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Ghosts and Superstitions Scare The Men In Kilts Out of Them! And Exclusive Interview

This week, Men In Kilts took a walk over to the supernatural side – ghosts and cemeteries, witch hunts, pagan ceremonies. This was my favorite episode so far, as I am definitely a believer in energy from the beyond (Abraham Lincoln’s wife Mary once appeared to me, from the top of the staircase in their home, and told me she didn’t like all those people in her house). Graham startles easily – that was quite fun! Of course, we saw plenty of Outlander clips mixed in, because Diana has embraced the supernatural and superstitious side of Scotland –  so it was probably more appropriate even than previous episodes to include the other show!

And be sure to read our exclusive interview below with Jamie Corstorphine, who scared Graham in the cemetery, and his wife Charlotte Golledge, the Death Historian who led Sam and Graham through Greyfriar’s! Jamie and Charlotte will also be our guests on the Outlander Gab – Men In Kilts Edition internet radio show this Tuesday night – you won’t want to miss what they have to say.

Behind the Scenes – The Man In the Plague Mask

What a fun way to open this week’s show! And if you think the masked figure scaring the heck out of Graham was scripted, you would be wrong. I had a wonderful chat late last night and this morning with Jamie Corstorphine, the man behind the mask – and the fright was all Sam’s idea. Jamie joined my Facebook group, Outlandishly Three If By Space, and commented on a post that he was in this episode. Never one to miss an opportunity, I offered to video his segment on the episode (with my phone, from my TV) when it came out late last night since he is in Scotland and has no access to see it, and he gave me the scoop on his star turn. His wife Charlotte was the “death historian” who actually led Sam and Graham through famous Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, “the most haunted cemetery in Scotland.”

 

Jamie was originally contacted to do the segment with Sam and Graham. He says he knew who Graham was, but because he wasn’t an Outlander fan, had never heard of Sam (he has since watched the show, and is now a big fan). Charlotte knew, though. “I was contacted by the production company asking if i would be involved in filming the episode of this show that was in production ‘with two well known Scottish actors’ – that is all the info I got…. So I said sure… Now I have to admit…. I had never seen an episode of Outlander before. Charlotte was a huge fan though. So I did a search on the production company that sent the email and up came this “Men in kilts” on their website… I sent Charlotte a message saying I have been asked to film with these two guys…….. the message I got back… I quote,'”You #@$%!’ ”

But there was a late change of plans that resulted in Charlotte taking most of the segment. “As it turns out my mum passed away a few days before filming and I didn’t think I could go on camera and give it 100%. So there is only one person that knows more about the Graveyard than I do and that is Charlotte. It was decided at that point that Charlotte would take over my speaking part and i would then take on a non-speaking part. Sam had decided to give Graham a fright while in the prison area, so i was planted there with a crew member waiting in a hidden tomb. We used items from the office to make the costume up, including the plague doctor mask, which i couldn’t see out off as it kept steaming up the plastic eye lens. Only five people knew this was going to happen – myself, Charlotte, Sam, the producer and the crew member that was hiding with me in the tomb. The producer gave us a code word for the ‘Go’.  As she would get Sam and Graham to look forward and look at the camera for a profile still shot (the one that is being used at the moment straight on at them) – that was my cue to come out and sneak up behind Graham…. so we only had one chance to get it right to capture his real reaction. However, I couldn’t see them due to the mask steaming and was trying not to trip over or let Graham know I was coming.. I think I got away with it.”

“We both had a great time with the cast and crew while filming. Each and every one of them were amazing,” Jamie said. Charlotte got to spend a while chatting with Graham before Sam arrived on set. ” She had chance to sit on a bench and chat with Graham before filming and remarked,  “it was like chatting to an old friend about all things history and graveyards.” While she talked to Graham, Sam approached and Charlotte, in full geek history mode, almost didn’t realise who it was…. Once she did, though, she admits she blushed but purely because she has seen him naked so much (in Outlander, of course!). Jamie adds, “So I think Charlotte enjoyed her first meeting with Sam more than I did!”

Jamie (out of the mask) with Sam and Graham.

The filming was in August last year, so all strict covid restrictions were in place. “We had to have tests done before filming and temp checks and masks throughout on set. They handled it really well under the circumstances,” he adds.

