but another invented tale. Since everyone connected with the story’s origins is now dead, we may never know if such a tragic figure really existed.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Weird Food of the Middle Ages

    People often like to romanticize the Middle Ages, imagining it as a time of knights and princesses, all dressed in elaborate medieval garb. Some even dream about going back in time to experience life during that time, and renaissance fairs and a popular dinner show have capitalized quite well on this obsession. But many people...

    Read More
  • Witches and Alewives: The Historical Connection

    From The Wizard of Oz to Halloween costumes, the archetypal image of a scary witch typically includes a tall, pointy hat, a cauldron, and a broom, among other accessories. But where did this popular conception arise? Many would be surprised to learn that our idea of what a witch looks like is based on the...

    Read More
  • America’s Secret Female President

    Edith Bolling Galt Wilson seemed an unlikely prospect for running one of the most powerful countries in the world. The second wife of President Woodrow Wilson was born in 1872 to a very poor family from the mountains of Virginia. Though she was given a chance to go to college, she dropped out because her...

    Read More
  • The Reality Behind the Legend of the Golden Fleece

    If you are familiar at all with Greek mythology, you have probably heard about the legend of the Golden Fleece. In this story, Jason (a Greek mythological hero) gathered a group of fellow-heroes together. This group became known as the Argonauts because their ship was named Argo, and Jason was their leader. The purpose of...

    Read More
  • Aaron Burr: Would-Be King

    Aaron Burr, one of the United States’ founding fathers and its one-time Vice President, has generally gone down in history as a bad guy because of the duel in which he killed Alexander Hamilton, America’s first Secretary of the Treasury. But for some reason, most people don’t know anything about another chapter in his life...

    Read More
  • Ancient Crocodile Species Identified

    A research team made up of paleontologists from Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Texas has identified a previously unknown species of prehistoric crocodile. The ancient reptile fossils were found in Arlington, Texas, a busy city located right in the middle of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area. The massive crocodile, which could reach lengths of up to 20...

    Read More
  • The Murder and Lynching that Changed America

    April 26, 1913 was supposed to have been a good day for 13-year-old Mary Phagan. It was Confederate Memorial Day in Atlanta, Georgia, where she lived. She was off for the day from her job at the National Pencil Company. Her plans included stopping by work to pick up her pay and then joining family...

    Read More
  • Female Viking Warrior Grave Identified

    In the 1880s, a Viking grave was excavated in the town of Birka in Sweden. It was obviously the grave of a warrior because it was filled with grave goods signifying as much. Along with weapons, like an axe, arrows, shields, a battle knife, a spear, and a sword, two war horses were also found...

    Read More