Wayfarer Column- The deacon who was the inspiration for Mr Hyde

The year moves on and with the leaves falling from the trees there is evidence that autumn is upon us. We must therefore prepare ourselves for the pleasure of gathering round a warm fireside to listen to tales of interest which help the winter pass by pleasantly.

We of course can be the provider of some of these tales but we must ensure that we tell them in a fashion to interest our listeners.

Crathes Castle near Banchory is haunted by a green lady who appears in a room in the oldest part of the castle. She glides across the room to the fireplace where she stoops down to pick up a baby then fades from sight clutching her baby. During restoration of the castle the skeletons of a woman and a baby were discovered beneath the hearth in that room. No-one knows who the lady or baby were and there is no record of their deaths, but in spite of the remains being removed and given a decent burial the green lady still haunts that room. So perhaps there is more to find before she can rest in peace.

Edinburgh Castle is said to be haunted by a drummer who marches the battlements beating out a rhythm. The sound of his spectral drum is reputed to warn of bad news so presumably he will be performing on the 17th September this year but who his bad news will be for will no doubt come out in the result of the referendum.

Edinburgh is famous not only as the capital of Scotland but also for the people who inhabited it. Edinburgh born Robert Louis Stevenson was aware of the strange case of Deacon Brodie a highly respected town councillor by day and a burglar by night. It is said that Stevenson based his book ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ on a man with a split personality, one good and one evil in other words Deacon Brodie. Deacon Brodie lived in an alleyway off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh which is now known as Brodie’s Close. However his nefarious exploits were eventually found out and he was said to be executed in 1788, but thereby hangs another tale as he was a man of great influence and considered in some quarters as a latter day Robin Hood.

So you see that Robert Louis Stevenson, the acclaimed writer, was not averse to seizing upon a tale and rewriting it in his own fashion using as his subject Deacon Brodie a man of certain talents which brought him both acclaim and retribution all combining to produce a tale worthy of the telling.