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patrol, it being his intention to cross the hill and try for a shot at
a stag.

The sergeant never rejoined his men or met the patrol! He vanished as
if the fairies had taken him. His captain searched the hill with a
band of men four days after the disappearance, but to no avail.
Various rumours ran about the country, among others a clatter that
Davies had been killed by Duncan Clerk and Alexander Bain Macdonald.
But the body was undiscovered.

In June, one Alexander Macpherson came to Donald Farquharson, son of
the man with whom Davies had been used to lodge. Macpherson (who was
living in a sheiling or summer hut of shepherds on the hills) said
that he "was greatly troubled by the ghost of Sergeant Davies, who
insisted that he should bury his bones, and that, he having declined
to bury them, the ghost insisted that he should apply to Donald
Farquharson". Farquharson "could not believe this," till Macpherson
invited him to come and see the bones. Then Farquharson went with the
other, "as he thought it might possibly be true, and if it was, he did
not know but the apparition might trouble himself".

The bones were found in a peat moss, about half a mile from the road
taken by the patrols. There, too, lay the poor sergeant's mouse-
coloured hair, with rags of his blue cloth and his brogues, without
the silver buckles, and there did Farquharson and Macpherson bury them

Alexander Macpherson, in his evidence at the trial, declared that,
late in May, 1750, "when he was in bed, a vision appeared to him as of
a man clothed in blue, who said, '_I am Sergeant Davies_!'". At first
Macpherson thought the figure was "a real living man," a brother of
Donald Farquharson's. He therefore rose and followed his visitor to
the door, where the ghost indicated the position of his bones, and
said that Donald Farquharson would help to inter them. Macpherson
next day found the bones, and spoke to Growar, the man of the tartan
coat (as Growar admitted at the trial). Growar said if Macpherson did
not hold his tongue, he himself would inform Shaw of Daldownie.
Macpherson therefore went straight to Daldownie, who advised him to
bury the bones privily, not to give the country a bad name for a rebel
district. While Macpherson was in doubt, and had not yet spoken to
Farquharson, the ghost revisited him at night and repeated his
command. He also denounced his murderers, Clerk and Macdonald, which
he had declined to do on his first appearance. He spoke in Gaelic,
which, it seems, was a language not known by the sergeant.

Isobel MacHardie, in whose service Macpherson was, deponed that one
night in summer, June, 1750, while she lay at one end of the sheiling
(a hill hut for shepherds or neatherds) and Macpherson lay at the
other, "she saw something naked come in at the door, which frighted
her so much that she drew the clothes over her head. That when it
appeared it came in in a bowing posture, and that next morning she
asked Macpherson what it was that had troubled them in the night
before. To which he answered that she might be easy, for it would not
trouble them any more."

All this was in 1750, but Clerk and Macdonald were not arrested till
September, 1753. They were then detained in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh
on various charges, as of wearing the kilt, till June, 1754, when they
were tried, Grant of Prestongrange prosecuting, aided by Haldane, Home
and Dundas, while Lockhart and Mackintosh defended. It was proved
that Clerk's wife wore Davies's ring, that Clerk, after the murder,
had suddenly become relatively rich and taken a farm, and that the two
men, armed, were on the hill near the scene of the murder on 28th
September, 1749. Moreover, Angus Cameron swore that he saw the murder
committed. His account of his position was curious. He and another
Cameron, since dead, were skulking near sunset in a little hollow on
the hill of Galcharn. There he had skulked all day, "waiting for
Donald Cameron, _who was afterwards hanged_, together with some of the
said Donald's companions from Lochaber". No doubt they were all
honest men who had been "out," and they may well have been on Cluny's
business of conveying gold from the Loch Arkaig hoard to Major Kennedy
for the prince.

