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Pearlin Jean

Scary Books: The Haunters & The Haunted

It was Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, the antiquary, who furnished this

account of Pearlin Jean's hauntings at Allanbank.

"In my youth," he says, "Pearlin Jean was the most remarkable ghost in

Scotland, and my terror when a child. Our old nurse, Jenny Blackadder,

had been a servant at Allanbank, and often heard her rustling in silks

up and down stairs, and along the passages. She never saw her; but her

d did.

"She was a French woman, whom the first baronet of Allanbank, then Mr

Stuart, met with at Paris, during his tour to finish his education as a

gentleman. Some people said she was a nun; in which case she must have

been a Sister of Charity, as she appears not to have been confined to a

cloister. After some time, young Stuart either became faithless to the

lady or was suddenly recalled to Scotland by his parents, and had got

into his carriage at the door of the hotel, when his Dido unexpectedly

made her appearance, and stepping on the forewheel of the coach to

address her lover, he ordered the postilion to drive on; the consequence

of which was that the lady fell, and one of the wheels going over her

forehead, killed her.

"In a dusky autumnal evening, when Mr Stuart drove under the arched

gateway of Allanbank, he perceived Pearlin Jean sitting on the top, her

head and shoulders covered with blood.

"After this, for many years, the house was haunted; doors shut and

opened with great noise at midnight; the rustling of silks and pattering

of high-heeled shoes were heard in bedrooms and passages. Nurse Jenny

said there were seven ministers called in together at one time to _lay_

the spirit; 'but they did no mickle good, my dear.'

"The picture of the ghost was hung between those of her lover and his

lady, and kept her comparatively quiet; but when taken away, she became

worse-natured than ever. This portrait was in the present Sir J.G.'s

possession. I am unwilling to record its fate.

"The ghost was designated Pearlin, from always wearing a great quantity

of that sort of lace.

"Nurse Jenny told me that when Thomas Blackadder was her lover (I

remember Thomas very well), they made an assignation to meet one

moonlight night in the orchard at Allanbank. True Thomas, of course, was

the first comer; and seeing a female figure in a light-coloured dress,

at some distance, he ran forward with open arms to embrace his Jenny;

when lo and behold! as he neared the spot where the figure stood, it

vanished; and presently he saw it again at the very end of the orchard,

a considerable way off. Thomas went home in a fright; but Jenny, who

came last, and saw nothing, forgave him, and they were married.

"Many years after this, about the year 1790, two ladies paid a visit at

Allanbank--I think the house was then let--and passed the night there.

They had never heard a word about the ghost; but they were disturbed the

whole night with something walking backwards and forwards in their

bed-chamber. This I had from the best authority."

To this account may be added that a housekeeper, called Betty Norrie,

who, in more recent times, lived many years at Allanbank, positively

averred that she, and many other persons, had frequently seen Pearlin

Jean; and, moreover, stated that they were so used to her as to be no

longer alarmed at the noises she made.