A Ghost Fleet, Vanishing Rivers and Strange Booms in 1712 #History #Scotland

Ships Battle Sky

At sunset, within a mile of Penpont in Dumfriesshire in March, 1712, a “ghost fleet” appeared in the sky:

‘Mr Elder, a neighbouring Minister, and within a mile of the place where this was seen, tells me that in March last [in 1712], about a mile from Penpont, the Laird of Wattersyde, a factor of the Duke of Queensberry’s, from whom Mr Elder hath this accompt, and some scores, if not hundred, of people sau this apparition in the air one evening, about sunsett. There appeared to them, towards the sea, two large fleets of shipps, near a hundred upon evry side, and they mett together, and fairly engaged. They very clearly sau their masts, tackling, their gunns, and their firing one at another. They sau severall of them sunk; and after a considerable time’s engagement they sundered, and one part of them went to the West, and another toward the South. This, he tells me, his informer, a very sensible gentlman, was a witness to, and severall others, besides the common people, who all sau this most distinctly ; and it’s hard to think they could be all under a deceptio visus. They sau the ships, men, and build of the ships, most distinctly and clearly.’

For Wodrow, the reports from ‘very sensible gentlman’, rather than ‘the common people’ added to the veracity of the accounts.

The reports from ministers got stranger about March, 1712. In Dumfriesshire, some rivers dried up in March:

‘He and severall Ministers in Dumfrice and Nithsdale and Es[k]dale, and therabout, tell me that this spring severall watters in that country wer observed of a suddain, in March, and about that time, to dry up. Some of them upon which boats went wer dryed soe farr that the channels wer seen ; and continoued soe for ten, some twenty-four hours; and then they returned to their old course again. This, they tell me, is generally and universally knouen, and noe body doubts of it, though it’s hard to account for it.’

Strange booms and “ghost” armies were also reported in Kintyre, Argyllshire, in March, or April, 1712:

‘Mr James Boyes [Boece] tells me, that at the same time, in March or Aprile last, in Kintyre, ther wer, one morning pretty early, great shootings of cannon heard. The people thought it had been thunder, and went out to see what sort of day it was like to be. All appeared clear, and noe thing like thunder; and there wer severall very judiciouse people that sau at some distance from them, severall very great companys of souldiers marching with their collours flying and their drumms beating, which they heard very distinctly, and sau the men walking on the ground in very good order; and yet ther wer noe souldiers at all in that country, nor has been of a long time. They heard likewise a very great shooting of cannon ; and they were soe distinct and terrible, that many of the beasts broke the harrou and came running home. Mr Boyes does not doubt of the truth of the relation, and has promised to send me a full account of it, attested as much as can be.’ (Wodrow, Analecta, II, 42-3.)

For more wonders in Scotland, see here.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or other social networks or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on July 31, 2018.

One Response to “A Ghost Fleet, Vanishing Rivers and Strange Booms in 1712 #History #Scotland”

  1. Could this Ghost Fleet in the sky have been triggered into people’s imaginations by earlier reports from Barrhoft Sweden – 1665, and or the Nuremberg Space Fight in 1561.

    There are images of these on the net, such as the Barrhoft one – see attached.

    Let’s face it there are plenty of such unexplained objects in the sky to this very day,

    Cheers Malcolm

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