On seeing Clerk and Macdonald strike and shoot the man in the silver-
laced hat, Cameron and his companion ran away, nor did Cameron mention
the matter till nine months later, and then only to Donald (not he who
was hanged). Donald advised him to hold his tongue. This Donald
corroborated at the trial. The case against Clerk and Macdonald
looked very black, especially as some witnesses fled and declined to
appear. Scott, who knew Macintosh, the counsel for the prisoners,
says that their advocates and agent "were convinced of their guilt".
Yet a jury of Edinburgh tradesmen, moved by Macintosh's banter of the
apparition, acquitted the accused solely, as Scott believes, because
of the ghost and its newly-learned Gaelic. It is indeed extraordinary
that Prestongrange, the patron of David Balfour, allowed his witnesses
to say what the ghost said, which certainly "is not evidence". Sir
Walter supposes that Macpherson and Mrs. MacHardie invented the
apparition as an excuse for giving evidence. "The ghost's commands,
according to Highland belief, were not to be disobeyed." Macpherson
must have known the facts "by ordinary means". We have seen that
Clerk and Macdonald were at once suspected; there was "a clatter"
against them. But Angus Cameron had not yet told his tale of what he
saw. Then who _did_ tell? Here comes in a curious piece of evidence
of the year 1896. A friend writes (29th December, 1896): -


"I enclose a tradition connected with the murder of Sergeant
Davies, which my brother picked up lately before he had read the
story in your Cock Lane. He had heard of the event before, both in
Athole and Braemar, and it was this that made him ask the old lady
(see next letter) about it.

"He thinks that Glenconie of your version (p. 256) must be
Glenclunie, into which Allt Chriostaidh falls. He also suggests
that the person who was chased by the murderers may have got up the
ghost, in order to shift the odium of tale-bearing to other
shoulders. The fact of being mixed up in the affair lends some
support to the story here related."

Here follows my friend's brother's narrative, the name of the witness
being suppressed.


There is at present living in the neighbourhood of - - an old lady,
about seventy years of age. Her maiden name is - -, {140} and she is
a native of Braemar, but left that district when about twenty years
old, and has never been back to it even for a visit. On being asked
whether she had ever heard the story of Sergeant Davies, she at first
persisted in denying all knowledge of it. The ordinary version was
then related to her, and she listened quietly until it was finished,
when she broke out with: -

"That isn't the way of it at all, for the men _were_ seen, and it was
a forbear of my own that saw them. He had gone out to try to get a
stag, and had his gun and a deer-hound with him. He saw the men on
the hill doing something, and thinking they had got a deer, he went
towards them. When he got near them, the hound began to run on in
front of him, and at that minute _he saw what it was they had_. He
called to the dog, and turned to run away, but saw at once that he had
made a mistake, for he had called their attention to himself, and a
shot was fired after him, which wounded the dog. He then ran home as
fast as he could, never looking behind him, and did not know how far
the men followed him. Some time afterwards the dog came home, and he
went to see whether it was much hurt, whereupon it flew at him, and
had to be killed. They thought that it was trying to revenge itself
on him for having left it behind."

At this point the old lady became conscious that she was telling the
story, and no more could be got out of her. The name of the lady who
keeps a secret of 145 years' standing, is the name of a witness in the
trial. The whole affair is thoroughly characteristic of the
Highlanders and of Scottish jurisprudence after Culloden, while the
verdict of "Not Guilty" (when "Not Proven" would have been stretching
a point) is evidence to the "common-sense" of the eighteenth century.

There are other cases, in Webster, Aubrey and Glanvil of ghosts who
tried more successfully to bring their murderers to justice. But the
reports of the trials do not exist, or cannot be found, and Webster
lost a letter which he once possessed, which would have been proof
that ghostly evidence was given and was received at a trial in Durham
(1631 or 1632). Reports of old men present were collected for
Glanvil, but are entirely too vague.

The case of Fisher's Ghost, which led to evidence being given as to a
murder in New South Wales, cannot be wholly omitted. Fisher was a
convict settler, a man of some wealth. He disappeared from his
station, and his manager (also a convict) declared that he had
returned to England. Later, a man returning from market saw Fisher
sitting on a rail; at his approach Fisher vanished. Black trackers
were laid on, found human blood on the rail, and finally discovered
Fisher's body. The manager was tried, was condemned, acknowledged his
guilt and was hanged.

