St. Andrews Ghost Stories by William Thomas Linskill
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William T. Linskill (1855-1929), formerly the Dean of the Guild of St Andrews, was an avid collector of supernatural tales. His book, “St Andrews Ghost Stories” is a hodge-podge of professed ghostly sightings and interactions, most of them taking place in or near St. Andrews Cathedral (now in ruins).
St Andrews was the religious centre of medieval Scotland, and housed relics purporting to be a tooth, an arm-bone, a kneecap and three fingers of St Andrew the Apostle. Many of the seventeen stories in this book involve ghostly monks, nuns, and priors, as you might guess from their titles:
1. The Beckoning Monk
2. The Hauntings and Mysteries of Lausdree Castle
3. A Haunted Manor House and the Duel at St Andrews
4. The Apparition of the Prior of Pittenweem
5. A True Tale of the Phantom Coach
6. The Veiled Nun of St Leonards
7. The Monk of St Rule’s Tower
8. Related by Captain Chester
9. The Screaming Skull of Greyfriars
10. The Spectre of the Castle
11. The Smothered Piper of the West Cliffs
12. The Beautiful White Lady of the Haunted Tower
13. Concerning More Appearances of the White Lady
14. A Spiritualistic Séance
15. The Apparition of Sir Rodger de Wanklyn
16. The Bewitched Ermentrude
17. A Very Peculiar House
I first came across this author in “Tay Bridge Disaster: The People’s Story.” He happened to be travelling from Edinburgh to St Andrews by train on the night of December 28, 1879. The cab which was supposed to meet him at the last train station before the Tay Bridge was late due to a fierce storm, and the train was actually pulling out of the station when the cab did arrive. Dean Linskill jumped out of the moving train, which plunged into the River Tay a few moments later when the railroad bridge collapsed. There were no survivors.
This book is a scanned reproduction of the original, and a few of the pages are missing the first letter of each line. It is usually easy to guess the words, although I did have trouble with ‘ueer.’ The stories themselves are told with a great amount of enthusiasm, in the perfervid style of that great English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton.
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