Top 5 Scariest Stories From Scottish History


Ahhhh. Scotland. Alba. A wonderful country that holds a special place
in my heart–and one portion of the British Isles that has long seen more than its fair
share of horrifying history. From the Roman’s literally building a wall
to keep the Scottish Clans from ruining their empire–to a particularly bloody and villainous
reign of several English Monarchies–Scotland has stood witness to some of the most intriguing
and terrifying instances of history. And, as encapsulated by the likes of Robert
Burns, the Ploughman Poet himself–Scottish History makes for some remarkable tales. So, let’s take a look, shall we? Hello horror fans–whats going on, and once
again welcome back to the scariest channel on YouTube–Top 5 Scary Videos. As per usual, I’ll be your horror host Jack
Finch–as today, we curiously take a look at the Top 5 Scariest Stories From Scottish
History. Roll the clip. For the curious amongst you–of course, that
scene was from 1986’s Highlander–because, well–there can be only one–and I’m not
in the business for rolling the clip of another famous Scottish film because, well it’s
pretty damn historically inaccurate–and we may as well lay out a film that at least doesn’t
pretend that it’s something it’s not. Okay. Okay. That film is Braveheart–and I’ll admit
it, I love that movie–but hey, I’m trying to not piss off any Scots. Let’s just move on. Kicking off at Number 5–The Witches Well And whilst Europe as a whole has had a long,
tragic line of Witch Hunting throughout its long and bloody history–there is perhaps
one location in Scotland that exemplifies that period more so than any other. Edinburgh Castle is a hive of activity–a
beautiful structure that speaks of the cities ancient roots and it’s mystical origin–but
as you walk around it’s high walls–you’d be amiss to know that you were walking amongst
the same ground of a brutal and horrifying massacre, that stretched out over a century. Now, The Witches Well–a cast iron fountain
and plaque–honors the Scottish people who were burned at the stake at Edinburgh Castle
between the 15th and 18th centuries. But it was the 16th century–and one King
in particular–where the Witches Well saw more bloodshed than anywhere else in Scotland. King James the Sixth and First–of Scotland
and England particularly–was certainly an intriguing figure throughout British history,
but it was his unique brand of zealtory that led to the deaths of thousands of innocent
women–each of them without trial. King James believe that witchcraft was a form
of Satanism–and that anyone who possessed the abilities that he perceived as mystical,
be it herbology–or even dancing–were in fact, possessed by the Devil himself. You see, King James was obsessed with the
notion of witchcraft, and would write countless literature about demonology–but all of this
culminated in a throughout the 17th and 18th centuries at Edinburgh Castle. As a result, more than 4000 alleged witches–nearly
all of them female–were mercilessly put to death. In fact, so many of them were brutally murdered–that
the usual act of burning at the stake was replaced with routine hanging–the last of
which took place in 1728. During this horrifying satanic panic–pretty
much anyone and everyone could be unrightfully accused of practicing black magic. Many of those that were killed were keen herbalists,
demonstrating an ancient practice of medicine. Some of them were mentally ill–and wrongfully
deemed possessed, and even rarer–some of those killed were merely on the wrong end
of someone else’s malice. Murdered over a squabble. It was a brutal time, not only in Scottish
history, but the entirety of the British Isles–and the Witches Well at Edinburgh Castle stands
as a monument–a mortal reminder of those vile deeds. Swinging in at Number 4–Skara Brae And to be honest–I just love saying that
name. Skara Brae. Skara Brae. Feels good under the tongue, right? Well, the thing is–for this entry on our
list–we’re going to go be going pretty far back. In fact, further back than any other entry
in Scottish History–and perhaps even further back than any other historical instance…
imaginable. Really. Skara Brae is a location–far, far older than
Stonehenge, and far older than even the Great Pyramids of Giza themselves–and it’s tucked
on a series of little islands just off the coast of Scotland–Orkney. Europe’s Most Complete Ancient Neolithic
Village, which, whilst being completely and utterly amazing in itself–may also be evidence
of a far more terrifying event than any of us could ever imagine. You see, there is a reason why Skara Brae
is often called the Scottish Pompeii–because although it is remarkably preserved in a similar
fashion to the ancient Italian Volcanic City–it also seems to be evidence of a similar sort
of disaster. Back in the winter of 1850–a severe storm
