Friday Fascination

Taking Stones from an Angry Spirit is Probably a Bad Idea

Thursday's ChildrenI’m joining up with Thursday’s Children this week, so show some love and check out these other fine blogs!

I love stumbling upon magical history in my search for fun blog subjects. And as a fantasy fanatic, I can’t help but be inspired by colorful tales from the past…especially if they have anything to do with Scotland.

 

Ever hear of the legendary Brahan Seer, Coinneach Odhar?  I hadn’t, but apparently he’s a big deal in Scotland, referenced by the true Highland Gael with a reverence only second to God.  Impressive.  He was called a wizard, a fiosaiche (sorcerer), even Sallow Kenneth the Enchanter (I would have suggested he tell people, “There are some who call me…Ken.”  With me, Monty Python fans?).  Anyway, the Second Sight isn’t considered witchcraft in Scotland, just more of an affliction, so he didn’t have to worry about being burned at the stake right away—a slight perk to the whole Two Sights disease.  He still pissed people off, but let’s get back to the fun story of how he got his talent.

 

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Evgeni Dinev
photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Evgeni Dinev

Tales vary, but I’ll forward on the version I like best.  Ken’s mum was a cattle herder and let her moo-moos roam close to a local burial ground. One dark and stormy night, a bunch of the graves opened up and loosed their ghosties for some haunting.  Knowing a thing or two about spirits, she laid her staff lengthwise over the nearest grave and decided to return in the morning.  Good choice.  At dawn, she returned.  The mist rolled inland and a terrible wailing emerged from the fog. Poof!  Enter one Nordic princess specter, none too pleased to be blocked from her comfy grave.  After a bit of a kerfuffle and some blackmailing, the princess bribed her way back into her barrow.  The prize:  a magic stone with a hole in its center.

 

photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/hyena reality
photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/hyena reality

Kenny later discovered if he looked through the center hole, he could see the future.  He apparently made a bunch of true predictions—including the Battle of Culloden.  Shiver.  And his predictions are still taken seriously.  Ken foresaw that if the Celtic stone known as The Eagle Stone fell three times, then Loch Ussie would flood the valley. The stone took a topple twice, and they’re not taking any chances.  It stands in Strathpeffer, Ross-shire…set in concrete. But ol’ Coinneach didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut.  When the concerned Countess of Seaforth asked him to check on her husband, who was overdue from a long trip, Ken gave her the scoop.  Precious hubby was partying it up in Paris with another woman.  Why do they always blame the bearer of bad news?  He was executed by having his head thrust into a barrel lined with spikes and filled with burning tar.  Bummer.

photo by Anne Burgess
photo by Anne Burgess

Are there any magical tales from history that inspire you?

Sources:  http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofScotland/The-Brahan-Seer-the-Scottish-Nostradamus/ and http://www.independent-highlander.co.uk/papers/mar2010a.pdf and The Encyclopedia of Magic and Alchemy by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

8 Comments

  1. Seriously? Where do you find this stuff? When do you have a chance to find it? LOL

    1. coleenjb says:

      I have my super-secret ways. 🙂

  2. Now there’s a horrid end to a lovely story *shudder* I love tales involving ghosts, premonitions, graveyards, right up my alley. Oh, and I also love the word kerfuffle, though it sounds like a pillow fight more than a brawl.

    1. coleenjb says:

      Ha! Kerfuffle does sound like a pillow fight, doesn’t it? Thanks for the comment!

  3. Great pictures and some fun stories. I like it when novels I read take inspiration from folklore, although I kind of like to make stuff up myself when it comes to urban fantasy. I do my research when anything borders on the scientific, though.

    1. coleenjb says:

      I’m the same way–I like to make up my own strange stuff, but I’ve been known to twist a few tidbits from history and folk tales. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Kristina Perez says:

    Fascinating! Thanks so much for joining us on Thursday’s Children!

    1. coleenjb says:

      Thanks, Kristina – love all the Thursday’s Children blogs!

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