The story is told in Household Words, where Sir Frederick Forbes is
said to have acted as judge. No date is given. In Botany Bay, {142}
the legend is narrated by Mr. John Lang, who was in Sydney in 1842.
He gives no date of the occurrence, and clearly embellishes the tale.
In 1835, however, the story is told by Mr. Montgomery Martin in volume
iv. of his History of the British Colonies. He gives the story as a
proof of the acuteness of black trackers. Beyond saying that he
himself was in the colony when the events and the trial occurred, he
gives no date. I have conscientiously investigated the facts, by aid
of the Sydney newspapers, and the notes of the judge, Sir Frederick
Forbes. Fisher disappeared at the end of June, 1826, from
Campbeltown. Suspicion fell on his manager, Worral. A reward was
offered late in September. Late in October the constable's attention
was drawn to blood-stains on a rail. Starting thence, the black
trackers found Fisher's body. Worral was condemned and hanged, after
confession, in February, 1827. Not a word is said about _why_ the
constable went to, and examined, the rail. But Mr. Rusden, author of
a History of Australia, knew the medical attendant D. Farley (who saw
Fisher's ghost, and pointed out the bloody rail), and often discussed
it with Farley. Mr. Souttar, in a work on Colonial traditions, proves
the point that Farley told his ghost story _before_ the body of Fisher
was found. But, for fear of prejudicing the jury, the ghost was kept
out of the trial, exactly as in the following case.


Perhaps the latest ghost in a court of justice (except in cases about
the letting of haunted houses) "appeared" at the Aylesbury Petty
Session on 22nd August, 1829. On 25th October, 1828, William Edden, a
market gardener, was found dead, with his ribs broken, in the road
between Aylesbury and Thame. One Sewell, in August, 1829, accused a
man named Tyler, and both were examined at the Aylesbury Petty
Sessions. Mrs. Edden gave evidence that she sent five or six times
for Tyler "to come and see the corpse. . . . I had some particular
reasons for sending for him which I never did divulge. . . . I will
tell you my reasons, gentlemen, if you ask me, in the face of Tyler,
even if my life should be in danger for it." The reasons were that on
the night of her husband's murder, "something rushed over me, and I
thought my husband came by me. I looked up, and I thought I heard the
voice of my husband come from near my mahogany table. . . . I thought
I saw my husband's apparition, and the man that had done it, and that
man was Tyler. . . . I ran out and said, 'O dear God! my husband is
murdered, and his ribs are broken'."

Lord Nugent - "What made you think your husband's ribs were broken?"

"He held up his hands like this, and I saw a hammer, or something like
a hammer, and it came into my mind that his ribs were broken." Sewell
stated that the murder was accomplished by means of a hammer.

The prisoners were discharged on 13th September. On 5th March, 1830,
they were tried at the Buckingham Lent Assizes, were found guilty and
were hanged, protesting their innocence, on 8th March, 1830.

"In the report of Mrs. Edden's evidence (at the Assizes) no mention is
made of the vision." {144}

Here end our ghosts in courts of justice; the following ghost gave
evidence of a murder, or rather, confessed to one, but was beyond the
reach of human laws.

This tale of 1730 is still current in Highland tradition. It has,
however, been improved and made infinitely more picturesque by several
generations of narrators. As we try to be faithful to the best
sources, the contemporary manuscript version is here reprinted from
The Scottish Standard-Bearer, an organ of the Scotch Episcopalians
(October and November, 1894).


Account of an apparition that appeared to William Soutar, {145a} in
the Mause, 1730.

[This is a copy from that in the handwriting of Bishop Rattray,
preserved at Craighall, and which was found at Meikleour a few years
ago, to the proprietor of which, Mr. Mercer, it was probably sent by
the Bishop. - W. W. H., 3rd August, 1846.]

"I have sent you an account of an apparition as remarkable, perhaps,
as anything you ever heard of, and which, considered in all its
circumstances, leaves, I think, no ground of doubt to any man of
common-sense. The person to whom it appeared is one William Soutar, a
tenant of Balgowan's, who lives in Middle Mause, within about half a
mile from this place on the other side of the river, and in view from
our windows of Craighall House. He is about thirty-seven years of
age, as he says, and has a wife and bairns.

