Well it is that time of the year again with the nights drawing in that we gather round a warm fireside with tales to tell. Halloween will soon be upon us, so it would be the more spine tingling tales that will always catch the imagination.
This brings to mind all the tales of witches and warlocks and no-one was better at describing them than Robert Burns.
However despite Burns’ tale of those that frequented auld Alloway Kirk not all witches and warlocks were bad, and to prove it we can consider the tale of Michael Scott who was known to live in Ardrossan Castle.
He was the son of a mermaid who had an encounter with a sailor and that in itself would put him as someone with special gifts but in order to prove his worth he endeavoured to do good deeds.
He was known to have challenged the Devil to prove how clever he was by building a bridge between Hunterson and Great Cumbrae.
The devil considered this to be an easy task gathering large boulders to bridge the two mile gap, a considerable feat which all stopped when he was approached by a civil engineer, not Knowing who he was speaking to, who complimented him on his work.
The Devil disappeared in a puff of smoke and the almost completed bridge fell into the sea.
Now before you poo-poo this tale you will find at Hunterston there are fairly straight lines of whinstone boulders on the foreshore, whilst opposite on Great Cumbrae there is an unusually dark vein of whinstone in the sandstone which is commonly known as the ‘De’il’s Dyke’.
Michael Scott was also known to have saved Scotland from an unfair form of taxation by travelling to Rome on his horse which was supposed to be capable of flight plus many other forms of power.
He managed to get an audience with the Pope whom he threatened with his horse’s ability to destroy Rome if the tax was not abolished.
After seeing the capabilities of this horse the Pope agreed to cancel the tax and Michael Scott became very popular in a scary sort of way.
In those early years of the sixteenth century everything that could not be easily explained was blamed on the devil, and it was understood that witches were there to carry out his bidding.
This resulted in the Scottish Parliament in 1563 issuing a law ‘All who used witchcraft, sorcery, necromancy, or pretended skills therein, and all consulters of witches and sorcerers should be punished capitally.’ This led to a lot of women being burned at the stake, a terrible end.
Today everything seems to be easily explained, but are you sure? Just stop and give that some thought. See you next week.