Over twenty years ago, Marshal Alan Brooke’s descendants invited me to their castle in Northern Ireland. Theirs was a courageous and enterprising household; they had decided to restore the family domain and open it to the public. They were endearing, welcoming, intelligent and warm. The surprising thing is that I cannot remember the name of that castle: the family owned two. In any case, I learned the story of the ghost that haunted the place.
During the 17th century, the house belonged to a lord who was very well versed in the occult. He had extraordinary powers that he used only for his own good or that of others. Could he have been the one who set in motion the strange phenomenon that reappeared during my visit? Every evening, dozens of crows would circle above the castle. None of them, however, touched the seedlings or plants; they seemed to be showing that they were protecting the area.
The ghost itself was a different story. The 17th century castellan magician had shared a good number of his secrets and powers with a faithful chambermaid. When he died, she left the area and settled in Edinburg, where she took up working for a considerably well-off family. Then, one day, someone realised that all of the silverware in the house had been stolen. For some reason, the young woman was accused. She was imprisoned, judged, found guilty and condemned to hang. So she requested a grace period. Locked up in her cell, she used her powers to see the future that she had learned from the castellan magician. She called in the judges and told them to go to a certain house at a specific address that belonged to one of the servants of the wealthy theft victims. She described the house and the hiding place where the stolen silverware supposedly was. The police went there and did indeed find the stolen silverware. The chambermaid was declared innocent and released. As she was leaving the prison one of the policemen asked her, “But how did you find the identity of the guilty person and the place of the crime?” The chambermaid had to tell the truth: she had used her magic powers. She was not hung, but instead burnt at the stake for being a witch.