Tag Archives: ghosts

Ghostly Happenings at a 12th Century Scottish Abbey

Ghostly Happenings at a 12th Century Scottish Abbey

After my father died, my mother and I went on several trips together, but the best one of all was a nine-week trip through Great Britain, where we rented a car and drove the back roads from Chester to Findhorn and Wales to Canterbury. Since my mother was an avid reader and I was a reformed English teacher, I made it a literary tour of Britain, taking extra care to go to the settings of favorite books as well as the homes of many of England’s most famous writers. I took the books of many of these writers along so if my mother had not read them, she could read them in preparation of our visits. 

In addition to this literary research and preparation, I took special care to book us into a variety of different lodgings, from the best London hotels to rooms over pubs, inns set up in homes, castles, and even two lodgings alleged to be haunted. One was a hotel in the Cotswalds and the other an 12th century abbey near Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland. It is this second “haunted” place that I am going to tell you about.

The abbey, built in the early 1100’s, became a refuge for priests hiding out during the Jacobite uprising of the 1700’s.  Later in its history, it became a hotel named the Lord Crewe Arms. One room, which overlooked the cemetery, still housed a “priest hole” that had hidden priests during the uprising and which was said to be haunted.  

When my mother and I read about this room in a brochure we picked up in the hotel lobby as we checked in, we asked to sleep in this room, but alas, it had been procured for a bride and groom on their honeymoon. When we learned it was not booked for the next night, however, we decided to stay an extra night so we could sleep in it.

We spent the second day of our stay by returning to Hadrian’s Wall and then retired to the pub where various locals regaled us with tales and helped to stir our already vivid imaginations over a night’s stay in a haunted room by telling us of the sacking of the abbey, various sightings of the ghost and other local stories.  About 10 p.m., we retired to our room. 

Determined to see the ghost, my mother remained awake as long as she could, but then surrendered to sleep. I, on the other hand, could not sleep. I lay reading in bed, then switched off the lights and fine-tuned my ears to detect any movement, spectral or otherwise. At one point I opened my eyes to see a flash of light on the drapes next to the uncovered windows and moved to the window. The moon was fully up, reflecting off the gravestones down below.

I stood gazing at the unnatural plays of light that seemed to be emanating from behind some of the gravestones, and then I saw it—a flicker of white from behind one of the gravestones! Then another from a grave a few dozen feet away from the first. Then I saw a white figure dash out from behind one gravestone to duck behind another. Then another and another. Then, a few hoots and hollers that revealed to me the practical joke that some of our new friends from the pub had decided to play on the visiting Yanks. We had told them we were staying in the haunted room and obviously, they wanted to make our stay a success and up to our expectations.

I returned to the big double bed I was sharing with my mother, turned over and tried to sleep. Her soft breathing assured me she was already fast asleep, and yet I could feel something sit down at the foot of my bed. I turned on the light. Nothing. My imagination. I pulled out the sheets at the foot of the bed. It was a particular irritation to me to have anything pulling down on my toes, and the sheets had been tucked in tightly. Turning off the light once again, I got into bed and willed myself to sleep.

As I had just started to drift off when again, I felt a light pressure at the bottom of the bed, as though someone was tucking the sheet in. My imagination. I wiggled my feet and raised the sheets with my knees, trying to finagle some more space for my toes. Closed my eyes. Did I remain awake or was it in sleep that I continued to feel the tucking movement, the tightening of the blanket and sheet, a slight pressure as though someone was sitting at the foot of the bed?

The next morning, when we checked out, the clerk asked about our evening. My mother assured them we had felt no disturbance, but, curious, I had to ask why it was called a haunted room and what experiences others had had in the room. The clerk then told me the story of the priest hole used to hide priests, the sacking of the abbey, and what stories the maids in the hotel had told of making the beds and returning to find them pulled apart and the sheets in disarray or on the floor. Of guests who told of unseen presences sitting on the foot of the bed or tucking in the sheets.

