In the wee small hours of the morning the tragic figure of Janet Dalrymple haunts the ruins of her death place. Her nightgown splashed in her bridegroom’s blood, she wanders the ancient castle, perhaps reliving the path to her insanity and trapped within its horror.
Janet had loved the penniless Archibald, third Lord Rutherford though her parents forbade a union. Forced by duty to her parents to marry David Dunbar, the heir to Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon, she acquiesced in a ceremony at Carsecleugh Castle, her family home.
The honeymoon couple didn't quite hit it off, though there are rumors of what actually happened that night the facts are that the door was broken down by relatives when hearing screams from the bridal chamber. Inside, they found Dunbar lying on the floor, blood streaming from his body from stab wounds and Janet huddled in a chimney corner. Her bedclothes had been drenched in blood and her mind tortured with madness. Did she stab her husband when he had forced his “rights as husband”? Did the lovelorn Archibald attack Dunbar after hiding in the shadows? Or is it possible that local tradition is correct when saying the Devil had stabbed Dunbar and drove Janet to insanity?
While Dunbar recovered from his wounds, Janet did not escape the shock of the night. She died shortly afterwards on September 12th, 1669. Dunbar refused to discuss the nights tragedy so we are left with a mystery and madness to walk the silent ruins of Baldoon Castle on soft summer nights.
by Stacey Graham (WyntersMoon@theshadowlands.net)
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