Legend – Scottish

“Around Sandwick, Scotland, sightings of glowing balls (meaning orbs) have been reported. It is rumored that the lights that float around the area normally announce approaching death for a local. Some say the light belongs to an Irish merchant who was robbed and murdered on the island.”

This is a local legend regarding the people of Sandwick. Mike has a lot of family in Scotland, and he heard this legend from one of his relatives over in Scotland. He thinks this legend is a very spooky legend. He says that if he were ever in the Sandwick area, he would be frightened of seeing glowing balls. He half-jokingly remarked that he would “run away screaming” if he saw these glowing balls just because it would be creepy. He is not quite sure what his relatives meant by glowing balls, but he assumes they meant orbs and that they look kind of like a lantern the Irish merchant might have carried. He says it must have originated from a long, long time ago because it mentions an Irish merchant.

It is possible that this legend is in other places. This legend speaks of Sandwick, but other places in Scotland and other countries could have similar legends, just with different details. One difference might be that the merchant is not Irish, but another nationality. This legend could be in multiple places because legends spread. As people tell them, locations and details change. So, more than one place could have similar local legends due to the complications of word of mouth and diffusion.

This local legend invites discussion about belief. People who hear this legend are not sure whether or not glowing balls have been sighted. Mostly they are not sure whether or not they believe these glowing balls signify that a local will die. Death is something we do not know much about. It is something most people fear, so, people then fear this legend because it discusses death and possible reasons behind death. People fear it even more because there is a supposed reason behind the glowing balls: the Irish merchant. People do not want to encounter the Irish merchant that got murdered in the area, either.

Legends oftentimes say much about a society’s culture and identity. It is interesting because the Scottish respond to this legend much the same way we would in the United States. People in the United States would also be frightened of mysterious glowing balls, especially if the light is supposed to belong to a murdered merchant. This shows that Americans and Scottish people have things in common. Americans and Scots are unsure whether or not they believe in legends. However, their actions would lead one to conclude they do believe in these legends since they are scared and tend to avoid areas mentioned in scary legends.