Strange Roman Apparitions in Strathearn

Ardoch Roman Fort  and more about the Romans

A few years ago photographs were taken of a ruined farm house near the camp which was being renovated . It is a curious fact that when they were developed the form of a legionary  appeared in every one !

Another Roman tale of the para normal was recounted to me by the occupant olf the little cottage at the foot of the path up to Baird’s Monument ( Tom na Chastille ) . Apparently a damp patch appeared on the upper wall of the sitting room despite there being no heavy rain for some time . It appeared  like rising damp but being at ceiling level was obviously not . Investigation failed to reveal any missing slates or evidence of where rain could have got in .When it dried out the unmistakable picture of a Roman soldier could  be made out . Coincidence that it transpired there had been  a Roman camp at Monzievaird ( The Quoigs ) ! Coincidence ?

The late Archie McKerracher the well known and excellent author from Dunblane recounts this strange tale. In 1974 he was living in a new housing estate on a hill above Dunblane . He was working late one September night when he went outside for some fresh air  . It was clear frosty night with not  a sound to be heard anywhere . As he turned to go back indoors , he heard a strange noise coming across the fields  to the south . It sounded like a large number of people on the move with feint voices rising and falling . He listened in puzzlement , then decided his imagination  was playing tricks  and went inside . He could not , however , get the matter out of his mind and some twenty minutes later went back outside .

The noise was much louder and was now passing immediately behind the house on the other side of the street . He felt the skin rise from his scalp and his hair bristle. He could now make out individual voices but could not understand what they were saying .He could make out the sound of the tramp of marching feet  and the jingle of what sounded like weapons and armour .

The noise went on and on until he turned inside and went straight to bed .He had been convinced that he had been overworking and put the experience from his mind  until a week later when he called on an elderly couple  who had moved in further up the street . He was talking to the man   when their dog rose up to stretch “ Sit down “ its mistress commanded “ You’re seeing things
again “. 

“ What things ? “ he asked .
“ Well the strangest thing happened last week “, she replied.” We were sitting  up reading about 1 am  when the cat and dog suddenly woke up . They stood bolt upright with all their hair bristling up their backs and seemed to watch something crossing the lounge for about twenty minutes . They were terrified “.

When he questioned them further, he was astonished to learn this strange episode had taken place on the same night and precisely the same time that he had heard the invisible army pass by . He was aware from his research that the housing estate was built on the site of two large Roman marching camps . Old aerial photographs clearly showed the outlines of the camps and they also showed the line of the Roman road which ran directly north behind the houses on the other side of his street. Archie McKerracher concluded this extraordinary tale by saying that many years later, he had been giving a history talk to a local club when on concluding a lady came up to him and commented that she had not appreciated that the Romans had come as far north as this . Then she added “ I wonder if it was the ghost of a Roman Army I heard “ When asked what she meant she replied that she was putting the cat out at night when she had heard what sounded like an army passing through her back garden. She had moved into a house opposite where Archie McKerracher had once lived and it turned out that this had occurred at 1 am on the same date in September that he had his experience some ten years earlier  !

As an epilogue to this tale , he had further researched the information pertaining to this period of Roman occupation in the area . In AD 117 the Caledonian tribes rose in revolt and destroyed the small Roman garrisons .Hadrian had sent the lX Hispanic Legion from York  to subdue the tribes .This unit had been known as the Unlucky Ninth ever since in 60 AD it had been responsible for flogging the captured Iceni Queen Boadicea and raping her daughters . The Queen had cursed the legion to eternity  and it was cut to pieces when she led all the tribes in revolt . It was the lX Legion who marched into Scotland in the autumn of 117 AD  and from there vanished  from the face of the earth !

Small addendum : The road junction on the Crianlarich / Killin road  happens to be called Lix Toll . Lix ?  The L = legion and lX = Ninth !!


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