After a fun-filled day of camping activities, there’s nothing like a good campfire story to cap off a warm summer night under starry skies. There’s just something about sitting around the campfire that makes it magical –watching the flicker of the pretty orange and yellow flames and roasting marshmallows or hot dogs for an evening snack. It’s the perfect backdrop for a good scary story or tall tale!
We hope you enjoy this edition of our Tales from the Campfire series…
The Dark Castle
There was a man from a small Midwest town in Ohio who enjoyed spending his time collecting antiques. On the weekends he would often drive to nearby towns in search of different antique shops to find new treasures to add to his impressive collection.
One Saturday afternoon he walked into a small, dingy shop that had been recommended by a woman who owned one of the antique shops he frequented. The shop had a bit of a crowded feel to it, but he could tell right away that it was chock full of wonderful antiques to look over. He was immediately drawn to a strange framed painting of a dark castle standing on a barren, rocky hill.
Despite the gloomy and melancholy scene, something about the painting fascinated him. As he gazed at the details, he noticed something strange – it gave him an eerie unsettling feeling. The entire castle was bathed in darkness except for one small light in a window high up in a tall, stone turret tower. The man wondered why someone would paint an ancient castle with only one lit window.
Intrigued by the strange painting, the man asked the shop owner if he could tell him anything about it. The frail and elderly shop owner told him the only thing he knew about the scene was that it was of an old Scottish castle.
The man bought the old painting and took it home with him. The frame was quite dirty, so he made a point of dusting it before he hung it over his fireplace that evening. He began inspecting it for any signature or date from the artist, but found nothing. What he found instead was a small Latin inscription printed on the corner of the frame.
He wrote it down and called a friend of his who could read Latin. When he found out what the inscription meant, he was even more puzzled. The phrase translated to: “Every Century, it shall be dark.”
The inscription made little sense to him and, after a while, he simply forgot about it. The painting hung over the man’s fireplace for many months and became a conversation piece during the many parties he would host for his friends. Everyone who saw the painting would speculate about why only one window was lit in the castle’s tower.
One evening, the man was showing the painting to some of his guests when he noticed something that shocked him. Staring at the painting is silent disbelief, he realized that the window in the tower was dark. He examined it closely, but the black paint on the window was as old and cracked as the paint on the rest of the canvas. There were no signs that it had ever been touched or tampered with in any way. It made his skin crawl.
After his guests left, the man went to bed, still puzzled by the strange alteration to the mysterious painting. When he woke up the next morning to look at the painting, however, he saw that the window in the tower was lit again. A chill ran down his spine.
Then he remembered the strange Latin inscription printed on the frame…“Every Century, it shall be dark.” He made a note of the date and began to do some research into the history of every Scottish castle and the legends associated with them. Eventually, he discovered the following strange tale:
The dark castle belonged to an evil nobleman and Scottish Earl who had two sons. Legend has it that he despised his eldest son, who was born horribly mutilated, and kept him locked up in the dark turret tower. The younger son, however, lived in comfort and enjoyed all the wealth and pleasures of their privileged family. After years of suffering, the imprisoned elder son died in the little room high in the tower.
The date of his death just happened to be exactly five hundred years before the night when the painted window went dark.
The best part of this story…it’s supposedly a true ghost story based on events that occurred at Glamis Castle in Scotland; one of the most haunted castles in Britain. Entertain the kids with some spooky fun and regale this tale during your next campfire story!