Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Highland Tourists Capture 'Ghost' Near Old Hanging Tree

A French couple touring the Highlands claim to have photographed a ghost on the former site of a hanging tree. The couple claim the spooky figure appears in a photograph they took in the High Street in Fort William, in the West Highlands. The site - the location of the Old Fort's hanging tree - is said to have been known for ghostly appearances since the tree was chopped down in the 1970s. Sophie Mager, 32, and Remy Puckey, 40, from Jaux, just north of Paris, did not see the apparition in front of them but were baffled when it appeared in Sophie's picture. They were spooked further when locals explained the spot was the site of the hanging tree, and there had been previous unexplained goings-on there. The night-time image shows the bright lights of the houses in the town. In front, just before the camera lens, there is a white mist or smoke-like veil blocking the view. But the couple, who work for ground services agents for French airlines, insist the sky was clear at the time and they have not altered their image in any way. Ms Mager said: "It was amazing and I swear that it is not a picture with special effects. "We didn't see the ghost on the spot, but discovered it when we looked on the picture. Many strange things are happening in Fort William."Mr Puckey, who had looked forward to the five-day visit to Scotland because of his late grandfather from Aberdeen, said: "We showed it to the staff of the West End Hotel in Fort William, where we were staying. They too found the apparition intriguing - but scary." The hanging tree had been utilised in the 18th century by successive governors of the fort for the execution of Highland clansmen who fell foul of their regime. The tree, which had stood outside the fort walls for 300 years, was felled in the 1970s to make way for the town's new library and for an outdoor equipment store. When it was cut down, local people claimed that its demise would bring with it the Gaelic witchcraft prophecy of the "Buidseachd" - pronounced "Bootchach" - a curse of ill omen. On the morning after Fort William Library was opened alongside where the hanging tree had stood, staff claimed they came in to find the front door ajar, despite having locked it the previous night. They claimed books, paintings and pot plants were strewn over the floor, empty toilets were flushing, and there were the sounds of canine snuffling noises, although there was no dog on the premises. Meanwhile, an electric typewriter was working on its own but printing characters upside down. Staff were so frightened by this scene that they fled the building.