Monasteries being haunted by monsters is a rare occurrence, not just in Scotland but according to legend that is exactly what had happened here in Beauly.
The Eaglais Mhòr na Manachain, the big church of the monastery, was believed to be haunted by some horrific creature and „none who went to watch the churchyard or burial-places within the church ever came back alive.”(1)
Who would dare to go and face the unspeakable now?
It was of course a tailor; it always is the tailors in the old tales that are clever and brave. This particular one from Beauly decided to stay on the graveyard for various night to sew a pair of trousers.
A bright full moon shone on his first night on the graveyard and when the bells chimed for midnight, a horrible grey head emerged from a grave. The Spòg Liath (Grey Paw) looked at the tailor with dead eyes and started talking to him. Whenever the tailor spoke, the creature remained still, but as soon as the tailor drew his breath, the grisly grey figure got bigger and bigger, telling him how hungry it was. While talking, the tailor continued with his handywork. Just as the creature emerged fully and stretched its bony hand towards its victim, now only inches away, the tailor finished the last stich and ran to the door, making a very narrow escape. Apparently, traces of the beast’s claws could be seen for many years on the church’s door frame.
(1) Ronald Black (ed.): The Gaelic Otherworld. John Georgson Campbell’s Superstitions of the Highlands & Islands of Scotland and Witchcraft & Second Sight in the Highlands & Islands. Edinburgh, Birlinn Origin; 2019
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