Oct 26 2011 By Carla Callaghan
WITH the celebration of Halloween just days away, renowned journalist, and author Roddy Martine talks about his new book, Haunted Scotland, his supernatural experiences and strangely enough being able to meet his grace, King James IV of
Born in Sarawak, Borneo, Roddy spent most of his life in
The former Scottish Field editor who is author of 24 books was asked how he would feel writing about the supernatural, this stirred his curiosity in the somewhat unknown world of ghosts, spectres and apparitions. And in his books, Supernatural Scotland and Haunted Scotland, he delves into the explanations of these mysteries and why they happen, exploring the ideas of time slips, reincarnation and passages of time.
Retaining a cynical view on such things due to his vocation as a journalist, Roddy asks people to keep an open mind when reading his work and indeed any publications about the supernatural.
Over the years, and having various supernatural experiences, the writer’s cynicism of the supernatural has faded.
Born to a mother who was the seventh child of a seventh child (a common belief that the child would have psychic ability) Roddy’s knowledge of the unknown or supernatural was instilled from an early age, and this knowledge gave him the power to not be scared by ghosts.
He says: “She used to have premonitions about things. It was something I grew up taking for granted; it wasn’t any big deal as far as I was concerned. I never thought of ghosts as particularly threatening or frightening – infact I found it rather reassuring.
“When I edited Scottish Field in the late seventies and eighties, I had amazing opportunities to visit places and meet people. Inevitably in
After writing books on all manner of Scottish subjects including clans and tartans, Roddy’s agent approached him with a slightly different idea – what about writing a supernatural book?
With a keen interest in Scottish history and having shared his home with a young ghost named Edward, Roddy was well-equipped to write his first book of that nature which was titled Supernatural Scotland.
Speaking about the book, he says: “When I did that, I travelled around, met a lot of people and gathered together a lot of anecdotes and stories which I found fascinating and I collated them together – and I thought, I’ve got enough material to do a follow-up book and that’s how Haunted Scotland came into being.
“I didn’t want to go into the darker reaches of the occult as I think you are playing with fire there – you can get your fingers burned very easily, and I know people who have.
“I fully embrace the idea that there are parallel worlds and a lot of the experiences we have are time slips – it is all about electricity and energy, and when dramatic things have happened in the past they tend to come back to haunt us in a gentle way.”
And what about the non-believers out there? Or the people simply just too frightened to believe such ghostly activity really does go on? Do we really need an explanation for events that happen in life or can we just put it down to the supernatural.
Roddy explains: “What I am saying is that there is such a lot going on that you cannot explain, relax a bit about it and don’t challenge it too much, but at the same time you think ‘there has to be something more’.
“The more stories and anecdotes I collated, the more I became convinced there was something going on.
“The people we love are never far from us, even though they have departed this earthly paradise. I think it is quite a comforting thing – I don’t think people should be frightened of ghosts, spectres or apparitions, I think we should just accept that it is part of living.
“I think that the more scientific discoveries throw up at us, the more questions we need to ask – look at what is going on at the moment with quantum physics, where it appears you can now travel faster than the speed of light, which is quite an extraordinary revelation.
“When you look at it – the scientific advances of the last thirty years have been astounding. If you go back to the Victorian times or earlier and you think about travelling to the moon, talking on the telephone or sending images with a mobile phone – you would have been burned for witchcraft probably!”
Throughout Haunted Scotland, tales of individual’s experiences of ghostly apparitions are documented with great detail. And after attending one of Roddy’s talks, it appears that people feel comfortable telling him of their experiences, or at least hinting of them.
He says: “I think all of us at moments in our lives have had some sort of experience which we find possibly disturbing, possibly comforting but we just don’t quite understand what it is all about.
“Everywhere I go, people have these stories or anecdotes that they want to tell me about, but when I turn round and say ‘That’s a terrific story, might I use that?’ they say ‘Yes but don’t mention my name because my friends will think I am mad’. There is an awful lot of censorship in life – people are very nervous of being thought to be fools.”
And does the author of two great supernatural books ever have doubts that such unworldly, elements actually exist?
Roddy says: “I am just curious, I am not one hundred percent convinced but I am about ninety percent. There are always doubts but there is far too much evidence out there.
“I am sure in about twenty to thirty years time, we will understand a lot more about this – parallel worlds, which kind of fits in with the concept of black holes in space.”
If he was in any doubt about supernatural forces, a strange experience at
The author who is substantial in height, recalled a hostile presence at the Goblin Ha – a vaulted chamber below the castle where he felt immense pressure on this body and face.
He says: “
Through his books, Roddy has been able to meet some influential characters whose stories contributed to the completion of his book and had a great impact on his life.
Meeting King James IV, who died in 15 13, was a personal highlight of Roddy’s – the dead king, reincarnated as Edinburgh-based playwright, A.J Stewart.
Roddy says: “I have been very privileged to have met people like Swein MacDonald, the Highland Seer, A.J Stewart who believes she is the reincarnation of King James the fourth. And the various people I met whilst doing Haunted Scotland – Gordon McNeill-Wilkie for example, who died this year – I was completely shocked about that, he definitely had occult talents.
“You meet these people in life and you learn an awful lot from them.
“I have loved every minute of researching these books simply because of people like that who have come into my life.”