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Lochmaben Castle

Dating from the 13th century, Lochmaben Castle, which is now a ruin, was built by King Edward I of England (Born 17 June 1239 – Died 7 July 1307) replacing the earlier 12th century Bruce motte and bailey castle. The de Brus or Bruce family, the Lords of Annandale, moved to Lochmaben following the ruination of Annan Castle.

As there is potentially a very old vampire link to Annan Castle, there is a story that the area around Lochmaben Castle is also the haunt of a vampire. The following article by Craig Robertson entitled 'Ghosthunter claims he saw a vampire in Lochmaben' was published in the Dumfries Standard on 29 October 2010.

TOM Robertson insists it was a vampire he saw in Lochmaben.

Yes, the sleepy village is home to a bloodthirsty ghoul straight out a horror movie he says.

And it lives in the woods next to the ruins of Lochmaben Castle.

Tom – the Indiana Jones of the afterlife – tells the story of his unbelievable but frightening encounter in a new book.

Ghosthunter: Adventures in the Afterlife was co-written with journalist Murray Scougall and features a string of similar tales of his ghosthunting exploits from across Scotland.

But it is the incident in Lochmaben from 1991 which is the most fascinating – and it even has a link to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Bizzare, weird? Not half.

Lanarkshire-based Tom explains how he had been approached in 1991 from locals who were worried about animal carcasses being found in the woods at the castle.

He decided to spend the night there in his car and visited with wife Margaret - who wisely stayed in the car as Tom went walking in the woods where he saw his “vampire”.

He said: “Just 15ft or so away stood the most hideous sight - a walking, decomposing corpse.

“Its face was as grey as granite, its eyes as black as coal. The skin seemed transparent except for the purple veins protruding from the creature’s dead, withered tissue. It was tall but round-shouldered and a hood was pulled over its head, dressed in sacking.

“Vampire. The word popped into my head.

“The creature suddenly took flight, springing up on to a branch and gliding from tree to tree like Tarzan on steroids.

“I was worried about Margaret sitting alone in the car, so I forced myself to move faster.

“I unlocked the door, started the engine and put my foot down on the pedal to get away.”

Tom’s wife would then go on to suffer from a series of strokes which forced Tom to give us his ghosthunting to care for her.

But when she died eight years later, he returned to Lochmaben.

He said: “I camped out in the woods. It was nearing dawn. I had seen nothing. I walked some distance. Then I noticed a shadow.

“It was the vampire - stooped over like a hunchback.

“It stopped and turned its head towards me. It glared at me with evil intensity. This grotesque beast looked like it had crawled out of the grave.”

Tom said a journalist friend printed a story about his experience but then a letter arrived in the post with a New Orleans postmark – it was woman called Mary Grant who had read the article and was asking if Tom could catch it alive.

Then in November 2002, he said the phone rang and a American accent was on the other end.

The voice said: “This is your little friend. I hope you can help me. You’ll have got the letters from Mary. I really need help – please.’

Tom went on: “The voice was effeminate, almost child-like - familiar to me – but I couldn’t place it.

“I asked who it was, then the line went dead. I knew I had recognised the voice. It was Wacko Jacko.

“Had a team of crackpots been hired by Jackson to help give him the gift of eternal life?

“Jackson and his team must have thought that by taking blood from the vampire, a creature that had lived for hundreds of years, they’d transfer the regenerative cells to Michael to make an attempt at granting eternal life.”

Tom added: “I never went back to Lochmaben. Nor should you. There is a creature slinking around in those woods, baying for blood.”

Though Mr Robertson said in the article above that he would not return to Lochmaben, that changed in 2012. Sandy Kilpatrick updates the story in a 24 February 2012 Dumfries Standard article entitled 'Ghost Hunters sink teeth into vampire investigation'.

PARANORMAL investigators are sinking their teeth into a new hunt for the supernatural.

Members of Dumfries-based Mostly Ghostly plan to look into claims of a vampire haunting Lochmaben Castle ruins.

And they have enlisted the help of ghost hunter Tom Robertson who claimed to have encountered the creature in 1991 and later wrote a book on the experience.

Kathleen Cronie, founding member of Mostly Ghostly, said: “With any investigation there’s a level of anxiety, excitement and nervousness.

“We’d heard rumours about the Lochmaben vampire 10 years ago but nothing ever came about it until Tom’s book came out. It’s a creepy tale and we’re glad to have Tom on board.

“Lochmaben Castle is a place we’ve been around before because of the history.

“We’re called Mostly Ghostly and we are mainly concerned with hauntings but carrying out an investigation to other supernatural incidents won’t be too different.

“I’m not saying we believe in vampires or know what this creature is but that’s how Tom described it.”

Mr Robertson, from Biggar, tracked down the grotesque “hunchbacked” creature after being contacted by locals who found animal carcasses drained of blood in the wood.

He described the vampire as being tall but hunchbacked; dressed in sacking and wearing a hood. It has a grey face; black eyes; and transparent skin except for its purple veins.

Legends state the castle, owned by the Bruce family sheltered a traveller during the night who later bit one of the family members.

Mr Robertson, who previously vowed never to return to Lochmaben, has offered to help the Dumfries group.

“There is a creature slinking around in those woods, baying for blood.

“Mostly Ghostly are a bit apprehensive. I’m looking forward to coming along to make sure it’s safe enough before they carry out their own work.”

The team hopes to carry out the investigation in spring.

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