Coincidence? Overactive imagination? Who ever knows with ghosts? But this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Here is more of the story of the Lord Crewe Arms, the hotel that is now operating in part of the Abbey. A bit of history of the Blanchland Abbey from Wikipedia: https://www.spookyisles.com/beware-lord-crewe-arms-hotel-and-its-classic-ghostly-monk-haunting/

Blanchland Abbey at Blanchland, in the English county of Northumberland, was founded as a premonstratensian priory in 1165 by Walter de Bolbec II, and was a daughter house of Croxton Abbey in Leicestershire. It became an abbey in the late 13th century. The 16th century former Abbot’s house (now The Lord Crewe Arms Hotel) is a Grade II* listed building and the whole site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The abbey granges were pillaged during the Anglo-Scots wars, in particular during 1327, but the abbey itself was apparently left unscathed. There is however a legend that during one raid in the area, the monks prayed that the abbey would be spared. Subsequently, a mist descended which shielded the valley and monastery from view and was overlooked by the Scottish raiders, who passed by. The foolish monks upon hearing this, proceeded to ring the abbey bells to signal to every one in the valley that it was safe, that the invaders had passed. During their celebration of bell ringing, the Scottish invaders heard the bells, turned around and ransacked the Monastery.


(Go to Wikipedia for more of its story.)


Spirits in Mexico

Matt wants us to tell him a personal ghost story, and since I have a few of them, this is going to be a bonanza. Two (including the one below) I’ve told before in years past, but the third and upcoming one will be new to this blog.

Spirits in Mexico

Yolanda claims Grimmer’s ghost was here the morning she died and that it rang the bell over the door and when she and Pasiano went to see who it was, there was no one there.  Yolanda said her spirit rang the bell and walked out the door to go for a walk… That is what spirits do in Mexico.

Then I remembered 15 years ago when my neighbor Celia said she had seen my husband’s ghost walk up the steps to her house in a blue flame. Why didn’t she tell me at the time, I asked, and she replied that she hadn’t wanted to upset me.

I asked Yolanda if she remembered the time she stood with her arms out and wouldn’t let Grimmer go out the door until she let her press her very wrinkled shorts. We decided maybe this time Grimmer had escaped Yolanda’s exacting standards

Later on Monday, when I had spent hours looking for my credit card, Yolanda suggested I light a candle for the little triptych of San Antonio that I bought at the feria this year. (San Antonio is the finder of lost objects.)  I did so and the candle burned away completely to nothing, yet I never found my credit card.

If not the spirits themselves, at least the thoughts of spirits have been with us this week.


Ghoulish Stew

The neighbor’s goulash party was a yearly hit,
but as the new guy on the block, he’d never been to it.
And though he was a clothes horse—stylish, svelt and cool,
he wasn’t very good at spelling, as a rule.

So when he was invited for a goulash blast,
he didn’t know the party was for a mere repast.
Now here he was, dressed in his sheet, feeling pretty foolish
when no other party-goers showed up looking ghoulish.



The prompt today was ghoulish.

Potion: JNW’s Halloween Prompt, Oct. 20, 2017

Is this just a ploy to get us to taste their magical potion?  Hot potato and leek soup sounds irresistible. Dare we chance it?



For Jennifer’s Halloween Prompt.

Boo!: JNW’s Halloween Challenge, Oct. 10, 2016



These creatures come right at you.  Run!!! (You have to wind them up first, though.) Have you ever seen a ghost with vampire teeth before?


Hitchhiking Ghost: JNW’s Halloween Challenge, Ghost


We almost stopped to pick up this hitchhiking apparition, but my driver lost his nerve at the last minute.  I was looking forward to the ghost stories, but oh, well.  Perhaps it got a ride with a sheetmetal truck or a sghoulbus!

Addendum:  Since posting this photo, all sorts of strange things have been happening.  First of all, after I put it on my desktop, when I tried to access it to reduce the size and use the color edit tool, I was told I didn’t have permission to view it and had to go through all sorts of rituals including rebooting to be get access.

Then, once in my media file and on my posted blog, suddenly WP would  let me view my post in edit mode only, and the permalink didn’t work.  Eventually, I got access to the URL by viewing it in Reader and copying the URL to send Jennifer a pingback.

Now I am sure that we did indeed pick up this hitchhiker who is residing in my MacBook Air.  I am hoping on November 2, she will again be on her way—doomed to wander the backroads of this world forever.  Don’t you love her shoulder pads and tiara???

JNW’s Halloween Challenge



My internet which has been out since yesterday just came back on and since I have an appointment in 25 minutes in Ajijic, I need to leave; so since I have just discovered the prompt word today is “Ghost,” I think it would be appropriate to reblog this blog about Dia de los Muertos in Ajijic last year.  Mary, this one is for you.. It tells the story you wanted to hear.  Please click on the below URL to see the tale and and photos that illustrate it: