The Secret Chamber


Short Fiction

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The Story

Ancient Gowrie Castle is known for its "ghost" and its "secret chamber" - though whether there is something real behind the stories, only the heirs of the family know. This family, the Randolphs, seem hampered by some peculiarity which holds them down generation after generation. When young John Randolph (Lord Lindores) comes of age he is bright and hopeful. But on that very night his father the Earl (Lord Gowrie) awakens him and takes him to a secret chamber for a blood-curdling confrontation which will change his life.

Biographical and other notes

Margaret Oliphant's inspiration for this story was Glamis Castle. The castle had long been famous for being haunted; and in the early nineteenth century Sir Walter Scott, who had visited Glamis, maintained that the castle had a secret chamber. Later, stories were written about a ghost or monster inhabiting the secret chamber. Mrs Oliphant's story was among the most popular of these, and has been reprinted in many anthologies.

Mrs Oliphant used a similar ghostly theme in the 1882 novel The Wizard's Son.

British publishing information

Periodical:   Blackwood's Magazine   Dec 1876

Series and Themes

Tales of Scotland
Stories of the Seen and Unseen

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