battered Scotland–causing immense damage to the populus and over 200 deaths. In the Bay of Skaill within the Orkney Isles–the
storm stripped away a mass of earth, and when the storm cleared–the nearby villagers were
astounded to find the outline of an ancient village. Although the local Laird–William Watt of
Skaill conducted an excavation–it wasn’t until 1927 that the actual location was fully
excavated–which would take another 60 or so years to be completed. Originally, it was thought that the site was
from around 500 BC–but when radiocarbon samples were fully tested–it was revealed that Skara
Brae was built by at least 3180 BC. Now, as there is evidence of the inhabitants
of Skara Brae being taken by surprise and fleeing the site in a hurry–such as remains
of choice meats being cooked on the fire left behind–and evidence of one woman fleeing
in such haste that her necklace broke as she tried to squeeze through the narrow doorway
of her home. Now, whilst Skara Brae is still very much
a mystery–the leading theory is that the disaster in question was another equally terrifying
storm–the same one that unearthed it in 1850. If that’s the case–I think we should be
on the lookout. Next up at Number 3–The Massacre of Glencoe And this one in particular has been immortalized
in countless fictional works–paying homage to a terrifying and bloodthirsty event in
Scottish history, but as is the case with many things–the truth of this historical
instance is full of far more horror than in fiction. Now, the Jacobite Uprising was a particularly
complex and brutal time in the history of the British Isles–but the worst of it culminated
in the Scottish Highlands. After losing the throne of England and Scotland
to William the Third–in March of 1689–after landing in Ireland in an attempt to regain
the throne, James the 2nd and 7th recruited a small force of Highlanders to support him
in his campaign through Scotland. Now, it’s important to note that many Scottish
clans had remained loyal to King James–the most profound of which were the MacGregors,
the Keppoch MacDonalds–and of course, the Glencoe MacDonalds. Keep that name in mind. You see the thing is, in August of 1691–the
Government had offered an indemnity to all Scottish Chiefs–as long as they swore an
oath of allegiance before New Year’s Day–January 1st 1682. In total, the Secretary of State at the time,
Lord Stair–offered a total of 12 thousand British Pounds for swearing their allegiance
to King William–which, as you may imagine, was quite the allure for many other Jacobite
leaning Chieftains. On top of that, Letters of Fire and Sword
were sent out–authorizing savage attacks on anyone that would not comply to the order–and
interestingly enough. It worked. Pretty much all of the Scottish Chief’s
took the oath. However–Chief Alexander MacDonald of Glencoe
wasn’t so sure–and he had postponed his submission of oath until December 31st 1691. You see, at the time–he was hosting 120 men
of the Earl of Argyll–and he wouldn’t be able to make it to the nearest magistrate
at Fort William, until January 6th. Hearing that news–King William ordered swift
punishment to the MacDonalds. And the next moment, over one hundred of the
Earl’s soldiers–who had been quartered amicably at Glencoe for more than a week–suddenly
turned and attacked the MacDonalds. 33 men, two women, and two children were mercilessly
slaughtered by their guests–who had been fed and watered and entertained without a
second thought. Now, we can understand the importance of hospitality. Coming in at Number 2–The Black Dinner And if that previous entry sounds like something
straight out of Game of Thrones–then that’s because George R.R Martin was pretty damn
inspired by British History–particularly the history of Scotland. And–well, this one instance in particular
may well seem pretty damn familiar. But–that also doesn’t make it any less
terrifying, because–like I said. History is far more horrifying than fiction–because
the Black Dinner actually happened. Let’s take it back to the year of 1440–a
tumultuous time in Scottish History, during the reign of King James the Second–who was
just ten years old at the time. You see, Scotland was under the shakey yet
tentative power-sharing regent rulership of two men, Sir Alexander Livingston and Sir
William Chrichton. It was the second period of regency in a short
space of time–after King James I was also briefly under the same sort of stewardship. You see, one of those previous regent stewards
was a man named Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas–who was an all around pretty decent
guy, so much so that in this story–you could consider him Ned Stark. You see, by the fifteenth century–the Douglases
had become so powerful and honorable–that some schemers, such as Livingston and Crichton–saw
their family as a threat to the stability of the nation. In 1440, the grandson of Archibald–the 16-year
