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Supernatural Scotland by Roddy Martine is published by Robert Hale,

Copies, £16.99 from bookshops.

Roddy Martine has embarked upon a personal odyssey in search of the inexplicable and bizarre in every corner of Scotland.

Amongst the dozens of incidents recorded, the author tells us of the hostile presence at the Goblin Ha', the 37ft vaulted chamber below the ruins of Yester Castle, which exerted enormous pressure on his chest and legs forcing him backwards - as well as extinguishing a torch and terrifying a dog.

He investigates the mystery surrounding the burial of David Riccio, the murdered secretary of Mary Queen of Scots, meets His Grace James IV, King of Scots, reborn as the playwright A.J. Stewart, and reveals the terrible repercussions following attempts to remove the cylindrical stones that have sat on the grave of the Chief of the Shaws at the Doune of Rothiemurchus for 600 years.

We are chilled by tales of ghostly bagpipe music heard coming from Allenvale Cemetary in Aberdeen at midnight on Hogmanay, and intrigued by the controlling influence of the Jacobite songwriter Ldy Nairne which lingers on at Ardblair Castle in Perthshire.

The supernatural is a global subject, and by concentrating on Scotland with its limited land mass, its dark and turbulent history and climatic landscape, a pattern emerges which can be translated to anywhere at any time. For this book, the most unlikely people have come forward with their stories. As the body of material has grown in volume, so has the realisation that there is far more to our day-to-day existence on this earth than the majority of us appreciate, or are prepared to admit. In the realms of the supernatural, who is to say what is real and what is not?

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