Hey guys. In keeping with my October theme, today I would like to tell you a strange tale about a man named Major Thomas Weir. History remembers him better as The Wizard of West Bow.
Major Weir was born in Scotland in 1599 and lived with his sister Jean on the West Bow (now Victoria Street) in Edinburgh. By all accounts, Weir was a highly respected and upstanding member of society. He was a strict and devout Presbyterian, had been a Covenanter soldier, and once was commander of the Town Guard. Nothing about his pious life indicated that anything was amiss, which is why it must have been a shock to those who knew him when at around age 70 – he confessed to a secret life of heinous transgressions, including an incestuous relationship with his sister, demonic activity, and witchcraft!
Because Weir’s claims were so out of character, no one believed him. I’m sure people thought he had gone positively mad! His sister validated his claims, however, adding that the walking stick Weir carried (topped with the carving of a human head) was a gift from the Devil himself. She said that the two were sometimes taken to Dalkeith by a demonic figure in a fiery coach. Jean claimed their mother had also been a witch and that she and the Major had made a pact with the Devil years prior.
The pair were tried and found guilty of their crimes in April 1670. Jean hanged in the Grassmarket, where some say she stripped herself naked beforehand, willingly dying in shame. Major Thomas Weir was strangled and then burned alive. They say that instead of begging for God’s forgiveness, his last words were, “Let me alone. I have lived as a beast, and I must die as a beast.”
After the executions, the Weir home remained vacant for more than a century. Tales of ghostly sightings and strange occurrences such as music, revelry, lights, and shadows coming from the house were common. Some residents even claimed to have seen a fiery coach pull up to the home.
For years it was thought that the Weir home had been demolished; however, recent discoveries revealed that the house is still intact. Parts of the home have been into what is now the Quaker Meeting House.
And if that’s not weird enough for you, then you will chuckle when I tell you that what was once the central part of the Weir home is now the location of the Meeting House’s toilets. A fitting end to our story, indeed!
As I said, you can’t make this stuff up. I love it.
Thanks so much for popping by today. See you next time.