Welcome to another pick of the Highlights of our #SuperstitionSat Sessions. Yesterday (23/04/22), our theme looked at the superstitions that we tell about our historical buildings, castles and other heritage sites such as standing stones, monuments and many more!
The first Highlight was an intriguing story about Edinburgh Castle, as shared by SamanthaSL. It is said that once upon a time, a piper drew the short straw and got sent deep into the castle’s underground tunnels, which were rumoured to connect the clifftop heritage site to Holyrood Palace, about two miles away. In an attempt to determine how far these ancient passages zigzagged, the piper agreed to keep playing to let those left above ground know his whereabouts. Thus, the sound of his bagpipes went on, and on, and on… until they suddenly stopped near the old church of Tron Kirk on the Royal Mile. Frantic rescue attempts were made to find the lost and silent bagpiper – yet, there was no trace left of him, and so the tunnels were sealed. To this day the story lives on, told by many guides around the city and the castle itself – questionably claiming that the eerie sound of distant bagpipes can still be heard late at night, somewhere below the streets of Edinburgh!
Another castle tale reached us from Norway, as told by Titania – this time, of a fairy tale castle made famous by writers Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe through their book Norske Folkeeventyr (Norwegian Folktales). According to the story, Soria Moria is a golden castle in the sky that appears to travellers as a shimmer that keeps on glowing – but no matter how far you have walked, you can never reach it. Similar to the archetype of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, Soria Moria symbolises the dream of attaining prosperity, success and perfect happiness in life. The idea of a glowing castle in the distance seemed like a beautiful metaphor, so thank you for sharing this, Titania!
Our last Highlight was from Rachel Deering, who told one of my favourite superstitions about stone circles: that no matter how many times you try to count the magical stones, you shall always get different numbers. One such tale is told about the aptly named “Countless Stones” in Aylesford, Kent – also known as Little Kit’s Coty House. As Rachel shared, it is said that a baker tried putting an end to these mysterious miscounts by placing a loaf of bread atop each rock of this collapsed long barrow. When he went and checked the total, a loaf seemed to be missing and the baker found the Devil sitting in its place! A less devilish version says that there was no Devil, but instead an extra loaf. Oh, nice! Free bread!
If you would like to read more about this phenomenon of countless stones and have access to the Folklore Journal, there is an article on Volume 86 from 1975.
That is all for today! I hope you enjoyed this theme, because I had been looking forward to it. Next week (30/04/22), we shall be celebrating superstitions of
MAY DAY & BELTANE
That’s another favourite theme from me, before I head for a seasonal break, as there will be no #SuperstitionSat Session the following week (07/05/22). But that’s still a ways away, so I hope you will join us on the 30th because whether you’re old, new or just passing through, your presence is very much appreciated and I am glad to see you stop by.
Thank you for participating and reading!
– Superstition Sam 🐾