Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Curse of Alloa Tower

Alloa Tower in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, looms unhappily above its visitors. It has good reason to be unhappy: the hereditary curse upon the Erskines, Earls of May, has no equal as a prophecy of doom that came true almost to the last detail. What gives the curse its spine-tingling authenticity is the fact that it was well known long before the predictions came to pass.

The curse is a bit long, but here are the highlights:

The family would become extinct and their lands would be given to strangers; an Erskine would see his house burnt and his wife would die in the fire; horses would be stabled in the Great Hall; but when an ash sapling grew from the topmost stone of the tower, the curse would have run its course.

All these things came to pass, including the ash sapling which appeared between 1815 and 1820. Simon Marsden's photograph captures the unhappy atmosphere surrounding the tower to perfection.

If you'd like to read more of Alloa Tower and its curse-- along with all the histories and photographs of the other buildings in the book, find yourself a copy of The Haunted Realm: Ghosts, Spirits and Their Uncanny Abodes by Simon Marsden. The book cover you see to the left is from my personal copy of the 1987 edition. It has been updated and can be found at Amazon as well as Sir Marsden's own website and archive-- where you will also be able to find other items that just might tickle your fancy.


  1. I loved that image (I generally like black/white images of decaying or scary buildings) and the stories sounds good - an appropiate too - considering the season :-)

  2. A perfect post for the upcoming Halloween, especially that it's actually true. I will have to reach for the book since the Curse of Alloa Tower got me intrigued.

  3. Now this Tower is one I don't want to go into

  4. Louise--I thought they were perfect for the season, so I brought out my copy of the book and asked Sir Marsden for permission to use a few of his photographs. :)

    Lilly-- It's a fun book to read, between the history and the photographs.

    Ryan-- I think I'd be content to stay outside myself! LOL

  5. that happens to be my ancestral home. great.

  6. Ask330-- My ancestral home in Yorkshire has some ghosts, but I don't know of any curses. And if Alloa Tower is your ancestral home, the curse didn't work... your family wasn't completely decimated! :)


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