I live next to MacBeth

Yes, supposedly it’s true… Macbeth, along with most of the other old kings of Scotland, is buried across the road from my house. I get to walk past Macbeth every morning. I’m not sure if Lady Macbeth is there. I also get to walk past the effigies of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll every day on my way to work. And this morning I accidentally put a bunch of my papers on top of one of the old Abbot’s faces (there are two abbots’ effigies in the front of the church), without thinking, on my way to help put the Christmas tree up. No need to worry — I did apologize… =) I am getting used to the thought of being around graves and gravestones, though. Ghosts, I’m not yet sure about.

There lots of ghost stories around here — several have reported seeing monks, even having conversations with monks, when there aren’t any monks on the island. One of our resident staff members says she saw a white-robed monk and thought “I saw the wrong monk ghost”, but then realized that Columban monks wore white.

Also there’s the story of the sacristan who came into the abbey late one night to find a young sailor with a trench coat kneeling by the communion table. Out of respect, the sacristan didn’t disturb him, but came back the next morning to find a puddle of water and some seaweed that comes only from the deep part of the ocean. Puzzled, he went about his business. Two days later, the body of a young sailor, wearing a trench coat, and with the same kind of seaweed, washed up on the shore of the island and was buried in the cemetery across from my house.

And then the story of St. Oran… which I can’t remember at the moment, but it involves St. Oran dying, being buried, years later being dug back up by his followers. When he was dug up, he was still alive but was blaspheming and speaking vilely, so they promptly buried him again. Yes — he too is buried across the road from my house supposedly.

So last night, when I was walking home alone in the dark and nearly out of power in my torch (aka flashlight), and I heard a yowling… I was quite relieved to find it was just Lily our abbey cat. As much as I think monks are lovely people, especially Columban and Benedictine ones, I’m not terribly keen to see one. 😉

And it’s one thing to say you don’t believe any of this malarky, and entirely another to not be occasionally flustered at the thought of ghosts, on a dark and windy night, in a place with centuries upon centuries of history.

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