History of Leith, Edinburgh

January 2, 2012

Horrible apparition

According to the superstition of the time the earth and air all over Scotland teemed with strange omens of the impending strife, and in a rare old tract, of 1650, we are told of the alarm created In the fortress by the appearance of a ” horrible apparition ” beating upon a drum. On a dark night the sentinel, under the shadow of the gloomy, half-moon, wasalarmed by the beating of a drum upon the esplanade and the tread cf marching feet, on which he fired his musket. Col. Dundas hurried forth, but he saw nothing upon the bleak expanse, the site of the now demolished Spur.
The sentinel was t r u n c h e o n e d , and another put in his place, ‘ to whom the same thing happened, and he, too, fired his musket, affirming that he heard the tread of soldiers marching to the tuck of drum. To Dundas nothing was visible, nothing audible but the moan of the autumn wind. He took a musket and the post of sentinel. Anon he heard the old Scots march, beaten by an invisible drummer, who came close up to the gate; then came other sounds—the tramp of many feet and clank of accoutrements; still nothing was visible, till the whole impalpable array seemed to halt
close by Dundas, who was bewildered with consternation. Again a drum was heard beating the English, and then the French march, when the alarm ended; but the next drums that were beaten there were those of Oliver Cromwell.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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