"The following is an account from his own mouth; and because there are
some circumstances fit to be taken in as you go along, I have given
them with reference at the end, {145b} that I may not interrupt the
sense of the account, or add anything to it. Therefore, it begins: -

"'In the month of December in the year 1728, about sky-setting, I and
my servant, with several others living in the town (farm-steading)
heard a scratching (screeching, crying), and I followed the noise,
with my servant, a little way from the town (farm-steading
throughout). We both thought we saw what had the appearance to be a
fox, and hounded the dogs at it, but they would not pursue it. {146a}

"'About a month after, as I was coming from Blair {146b} alone, about
the same time of the night, a big dog appeared to me, of a dark
greyish colour, between the Hilltown and Knockhead {146c} of Mause, on
a lea rig a little below the road, and in passing by it touched me
sonsily (firmly) on the thigh at my haunch-bane (hip-bone), upon which
I pulled my staff from under my arm and let a stroke at it; and I had
a notion at the time that I hit it, and my haunch was painful all that
night. However, I had no great thought of its being anything
particular or extraordinary, but that it might be a mad dog wandering.
About a year after that, to the best of my memory, in December month,
about the same time of the night and in the same place, when I was
alone, it appeared to me again as before, and passed by me at some
distance; and then I began to think it might be something more than

"'In the month of December, 1730, as I was coming from Perth, from the
Claith (cloth) Market a little before sky-setting, it appeared to me
again, being alone, at the same place, and passed by me just as
before. I had some suspicion of it then likewise, but I began to
think that a neighbour of mine in the Hilltown having an ox lately
dead, it might be a dog that had been at the carrion, by which I
endeavoured to put the suspicion out of my head.

"'On the second Monday of December, 1730, as I was coming from
Woodhead, a town (farm) in the ground of Drumlochy, it appeared to me
again in the same place just about sky-setting; and after it had
passed me as it was going out of my sight, it spoke with a low voice
so that I distinctly heard it, these words, "Within eight or ten days
do or die," and it thereupon disappeared. No more passed at that
time. On the morrow I went to my brother, who dwells in the Nether
Aird of Drumlochy, and told him of the last and of all the former
appearances, which was the first time I ever spoke of it to anybody.
He and I went to see a sister of ours at Glenballow, who was dying,
but she was dead before we came. As we were returning home, I desired
my brother, whose name is James Soutar, to go forward with me till we
should be passed the place where it used to appear to me; and just as
we had come to it, about ten o'clock at night, it appeared to me again
just as formerly; and as it was passing over some ice I pointed to it
with my finger and asked my brother if he saw it, but he said he did
not, nor did his servant, who was with us. It spoke nothing at that
time, but just disappeared as it passed the ice.

"'On the Saturday after, as I was at my own sheep-cots putting in my
sheep, it appeared to me again just after daylight, betwixt day and
skylight, and upon saying these words, "Come to the spot of ground
within half an hour," it just disappeared; whereupon I came home to my
own house, and took up a staff and also a sword off the head of the
bed, and went straight to the place where it used formerly to appear
to me; and after I had been there some minutes and had drawn a circle
about me with my staff, it appeared to me. And I spoke to it saying,
"In the name of God and Jesus Christ, what are you that troubles me?"
and it answered me, "I am David Soutar, George Soutar's brother.
{148a} I killed a man more than five-and-thirty years ago, when you
was new born, at a bush be-east the road, as you go into the Isle."
{148b} And as I was going away, I stood again and said, "David Soutar
was a man, and you appear like a dog," whereupon it spoke to me again,
saying, "I killed him with a dog, and therefore I am made to speak out
of the mouth of a dog, and tell you you must go and bury these bones".
Upon this I went straight to my brother to his house, and told him
what had happened to me. My brother having told the minister of
Blair, he and I came to the minister on Monday thereafter, as he was
examining in a neighbour's house in the same town where I live. And
the minister, with my brother and me and two or three more, went to
the place where the apparition said the bones were buried, when
Rychalzie met us accidentally; and the minister told Rychalzie the
story in the presence of all that were there assembled, and desired
the liberty from him to break up the ground to search for the bones.
Rychalzie made some scruples to allow us to break up the ground, but
said he would go along with us to Glasclune {149a}; and if he advised,
he would allow search to be made. Accordingly he went straight along
with my brother and me and James Chalmers, a neighbour who lives in
the Hilltown of Mause, to Glasclune, and told Glasclune the story as
above narrated; and he advised Rychalzie to allow the search to be
made, whereupon he gave his consent to it.

