The Wizard of West Bow

Hello, Readers.  I can hardly believe we are already in mid October!  Where I live the weather has cooled down (mostly) and the trees are beginning to don their Autumn wardrobe.  I’ve switched out my own closet in favor of jeans and sweaters and have planted the pansies and mums.  The little pumpkins I purchased are sitting pretty in the garden, blissfully unaware that in another month or so they are going to become pies.  Poor little fellas.

In keeping with our October theme, today I would like to share with you a tale that is everything weird, disturbing, and strange.  As they say, you can’t make this stuff up. A perfect fit for Halloween, I think.

Today’s story is an extraordinarily puzzling one about a gentleman named Major Thomas Weir.  History remembers him better as The Wizard of West Bow.

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James Skene|Public Domain

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Deacon Brodie-The Real Jekyll and Hyde?

In the spirit of October and upcoming Halloween festivities, I thought it might be fun to do a few blogs this month that highlight some of the weird, dark, and spooky stories of Edinburgh’s past.  Edinburgh’s history is full of accounts of unsavory characters and macabre tales, each with the ability to intrigue and fascinate even the most incredulous among us.  It’s going to be a lot of fun to research and write about them for you.

To kick things off, I would like to introduce you to a man who was (or who was at least in part) the inspiration behind Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson’s famed 1886 novella,  The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

That man’s name was William Brodie.  Or as he is better known, Deacon Brodie.

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Half-Hangit Maggie

Pull up a chair and let me tell you a story about a woman named Maggie.  Maggie Dickson, that is.  Or as history remembers her, Half-Hangit Maggie.

Maggie Dickson was born in Musselburgh, Scotland in the very early part of the 18th century.  For reasons that are unclear, her husband left her, and she was forced to look for work elsewhere. Fortunately, as good luck would have it, she was able to find work at an inn in Kelso located in the Scottish Borders.

Things were humming along quite nicely until Maggie became involved with the innkeeper’s son.  And, well, you can probably imagine what happened next.  Yep.  Maggie became preggers.

Not wanting to jeopardize her job, she made the decision to conceal her baby bump.  The months ticked by and sadly, her baby was born premature and died.  Still trying to conceal the pregnancy, Maggie decided to place the little body in the nearby River Tweed.  She couldn’t go through with it, though, and chose instead to leave the baby on the bank of the river where, of course, it was discovered.  Maggie’s secret was uncovered and she was arrested for concealing her pregnancy.  It’s likely that she was also accused of killing the child, but accounts of the story differ.

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