Gather in close humans, there is a spooky tale to be told and we don’t want the ghouls to hear. Nicki, Hannah and our junior reporters Hollie and Jenna (both aged 11) pulled on their protection spells and braved the horrors of Hallowe’en to bring you news from the Spirits of Scone.
Picture the scene; the night is cauldron-black, the air is heavy with the smell of decaying leaves, children’s screams and whispers of fire-pit smoke. Jack o’ Lanterns line forest paths, and in the darkest of wooded corners there lurks ghouls and witches and spirits from the past just waiting to spin their gruesome tales of folklore, spooks and untimely deaths.
We arrived ready for the challenge; one Hermione shaped witch equipped with wand, and a dead bride already bleeding from the eyes. The palace had taken on an eerie light, with fire eaters protecting the doors, and the reassuring squawk of peacocks silenced by the spirits, the crowning place of Scottish Kings had taken on a whole new atmosphere.
Starting at the gothic chapel, an eerie red light glowed down over Moot Hill and it was in this historic room we encountered our first spirit and the tales of folklore and witchcraft began – but was our storyteller really who she claimed to be?
The walk was peppered with screams and ghouls, beams of light stretched up the trunks of the ancient trees and golden leaves crunched underfoot as we cautiously worked our way around the stunning grounds and terrifying sights. Fright-soaked adrenalin pounded through our veins and our ghoul radar was heightened for the duration of our tour – turns out Small City Hannah has a rather blood curdling scream when she’s terrified!
Pitched as a ‘thrilling illuminated tour around the Palace Grounds’ we were prepared for a few spooky stories, a pumpkin or two and perhaps a few screams along the way. What we didn’t anticipate was the deeply macabre characters brought to life so gruesomely by the fantastic Ad Lib theatre group and NL Productions. Without giving too much away, steel your nerves for encounters with a white eyed witch, a shockingly fearless graveyard worker and a ferocious, cannibal butcher.
For me, the spectacular sight of Scone Palace cemetery, thick with smog, graves blistering with ghoulish green lights, was the highlight - and not just because my brave Hermione accepted the challenge to stand on the scared-to-death Jack’s grave! Although a very close second would be the transformed Murray Maze – home to aforementioned butcher and lurking spot for an array of chilling characters who patiently lay in wait around the many autumn hedge-trimmed corners.
The team at Scone Palace have created a fantastic family event with Spirits of Scone; the kids loved it, we loved it and it came with just the right balance of horror-scape, squeals, scares and fun. With that said, it was a welcome relief to clambour out of the maze and enjoy stick of marshmallows toasted in a real fire-pit. We’d survived to tell the tale and could relax, safe in the knowledge that the last ghoul had been spotted, the last witch avoided… Maybe!
You’ve been warned!
Tickets start at £5. Available here. At time of going to press there were tickets remaining for the weekend. Spirits of Scone 2017 runs from 26th - 31st October
There is also a ghoulish selection of hot and cold food available. All children must be accompanied by an adult and, due to the nature of this event, it is not suitable for children under the age of eight.
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