Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Jacobite reprise.

The little town of Inverurie lies just to the north-east of Aberdeen. It’s an area that’s been inhabited since the early 1100’s, in recorded history. Before that, there were Picts. The place is two miles long and half a mile wide. There’s a Pictish stone in the middle of it and three stone circles within walking distance. There are Pictish stones in the graveyards.

Yet the place is relatively ghostless. It’s not a place for the party-minded, admittedly. Old people’s homes occupy most of it. There is no cinema, no bowling alley. Even MacDonald’s don’t have an outlet here. Something for which I daily thank whatever God there may be. It does mean that it’s possible the place is so dull even the dead can’t bear to stay.

Inverurie gets a mention on the Paranormal Database but the only sighting in town is likely to be a hooded teenager going through a gap in the fence. Since I’ve been here, I could add to that database. There’s a cenotaph in the town centre (for those who don’t do ‘dead’, a cenotaph is a monument to the dead, usually those who died in war). There are no bodies buried beneath. This cenotaph has at least one attendant spirit, not one of the war-dead, but one of the grieving relatives. I’ll look into that in another post. There’s a lot more in Aberdeen, but then it’s a much bigger place.

This post is about the Jacobite rebellion.

Missing out all the political hoo-hah, the Jacobites were in opposition to the ruling house of Hanover, and there was a war. The Jacobites eventually lost it.

The battle of Inverurie was the third-last battle to be fought on British soil (so far) and happened in December 1745. The Hanoverians occupied Inverurie, the Jacobites marched from Aberdeen in two columns.

Now, Inverurie is set at the junction of the rivers Ury and Don. The first group of Jacobites came over the Don, and consisted of about 60 men. They took a beating.

Meanwhile, the rest of the army came over the Ury and hit the Hanoverians from the side. The Jacobites won that battle because of those tactics, but the 60 men who came over the Don weren’t among the celebrants. Details of this battle are all over the Internet so I won’t go into that now.

What’s not all over the Internet is the re-enactment of that Don crossing every year. When it happened isn’t totally clear: most sources put it at December 23rd, but local sources say December 22nd. It appears to have happened overnight on the 22nd leading into the morning of the 23rd, if what I’ve found out is right.

I suspect this is a ‘recording’ phenomenon rather than any real spirit haunting. It’s interesting anyway. I’m in the area so I plan to have a look.

I have found nobody here who has seen this. That’s not too surprising. It’s north of Aberdeen and the river walk isn’t pleasant in December unless you’re partial to way-below-zero temperatures, icy winds and snow. Even rain hurts at that time of year.

I’ll try anyway. There might be something and since I’m not a Druid I won’t be busy on the 22nd. Apart from the cenotaph, there seems to be little else in town of interest.

Here’s what the river looks like at the moment. The weather’s unusually gentle at the moment. It hasn’t rained for over an hour.


ThatGreenyFlower said...

I can't wait to hear! Will you hang out there overnight and wait? Will you post photos? Can you even TAKE photos?

What is the difference between a re-enactment and a true haunting?

Romulus Crowe said...

Can I take photos? Ahem. I have more cameras - film, digital and video - than anyone could consider decent. The odd thing is, none of them have ever photographed me. I don't intend to change that.

Whether the ghosts will show on film... well, so far, they've dodged my cameras even when they've been clear to my eyes.

The re-enactment, or recording, is a replay of events that have impressed themselves onto the local environment. Without the spook-chaser jargon, it's like the rocks are working as a videotape. Why they replay at certain times might relate to the position of the sun or moon in the sky, or to other, as yet unknown variables.

The big difference is that the replay is just that - a replay. Trying to contact them is like talking to Humphrey Bogart while watching 'Casabalanca'. He's going to carry on as if you don't exist. You do. He doesn't.

There are no real spirits in a replay. It's a recorded image. Nothing more. TV in three dimensions.

A 'true' haunting involves a disembodied human spirit. There's nothing predictable, they might show up, they might not. If they do, they can recognise human presence and might try to communicate. Or not. Ghosts are dead people and are just as difficult to deal with. Like live ones, they can lie, cheat and play stupid tricks.

There are also other types of spirits which can be very nasty indeed. Best avoid those.

Recordings/replays are the safest. They're no more dangerous than standing among a hologram of a cine film.

Oh, and yes, I'll hang around overnight. I'll be well insulated for sure. If any photos come out, I'll definitely post them.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

That's amazing. You toss that stuff out like it's something easy to understand--the same way I might explain how high blood sugar can cause heart attacks, I guess. We each have our own areas of expertise. But yours are so much more intriguing than mine!

I would not say that I'm a "believer" per se, but I have always had an interest in any haunting/occult thing/ghostie that seemed non-malevolent and real. Much of my early reading were kids' books about strange happenings and hauntings. And I would consider selling a kidney so I could join you to see this re-enactment phenomenon!

ThatGreenyFlower said...

Oh, and P.S. I didn't mean, "Can you take photos"; I meant, "Can one even take photos of ghosts?" Sorry if I insulted you inadvertently!

Romulus Crowe said...

Greeny - I misunderstood your comment. My bad.

Taking photos of ghosts might or might not be possible. We try anyway. It depends on whether the images we see are actually there, or superimposed on our vision, that is, projected into our consciousness rather than formed in the air before us. There are two ways to tell. One, if it's really there it'll show on film. Two, if there's a mirror around, a 'real' image will have a reflection.

There have been many 'ghost photos', some convincing, some utterly not. In these digital days it's easy to fake a ghost photo. Heck, I faked one when I was 12, using a 120-film camera made of plastic, with no flash, no auto-anything. I'm still looking for that photo. If I find it, I'll post it here.

Don't sell that kidney - the re-enactment might not happen. Some are just urban legends. If it does, you might need your kidney-cash for the same time next year ;)

I didn't know high blood sugar caused heart attacks. We have a current paranoia over diabetes here in the UK, because everyone's getting fatter. High sugar is meant to be involved. I don't know, my medical knowledge doesn't even extend to where the nearest doctor lives.

I have low blood pressure, which I self-medicate by eating a lot of salty stuff, drinking whisky and staying annoyed at the world pretty much all the time. It's not difficult. I have one of those blood-pressure checkers which I use once in a while in case I ever manage to get above 'normal'. One day...

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