Jul 4 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
THE 23rd annual Stirling GhostWalk got underway yesterday (Tuesday).
Regular GhostWalk writer and performer, author David Kinnaird, is better known to locals and visitors as the ghoulish ‘Happy Hangman’, Jock Rankin, but he has decided to lay his infamous alter-ego to rest this summer.
David explained: “As regular audiences know, we produce a new script for performance every July and August. Even after 20 years of researching these shows we’re still finding new tales, and it seems a great waste not to give some of the more curious characters and legends an airing from time to time.
“Jock is probably our most popular character, and I have no doubt he’ll be back haunting the weird wynds of the Old Town in his one-man show in September, but there will be a whole host of new characters and stories to provide our promised ‘fear, fun and frights’ this year.”
Prompted in part by increased interest in magic and mythology in recent films and on TV, David added that a fresh look at some familiar tales threw up a few surprises.
He said: “Writing this year’s GhostWalk script, it occurred to me that all of the Old Town’s most famous female phantoms – the Green Lady, Black Lady and Blue Lady – all seem to be variations on older Faery archetypes: the death-bringing Bean Nighe; the vampiric Baobhan Sidhe (a nasty piece of work) and the chilling ‘Winter Queen’, the Cailleach Bheur.
“This will keep my colleague Patricia Brannigan happy – as she’s wanted to be a Faery since she was a little girl!”
Anyone expecting these ‘Faery Tales’ to be twee or childish would be mistaken, according to David, who stressed that the stories were taken extremely seriously in years gone by.
The writer continued: “Aberfoyle’s famous ‘Faery Minister’, the Reverend Robert Kirk – who, according to legend, was abducted by the ‘Good People’ for revealing their secrets in his 1691 book ‘The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Faunes and Fairies’ – will be on hand to protect patrons from peril, and maintain the mix of comedy, drama and story-telling which have made the Stirling GhostWalk a popular part of Old Town life (and death) for more than 20 years.”
“The shows are, after all, stories from the Stirling’s history, and its folklore, so it’s nice to see the good people of Stirling taking part in events which celebrate their heritage.”
The Stirling GhostWalk summer show, ‘GhostWalk 2012: The Return of Robert Kirk’ will run at 8.30pm from Tuesday to Saturday throughout July and August, meeting on St John Street, in front of the SYHA Hostel.
Tickets, priced £6 for adults and £4 for children and concessions, can be purchased from the cast from 8.15pm on each evening of performance – or, between 10am and 5pm, from the Visitor Information Centre next to the Old Town Jail.
David’s books ‘Haunted Stirling’ and ‘Auld Stirling Punishments’ are available from The History Press.
For further information contact Heritage Events on 01592 874449 or visit www.stirlingghostwalk.com