Sections


Rob Roy MacGregor Campbell
The '45
Extracts of Statistics from the Annexed Estates for Western Strathearn (1755-56)
The Reports of the Annexed Estates (1755-69)
A Tour of Scotland - Thomas Pennant (1769)
Seismic Activity (1789)
Account of 1791-99 vol-11 - Comrie, County of Perth
Archibald MacNab (1734-1816)
Henry Dundas (1742-1811)
Sir David Baird of Seringapatam (1757-1829)
Companion and Useful Guide to the Beauties of Scotland – Sarah Murray (1799)
Roman Camp, Dalginross – October (1800)
Flash from the Caledonian Mercury – September (1814)
I've a Boat to Catch (1818)
A Picture of Strathearn - John Brown (1823)
St Fillan’s Highland Society (1827)
Letters from the Distant Past (1831 - 1859)
Comrie, St Fillans and Monivard (1837)
Statistical Account: Parish of Comrie (1838)
The Glen Lednock Census (1841)
The Queen’s Visit (1842)
The Road to Comrie (1857)
For the Sake of Nelly Fergus (1860)
From an Unknown Guidebook-circa (1892)
Comrie (1895)
Tales of Derring Do
Soldier, Soldier, won’t you marry me wi’…
The Adventures of Paddy or Highland Peter
Ghoulie Tales
A Serious Business
Mail Order Bride
The Man with the Powerful Voice
Double Entry bookkeeping
Hey, Gie’s ma Haun…or Murder Most Foul
Kate Mackenzie's Terrible Deeds
Watty and Meg Drummond
The Fencibles
Deacon Reid
Amazing Grace
The Day of the Penny Wedding
The MacArthur's were there before the Hills
The Beggar's Badge
A Pane by any other name can be a Pain!
The Powder Keg
The Coo didnae hae ony Teeth!
The Green Lady of Glen Lednock
The Queen of Tynasithe
The Great Wall of Comrie
Whisky, You're the Devil
A Wee Rumble
A Whale of a Time
An Encounter of the Third Kind
Another Debate
Bosom Pals
Getting Stoned in Comrie
Hanging about Comrie
It's Whisky in the Jar
Picking Other Folks' Brains
Porridge for Breakfast
Tarred and Buttered
Temperance
The Convert
The Debate
The Schism
The Levitation
The Twa' Brithers
There’s a Hare in my Soup
Yer bum's oot the Window

18th & 19th Century

The Debate

In the 1870,s a meeting was held in the Blairnroar schoolroom where two of the invited speakers were the Reverend Mr. Swan of the United Presbyterian Church and the Reverend Mr. Carment of the Free Church. They had been asked to address the subjects of “Chemistry” which Mr. Swan handled and Mr. Carment spoke on “Superstition.” Essentially it was a good natured debate on the concepts of nature vs. nurture, fact vs. fiction, real vs. surreal, with the undertone centred on Science versus Religion.

Mr. Swan fielded his rather dry subject well as it is not easy to become passionate about Chemistry however this was not the case from Mr. Carment who, in full-throated cry, went after Superstition with a vengeance. He ridiculed those who believed in witchcraft, lucky and unlucky days, the groaning of furniture in the middle of the night when many thought the chair was a manifestation of the departed and others.

After their dissertations questions from the floor were invited and this elicited much from the assembly. To close off the evening each was allowed a segment of final comment and as Mr. Swan was the first speaker he was allowed also to be the last. In agreeing with much that Mr. Carment had espoused, he thought many would like to hear of a personal tale about the inexplicable. He recounted that when a young man he had been engaged as an assistant teacher at Limekilns on the Firth of Forth and he was studying hard in order to prepare himself for the harsh academic vigour required to secure a place at college.

He was lodging in a boarding house with three ladies and his room, which served as both a sitting and bedroom, was upstairs. Retiring late one evening he undressed and went to bed snuffing out the candle. There was a fire on in the room which cast some light and a warm rosy glow from its embers. On lying down in his bed he turned to face the window when he saw a man outside dressed as a seaman. He looked at the man wondering how on earth he was there but in a jiffy the man came straight through the window and came towards his bedside. Frightened, he pulled the bedclothes over his head but the apparition came on and punched him in the arm. He immediately sprang up and struck the apparition with his fist but the blow went right through the spectre. The spectre then bowed to him and disappeared. As one can imagine this experience caused a miserable, sleepless night and much harrowing thought...possibly working too hard, over studying, too much concentration on the books, etc.

The following day he went to his school and afterwards met one of his friends whom he invited for tea. That evening he described the previous night’s event and his friend listened carefully. In describing the apparition his friend thought it sounded like a sea captain whom he knew named Samuel McDiarmid and whom, in his old age had lived and died in the boarding house in the very same room they were sitting in and in the very same bed. This disquieting news did nothing to alleviate Mr. Swan’s feelings of anxiety and he decided to accompany his friend for a while after he left the lodging house. After parting he walked around for a couple of hours hoping that when he returned to his digs he would quickly fall asleep and that would be the end of the matter. On his return he quickly changed in to his night attire and dived in to bed however this time he did not face the window. It didn’t really matter because before he was settled in the apparition appeared again this time stamping across the floor. Pulling the bed covers over his head he keeked out with one eye to see the ghost approach close to his ear and shouted in a loud voice, “Swan.” At once he sprang up but the ghost just laughed at him and promptly disappeared.

During the next day he went to see his doctor and told him of these occurrences and the doctor advised him to leave the lodging at once and he resolved to do this, however, as it was late in the day when he had seen the doctor, he decided to spend one final night in the room. Again he prepared for bed only this time he heard a knock at the door just after he had gone to bed and on rising and answering the door found himself face to face with the old sea captain who this time ran down the stairs. Fearing for his sanity he left the lodging house the next day feeling very rattled and returned home for a period of reflection.

Some time later when in Edinburgh he ran into an old friend called McLaren who asked him what he had been doing in recent days. Mr. Swan told him that he had been at home for a year or so in a state of idleness and the reason why he had done so by recounting the story of his encounter with the spectre in Dundee. McLaren listened and thanked Mr. Swan for telling him the story and then told Mr. Swan that he had suffered from a similar experience in that one evening after going to bed he happened to look at the chair at the hearth and there, sitting in the chair which he had vacated just a short time prior, sat a man he did not recognise.

He asked the man who he was and how he had entered the room and what he wanted but he received no reply. McLaren then arose from his bed and approached the chair and as he reached out the apparition disappeared. He then decided to sit in the chair which he did for a while and then decided that he had been dreaming. Rising and turning towards his bed he saw the man lying on it. Seeing him McLaren decided hurriedly that he had enough of this nonsense, slipped into his clothes and fled from the house. He returned the next day, paid his bill, and never went back.

Having recounted this tale of the inexplicable Mr. Swan sat down listening to the crushed silence of his audience. Both the Ministers were rational human beings, educated and articulate.

If one knows “lone Blairnroar” one can imagine the walk home in the dark after the meeting. Having an overactive imagination and perhaps with raised hair, and certainly feeling apprehensive, one gingerly heads towards the lights of our home in the distance. But what’s that rustling in the underbrush? Is it the wind playing with the leaves or is it a thrush looking for grubs? or maybe a ghost of yesteryear? One stops and so does the sound. Only the silence and a distant hoot of a tawny owl mark the stillness. One continues on and the sound follows...I must be being followed and my footsteps quicken. There at last but a few more steps to the front door and a quick glance backwards and in the haze one sees the figure of a man dressed in full Highland regalia carrying a sword. Without ado one belts in to the doorway and slams the door shut! What was it? - Only the wind can tell!