School of History, Classics & Archaeology

Ghost stories of the Scottish Enlightenment

Join us this Halloween for a dip into the history of the Scottish supernatural.

Venture into the Anatomy Lecture Theatre of the Old Medical School, Teviot Place at 5.45pm, 31 October 2013 for an insight into the darker side of the Enlightenment.

The evening is being organised by PhD student Martha McGill, with support from Dr Julian Goodare, Reader in History.

Sinister stories and songs from the grave

Hammersmith Ghost

“The Enlightenment is often seen as an age of rationalism, when superstitious beliefs were gradually dispelled,” Martha explains. “Yet stories of witches, fairies and ghosts continued to be told around Scottish firesides, and were even promoted by some ministers as a defence against atheism”.

The event will begin with a talk showcasing the cult surrounding the elusive ‘seely wights’, Scottish fairy-like nature spirits. From there, the audience will be taken on a journey through Enlightenment ghost stories.

“We'll use storytellers and singers to bring to life contemporary folk-tales, ballads and the writing of ministers,” Martha continues.

“Learn about the sinister revels of the Laird of Coul and his band of shapeshifters. Meet Tibbie Mortimer, a serving girl with an elaborate plan to marry her master. Hear the story of Pearlin' Jean, a young French nun who fell in love with a Scottish nobleman, and met with a tragic fate."

Free but ticketed

Please book your place the direct link on Eventbrite, below.

NB. This event may be photographed or recorded for promotional or recruitment materials for the University and University approved third parties.

Further information

Map of venue

Dr Goodare's profile