"'The day after, being Friday, we convened about thirty or forty men
and went to the Isle, and broke up the ground in many places,
searching for the bones, but we found nothing.

"'On Wednesday the 23rd December, about twelve o'clock, when I was in
my bed, I heard a voice but saw nothing; the voice said, "Come away".
{149b} Upon this I rose out of my bed, cast on my coat and went to the
door, but did not see it. And I said, "In the name of God, what do
you demand of me now?" It answered, "Go, take up these bones". I
said, "How shall I get these bones?" It answered again, "At the side
of a withered bush, {150} and there are but seven or eight of them
remaining". I asked, "Was there any more guilty of that action but
you?" It answered, "No". I asked again, "What is the reason you
trouble me?" It answered, "Because you are the youngest". Then said
I to it, "Depart from me, and give me a sign that I may know the
particular spot, and give me time". [Here there is written on the
margin in a different hand, "You will find the bones at the side of a
withered bush. There are but eight of them, and for a sign you will
find the print of a cross impressed on the ground."] On the morrow,
being Thursday, I went alone to the Isle to see if I could find any
sign, and immediately I saw both the bush, which was a small bush, the
greatest stick in it being about the thickness of a staff, and it was
withered about half-way down; and also the sign, which was about a
foot from the bush. The sign was an exact cross, thus X; each of the
two lines was about a foot and a half in length and near three inches
broad, and more than an inch deeper than the rest of the ground, as if
it had been pressed down, for the ground was not cut. On the morrow,
being Friday, I went and told my brother of the voice that had spoken
to me, and that I had gone and seen the bush which it directed me to
and the above-mentioned sign at it. The next day, being Saturday, my
brother and I went, together with seven or eight men with us, to the
Isle. About sun-rising we all saw the bush and the sign at it; and
upon breaking up the ground just at the bush, we found the bones,
viz., the chaft-teeth (jaw-teeth-molars) in it, one of the thigh
bones, one of the shoulder blades, and a small bone which we supposed
to be a collar bone, which was more consumed than any of the rest, and
two other small bones, which we thought to be bones of the sword-arm.
By the time we had digged up those bones, there convened about forty
men who also saw them. The minister and Rychalzie came to the place
and saw them.

"'We immediately sent to the other side of the water, to Claywhat,
{151} to a wright that was cutting timber there, whom Claywhat brought
over with him, who immediately made a coffin for the bones, and my
wife brought linen to wrap them in, and I wrapped the bones in the
linen myself and put them in the coffin before all these people, and
sent for the mort-cloth and buried them in the churchyard of Blair
that evening. There were near an hundred persons at the burial, and
it was a little after sunset when they were buried.'"

"This above account I have written down as dictated to me by William
Soutar in the presence of Robert Graham, brother to the Laird of
Balgowan, and of my two sons, James and John Rattray, at Craighall,
30th December, 1730.

"We at Craighall heard nothing of this history till after the search
was over, but it was told us on the morrow by some of the servants who
had been with the rest at the search; and on Saturday Glasclune's son
came over to Craighall and told us that William Soutar had given a
very distinct account of it to his father.

"On St. Andrew's Day, the 1st of December, this David Soutar (the
ghost) listed himself a soldier, being very soon after the time the
apparition said the murder was committed, and William Soutar declares
he had no remembrance of him till that apparition named him as brother
to George Soutar; then, he said, he began to recollect that when he
was about ten years of age he had seen him once at his father's in a
soldier's habit, after which he went abroad and was never more heard
of; neither did William ever before hear of his having listed as a
soldier, neither did William ever before hear of his having killed a
man, nor, indeed, was there ever anything heard of it in the country,
and it is not yet known who the person was that was killed, and whose
bones are now found.

"My son John and I went within a few days after to visit Glasclune,
and had the account from him as William had told him over. From
thence we went to Middle Mause to hear it from himself; but he being
from home, his father, who also lives in that town, gave us the same
account of it which Glasclune had done, and the poor man could not
refrain from shedding tears as he told it, as Glasclune told us his
son was under very great concern when he spoke of it to him. We all
thought this a very odd story, and were under suspense about it
because the bones had not been found upon the search.

"(Another account that also seems to have been written by the bishop

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