26 October 2019
'It's much scarier this year Nicki' was my warning from Scone Palace when I called to say I'd be bringing my neices. We decided at 13 years old they'd be suitably terrified but would probably still sleep okay for the rest of their lives.
This is the fourth year Scone Palace has pulled a cloak of darkness across its grounds for Spirits of Scone, and each year has become more and more terrifying. Encouraged to gather only my most fearless friends and family we were promised a terrifying tour that we'd never have experienced before...
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 lurk ghouls, witches and spirits from the past, all waiting to lure you further into the woods with gruesome tales of folklore, spooks and untimely deaths.
We arrived ready for the challenge; the crowning place of Scottish Kings had taken on a whole new atmosphere with the palace itself standing in a demonic red light, dancers and a towering, wavering queen protecting the doors, and screams of children silenced by the spirits coming out from the woods.
An eerie green light glowed down from the chapel and onto Moot Hill and it was just past this historic scene that we encountered our first spirit and the tales of folklore and witchcraft began. The storytelling yurt beckoned us in where a mystical woman set the scene with a spooky tale.
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 Nicki has a rather blood curdling scream when she’s terrified!
The deeply macabre characters brought to life so gruesomely by the fantastic actors were pulled from the dark corners of folklore and film, and without giving too much away, my advice is to steel your nerves for encounters with Jason, a gruesome fortune teller and horror struck cheerleader!
For me, the screams coming from Murray Maze as we queued to be terrified were some of the most frightening. Real, human noises lifting into the smoggy night as an array of chilling characters patiently lay in wait around the corners of the autumnal hedges.
The team at Scone Palace have created a fantastic family event with Spirits of Scone; the teenagers 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 £8. At time of going to press there were tickets remaining for the weekend. Spirits of Scone 2019 runs from 25th - 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.
Ian Potter of Lightpress Design and Media is a local photographer with a ghoulish fascination for horror films and a passion for local events and community.