“Charlotte and I have known each other since we were 12 years old,” Jamie said. “We lost contact for many years and a chance message on old school Friendsreunited website brought us back together. We got married in Venice, Italy (myself in a kilt) in 2011. I was a professional drummer until a shoulder injury stopped me playing in 2010. At that time Charlotte was the manager of City of the Dead Tours and she told me i was starting a new job with them. That was 2011 and I now run the company for the owner and author Jan-Andrew Henderson, who founded the company in 1999.”

City of the Dead Tours, Jamie says, is in Edinburgh based in Greyfriars Kirkyard, They have sole access to the world’s most active poltergeist, the infamous “MacKenzie poltergeist.” This is the spirit that Charlotte was telling Sam and Graham about – coincidence that it was a MacKenzie?? “We have been conducting tours in the graveyard and to our underground Vaults of south bridge since 1999. We are one of the original 3 walking tour companies in Edinburgh.” For info about the MacKenzie poltergeist, from the City of the Dead Tours website, click here. And more – from the Villains Wiki, on this fascinating ghost!

I asked Jamie about the encounters people have had, and if he’s ever had an actual encounter with a spirit at the cemetery. “It’s all been physical not visual really. A lot of people claim to see shadows, but that could just be their eyes in a dark space etc. I have certainly been present when things have kicked off, plenty times.”

I think some people can see them and some can’t. I can’t but i know there is something that is not human within that tomb.

Jamie sent me several photos of the results of physical encounters with the spirits that tour participants have had – the photos that Charlotte showed to Sam and Graham in the show. These are only a few of them (credit to City of the Dead Tours):

“Charlotte has always been passionate about Greyfriars Kirkyard and has been recording the stones, etc for many years,” Jamie said. She graduated in 2017 with her masters degree and became a proud Death Historian, studying everything from old burials and the costs of these to the infamous bodysnatchers and burial practices. Charlotte now runs her own company (Celtic Heritage Connections) dealing with family history heritage and bespoke Historical tours including Outlander tours. She also has two books published, Greyfriars Graveyard and The Cemeteries and Graveyards of Edinburgh. available on Amazon and other book outlets online.

Hear more from Jamie and Charlotte on this week’s Outlander Gab on the Air, Men In Kilts Edition – Tuesday night, 9 pm eastern/8 central! Click here to listen and to get our call-in phone number – call us and chat about the show, about Outlander, and more!

And Witches

Off to Wormiston Castle, and a lesson on witches from “witch expert” Leonard Low! Graham was quite a good sport, getting his thumbs mashed and being locked in all of that witch restraining gear. Much has been written about witch hunts and trials (and they’ve been mentioned fairly prominently in this season of A Discovery of Witches, while Diana and Matthew are in Queen Elizabeth’s England), but the actual places and implements used really bring home the cruelty of these historical events. I thought it was very interesting that our witch expert was the descendant of a woman accused of witchcraft.

Standing Stones & Beltane

The visit to Clava Cairns and the Callanish standing stones made the Outlander fan in me sit up straight! Having never been to Scotland, this was a bit of a thrill (Clava Cairns is about seven miles outside of Inverness, and is the home of Diana’s fictional Craigh na Dun). I do think the show missed a beat, though, by not having Sam disappear (through the magic of television, as he says) when he touches the stones.

Many of the things mentioned in Men In Kilts would make a fascinating half hour, or longer all on their own, and the standing stones that appear throughout Scotland are definitely one of those things! A little less banter – which felt more forced than at other times – and a little more travel or discussion of the stones would have filled out this segment well. But I do need to keep in mind that this really is the Sam and Graham show, and not an actual travelogue, lol. (If you want to learn more about their trip to this area, look in Clanlands starting on page 151.)

Of course, Sam was made to play Jamie Fraser – you only have to look at their birthdays! Sam’s is April 30th, the day before Beltane, and Jamie’s is May 1. I’m not quite sure what to think about tonight’s final segment – was this a modern celebration incorporating ancient rituals? It was fun to watch Sam and Graham really get into the spirit of the event.


A huge thank you to Jamie and Charlotte!
For more information about:
City of The Dead Tours: Cityofthedeadtours.com
Charlotte’s Celtic Heritage Connections, Bespoke Tours & Ancestry Services
Greyfriars Kirkyard on Facebook (run by Charlotte)
Jamie is also a fantastic photographer – follow him on Instagram at jamie_corstorphine

Follow me on Twitter: @ErinConrad2 and @threeifbyspace
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