The life of a ghost in Victorian Scotland was not an easy calling.
Vigilantes would amass at the mere mention of a spook to make sure their passage through the temporal realm was as torturous as possible,
This cruel fate befell the Ballinluig ghoul who brought terror to the Highland railway line in 1874.
At the start of that year, a hideous-looking being attired in black was seen every Sunday night on the embankment between Ballinluig and Guay.
The twisted apparition always appeared after dark and one respected gentleman who encountered it was so dumfounded he fell to the ground horror stricken. Fear rendered him speechless and he lay trembling until he found the composure to proceed home.
This incident was the catalyst for young men in the district to take action. Armed with clubs and a ferocious dog, they determined to rid their area of its monstrous spectre.
In mid-March they got lucky when they spotted the repellent wraith perched on the embankment as usual. Some boys lost their nerve but others had the presence of mind to try to force words from the entity.
The phantom would not play ball. It rose and, with slow, measured strides, walked through the fields to the forest of Atholl, pausing only to cast an occasional backwards glance. By now the hunting party was in a state of raucous delirium, whooping and beating their clubs on the ground and against trees.
The deafening noise must have had an effect on the ghost because when it neared Countlich and turned towards Kindallachan, it took to its heels.
The boys knew this was end game. They unleashed the dog, raised their weapons above their heads and broke into a sprint.
The spook fell to the ground but lashed out with its feet as the hunters bore down on it.
One of the lads ripped the veil from the being to reveal an old maid from the village.
After that, community elders warned old maids to “remain in their houses in future and not cause so much annoyance to those who happen to be in the neighbourhood”.