A Very Scottish Setting

Inspirational author Michael Phillips shares a behind the scenes look at the setting of his novel, Angel Harp. Discover how a friend's spooky experience inspired the Scottish Castle that plays a role in the author's newest tale!

My wife and I have a small cottage on the north coast of Scotland where we spend most summers. It was there that the ideas for the book Angel Harp came to me and where I wrote most of it and where the story takes place. As we have become part of our small community, we have become friends with many of the local people who have lived there all their lives. One of the special features of our village is the local castle, which is still in private hands and very much a home where people live. It has been divided into smaller apartment units or “flats,” though the exterior looks very much like it has for centuries.

Every self-respecting castle in Scotland has its resident ghost. I read recently that there are something on the order of 120 “green ladies” who are have been seen or heard in Scotland’s castle. Our local castle has its own green lady too!

Whether one believes in all that or not, would you want to be alone in a spooky old castle at night? I don’t think I would…especially after the story our neighbor told.

Our friend is a tradesman in the village and has lived there all his life. So when the residents of the castle have remodeling work to be done, he is often the one they call. He was hired to do some work in one of the flats on the top floor of the castle while the owner was away. He was given a key, and got started on the work. It went longer than he planned on the first day and he realized he needed to go back that evening. He went home for supper and then returned.

By then it was dark. He was alone in the upper reaches of the castle. That’s when the peculiar noises began—bumping and scraping as if coming from behind the walls.

He was not alone!

Our friend is one of the most down-to-earth and non-superstitious men you could want to meet. Nor is he timid. He’s a pretty tough guy! And he knows the difference between mice and rats in the walls…and the sound of something—or someone!—larger.

After half an hour, he had had enough. He had reached the genuinely frightened stage—he did not want to be alone!

He hurried home and told his wife he needed her help with the work. What he needed was for her to stay with him! She gathered up her knitting, accompanied him back to the castle, and sat at his side with her knitting—both of them hearing the peculiar noises now!—while he finished up his work.

I used the same castle for the fictionalized setting of Angel Harp.

- Michael Phillips

Want to read more about this creepy castle? You can pick up your own copy of Angel Harp in stores now!