old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas–was invited to Edinburgh Castle for a spectacular
feast, alongside his younger brother David. The two of them were invited to dine beside
the ten-year old King James the Second–and on November 24th 1440–the small Douglas entourage
had arrived. According to legend, the banquet was held
in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle, and the young King was completely enamored by
the charming and noble Douglases. At the end of the feast though–after the
hall went silent–the head of a black bull was brought out on a platter and paraded in
front of them. Under Ancient Scottish custom, the head of
a black bull was the symbol of death–and in rare customary moments–this formality
presaged the death of the principle guests of a feast. As the legend goes–King James the Second
was alleged to have pleaded for the lives of his new friends, and for the Douglases
to be spared–but it is said that his pleas fell on deaf ears. Both William Douglas and David Douglas were
beheaded–in front of the ten year old king. And finally, coming in at our Number 1 spot–Sawney
Bean Because–talking of dinner–we certainly can’t
make this list without featuring perhaps the most notoriously grim instance of folklore
in Scottish History–the Legend of Sawney Bean. Now, also–whilst this entry is potentially
the most gruesome in the whole of Scottish History–it’s also important to note that
not all of the legend of Sawney Bean can be historically verified–and the vast majority
of it is resigned to the whisperings of folklore. It’s just food for thought. Sorry. I’ll stop talking about food. You see, little is known about the early life
of the notorious Sawney Bean–but it is said that he may have been born in East Lothian
sometime in the late 16th century. When he reached adulthood, he became a ditch-digger–but
it seemed that the life of honest labour was for him. He left home with a, and I quote–a vicious
woman–named Agnes Douglas–who apparently shared Sawney’s inclination for ferocity
after being accused of being a witch. On the way, they’d rob anyone that crossed
their path–and this is where their first taste for a far more sinister crime began
to establish themselves. It is said that on the road, Sawney and Agnes
cannibalized one of their victims. Eventually, the couple settled in a coastal
cave–a place hidden just beneath Bannane Head–between Girvan and Ballantrae–where
they lived undiscovered for over 25 years. As the legend goes, the cave that they made
their home was 200 years deep–and the entrance was completely blocked by water during high
tide–and, if that sounds like the perfect place to establish an incestuous tribe of
cannibals. Then, that’s because it was. You see, Bean and Agnes produced eight sons,
six daughters, 18 grandchildren and 14 granddaughters–the majority of which were the produce of incest
between their children. At the height of their terrifying reign, the
Bean Clan would carefully lay ambushes on the nearby road at night to rob and murder
individuals or small groups. Their bodies, stripped and picked clean–would
be brought back to the cave where they were eaten. Leftovers were pickled in barrels–or dried
like jerky. One night, however–after trying to ambush
a newly married couple–the Bean Clan met their match–and the young groom fought them
with a pistol and sword in combat. Eventually, their secret cave was routed–and
the Bean clan was captured and executed. Now, the actual details of which are down
to wild speculation–but one thing is for certain–the Cannibal Clean of Sawney Bean
were said to have murdered and eaten over 1000 victims. Oh.. and also–one version of the legend states
that the tribe were never captured, and the nearby townsfolk were too terrified to go
into the cave, so they just blew it up with dynamite. I don’t know about you, but that sounds
like a sequel to me. Well, on that horrifying note–there we have
it–our Top 5 Scariest Stories From Scottish History. What do you guys think? Do you agree? Disagree? Have any more to add to this list? Then let us know your thoughts down in the
comment section below, as well as any choice picks of your own. Before we depart from today’s video though,
let’s first take a quick look at some of your more creative comments from over the
past few days. First up, Honey Moon says– You get that hot spicy spons. Let’s keep Top 5 on YouTube. —- …. I do not understand this reference–but
I certainly appreciate it. Thank you. And finally, Adriana Jacques says– Do a Top 5 from Ireland. You da man. Keep up the good work. You rock Jack. — No Adriana, you rock–thank you very much. And well, Scotland right here—so, yeah Ireland’s
pretty nearby. We may as well pop over and see whats what. Well, on that note–unfortunately that’s
all we’ve got time for in today’s video–cheers for sticking around all the way until the
end…

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