The Devil Plays Cards at Glamis Castle
Alexander Lyon, 2nd Lord Glamis (c.1430-86), alias Earl Beardie, was a horrible man. He drank heavily, was cruel to everyone, and prone to violence. He was also an unrepentant gambler. One Saturday night, he was enjoying a drunken game of cards at Glamis Castle with his friend, the Earl of Crawford, when his servant interrupted to warn the men that, as midnight approached, it would soon be the Sabbath, when games were forbidden. Furious at this insolent interjection, Earl Beardie roared ‘I will play until doomsday!’, flinging the unfortunate servant from the room. Midnight approached, and still they played on.
At five minutes to midnight, the servant tried once more to stop his master from sinning. This time, Earl Beardie fumed ‘I will play with The Devil himself!’ As the bell tower pealed to announce the arrival of midnight, there came a knock at the chamber door. A tall gentleman dressed all in black asked to join the game. They played through the night, and loud shouting and swearing echoed through the castle’s ancient corridors. The servant was too scared to interrupt again, and spent a restless night interrupted by hellish roars and blasphemous oaths from Earl Beardie’s rooms.
At dawn, the servant returned again to see if Earl Beardie required anything. What he saw in the room made his heart skip a beat. Beardie and Crawford were still sat at the card table, but engulfed in a ball of flame. The mysterious stranger looked on, unharmed, in sneering amusement. As you have probably guessed, the new card player was The Devil, and the two men had foolishly gambled with their own souls. Earl Beardie’s ghost is still seen at Glamis Castle, haplessly trying to win his soul back and to escape from the pit of hell.