Ghost not a welcome bump in the night

Nuns Walk in St Andrews where the phantom of disfigured woman is said to lurk.
Nuns Walk in St Andrews where the phantom of disfigured woman is said to lurk.

In our short series of ghostly tales in the run-up to Hallowe’en, local ghost investigator and writer Gregor Stewart sheds light on another story:

“St Andrews is believed to be the home of many spirits, most of which are either benign or even helpful.

“But this is not the case for all. One of the most feared ghosts in days gone by was the phantom of a horribly disfigured woman said to lurk on a short street known as Nuns Walk that leads to St Leonards Kirk and a sighting of this spook is something you want to avoid.

“According to the legend, in life she attracted a lot of attention because of her intelligence and beauty, but she did not enjoy this intrusion to her life. Eventually she agreed to marry but never made it to the altar, with the story varying between her fiancé having a change of heart, or being killed.

“The grief-stricken woman decided to avoid the risk of further heartbreak and took matters into her own hands. With a sharp knife, she sliced off her ears, eyelids, nose and lips. Having ensured that no man would ever look at her again, she turned to religion and became a nun but her injuries led to her death.

“Reports of encounters with her ghost range from a feeling of being watched, dogs cowering from an invisible energy as it passes and sightings of a figure in the shadows, but a few have been unlucky enough to have a full encounter with the nun when she removes her veil to reveal her face.

“Such an incident is believed to have happened in the late 1960s, when a student was discovered slumped on the ground muttering ‘the nun, the nun’.”