Hello Ronda! I am so excited to be here today while we talk a little bit about my current release, Spirit of the Knight—and share with you and your readers, one of my favorite ghost stories from Scotland. I think the reason I favor this story is because it bears a bit of resemblance to one of my favorite ghost movies of all time…High Spirits. Do keep in mind that High Spirits is a comedy. This ghostly legend is far from it.
Now, the tale has its origins within the walls of Baldoon Castle when the structure stood proud and tall. For a bit of background, what remains of this ivy-covered castle is nestled just outside of Bladnoch in the County of Wigtown. In the year 1455, James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas, forfeited the castle to the crown after coming out in open rebellion against King James II. Then, in 1553, the castle passed into the hands of the Dunbars of Westfield and remained a possession of the family until about 1800. This particular story centers upon David Dunbar, the heir of Sir David Dunbar.
Even though very little is left of this once grand structure, a portion of its past remains in the form of the tragic—perhaps even insane—ghost of Janet Dalrymple, eldest daughter of Sir James Dalrymple.
You see, Janet had fallen in love with a man named Archibald, the third Lord of Rutherford and according to legend, she had secretly agreed to marry him. However, her parents dismissed the penniless Archibald outright, in favor of the more wealthy Dunbars, and in order to facilitate an alliance, they arranged a wedding between Janet and David.
Devastated and heart-broken, Janet shared this news with her beloved Archibald. Soon thereafter, on a hot summer day in 1669, Janet’s two brothers escorted her to the kirk of Old Luce, located two miles from Carsecleugh Castle, which then served as the home of the Dalrymples. Her brothers would later report that despite the heat of the summer day, Janet’s hands were cold as ice. The wedding went off without a hitch, yet the honeymoon night ended in disaster.
Several different stories emerged from the whispers that abounded after the blood-curdling shrieks and moans coming from behind the bridal chamber door demanded investigation. Once the concerned party broke into the room, they found the bloodied groom, stretched out and unconscious, very near the threshold of the door. A quick search revealed the bride, also covered in blood with wounds of her own, cowering in a corner.
David’s kinfolk placed the blame for the melee on Janet. The say her disappointment over the forced marriage, and the loss of her true love, caused her to lose her mind. As a result, she viciously attacked her husband. Some claimed that Archibald, seeking vengeance, hid in the bridal chamber and waited for the hapless groom.
Once David entered, he sprung into action. After stabbing his intended victim, he made his escape through the window, ran into the garden, and fled under the cover of night. This story doesn’t explain Janet’s wounds, however. A final version of this story labels David as the one suffering from insanity, and it was he that attacked Janet. Such a version might be plausible if the bride refused the advances of her husband, or admitted loving another.
No one will ever truly know what happened inside that bridal chamber on that fateful night. Though David recovered from his wounds and eventually married again, he refused to speak of the incident. Janet didn’t fare so well. She died September 12, 1669. Between the date of her marriage and her subsequent death, she never uttered a single word as to the events that took place that evening either.
After her death, the ghostly sightings began to be reported and they continue to this day. Over the centuries, various people have claimed to see Janet sadly drifting about the castle in the wee hours of the morning, covered in blood, wearing the nightgown she wore on her wedding night. Although one might encounter Janet’s spirit at any given time, you will most likely find her–if you are so inclined–on the anniversary of her death.
If you see her, tell her hello from me…
She fell deeply in love with him in the early days of her childhood. And in return, she captured his heart the moment he first cast his gaze upon her…
Renowned artist, Mariah Jennings hired to paint a thirteenth-century Scottish castle, gets the shock of her life when she encounters the handsome knight who has dominated a lifetime of portraits and sketchbooks.
But Sir Cailen Braithnoch is no ordinary ghost, nor did he suffer an ordinary death. Magic of the blackest kind cast a pall over the knights centuries ago. As the ghost and his lady seek to unravel the paradox surrounding his death, black arts, otherworldly forces, and a jealous rival conspire against them.
Will those forces tear them apart, or is their love destined to last throughout the ages?
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“You’re goin’ to acknowledge my presence now, aye? ’Twould be discourteous to do otherwise, Murriah Jennins, after our eyes met not once, but twice.”
Mariah’s hand flew to her mouth. She choked on a breath and stared. After swallowing past the knot in her throat, she shook her head slightly and stepped back. In so doing, she tripped over her own foot and collided with the turret wall. The impact made her lose her balance, and at once she fell backward. In the same instant, her knight wrapped a hand around her wrist and gently tugged her forward. He held onto her hand until she regained her footing.
“Watch your step now. We cannae have ye tumblin’ over th’ side of th’ castle,” he said.
She ignored his comment as well as his concern, for, most assuredly, neither of them existed. “No, you can’t be real. Such a thing just isn’t possible,” she murmured aloud.
Despite the rationale of her statement, her gaze remained fixed on the solid image that stood so close she could touch it without effort. Her fabricated vision folded his well-muscled arms against his chest, and tossed her a lopsided grin.
“That depends upon what ye mean by real. If you’re speakin’ of a man made of flesh, then no,” he replied. “Despite th’ lack, th’ rest of me is real enough, I assure ye.”
Mariah squeezed her eyes shut. The moment she opened them again, he’d be gone. Her imagination, as one might expect in an ancient castle, simply worked overtime. Especially after her earlier conversation with Evan. She licked the bottom of her dry lips, and then peeked up through her lashes.
Debbie has always had a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, and happily ever after endings. Stories of love and make believe filled her head for as long as she can remember. However, it was her beloved husband who encouraged, cajoled and inspired her to take up a pen and write some of them down. Her journey to published author could fill quite a few pages. However, in June of 2010, she submitted her debut novel “Spirit of the Rebellion” to her wonderful, patient, editor at The Wild Rose Press and the rest is history. She now has five published novels to her credit.
When she is not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family, within the lovely, arid deserts of southern Nevada. She also pursues her interests in family history, mythology, and all things ancient and historic.
Debbie will be awarding one Art print, inspired by the novel, and signed by the artist and an ebook copy of Van Locken’s Witch and Shadow of the Witte Wieven (books one and two in the Wieven series to one randomly drawn commentator at the end of the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found at the following link below:
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