grew up in the Edinburgh suburb of Prestonfield built on lands once owned by
the Cameron Family. The focal point of the district was Cameron House, original
residence of the family after which it was named but now a university hostel
and social centre for the area. The house was allegedly haunted by The Green
Lady, everybody knew somebody who knew somebody who’d heard of somebody who
could have seen her.
It was around 1943 and night time blackouts were the order of the day
with air raid wardens patrolling looking for lights emitting to the streets
and yelling “Put out that light!” Thick blackout curtains were required in
Many of the women in Prestonfield were spiritualists and one night a week
the local Womens’ Guild met in one of the meeting rooms at Cameron House. This
was a large square room with windows on three sides and on the fourth a door
opening out into a corridor. Below each window was an old-fashioned steam radiator
with a wooden shelf above it, on each shelf stood a plaster of paris bust of
a famous Scot. At night the windows were shrouded by blackout curtains ... Thus
I set the scene.
As the ladies proceeded to the meeting room a couple of them got talking
about the previous night’s séance, another said. “Och, Betty dinnae tell me
Ye beleeve aw that daft stuff?” Betty replied, “Matter o’ fac’, Ah do, but
mind Ye if I e’er saw a spirit Ah’d run a mile.” Mrs C, another believer,
responded, “Och, would Ye, Betty? Uz fur me, Ah’d jist say ‘Goad bless Ye,
dae Ye want wi me? ”
They walked down the corridor illuminated by a single dim ceiling light.
Mrs C opened the door into the darkened room and immediately staggered back
screaming, “Oh, mah Goad! Oh, mah Goad!” then fell into a swoon into Betty’s
arms. With great trepidation one of the Guild members snuck a hand into the
and put on the lights revealing the apparition that had scared Mrs C half to
Remember those busts? Well when the caretaker had closed the curtains
he had left those opposite the door so that they draped around Sir Walter Scott.
In the gloomy light from the corridor Mrs C was confronted by a chalky white
face partially emerging from the black curtain. Poor woman forgot to say, “Goad
bless Ye, Friend” in her panic.
Betty herself told me the tale when I was
in my teens.