Friday 4th December

This Friday’s door is a story of a strange occurrence from the 18th Century.

The Flaming Angel Affair

These are the details of ‘The Flaming Angel’. It occurred around 1713-1715. Two medical students who we believe were Robert Duncan and John Hicks got drunk, and decided to scare local residents by taking a goat up to the tower of St Giles’. There, they set it on fire and its cries made it seem as though there was an apocalyptic angel in the crown. The authorities pounced, put out the goat, who we are told survivied, and arrested the duo. Whilst on bail, they fled to America.

Below is a poem written about the event…

The Flaming Angel Affair

This tale o’ three hunnert years ago’s
A jape gane a’gley.
Ane nicht twa lads frae Surgeons’ Ha’
(or so some folks do say)
Twa student lads wha’ thocht tae pit
The toonsfolk in a pickle,
They reived a goat frae Mistress Jean
(a lady braw but fickle)
An’ tied puir Billy tae the rope
That pu’d Sanct Geils’ bell
An’ tied anither tae his tail
-a thochtless scheme,an’ fell-
This second rope they dipped in tar
Sae it wad burn quite freely
Then lit it,an’ stood back tae admire
The outcome cruel an’ silly.

Puir harmless Billy stood awhile
In troth a beast benighted
Then speirin’ round, he spied his tail
ON FIRE, thus sair affrighted
Tae mak’ escape he bounded high
But checked by the bell rope
He tried tae gang anither gait…..
An’ then the auld bell spoke…..
“CLANG” went the bell…an’CLANG again,
The goat dashed to an’ fro
An’ folk cam’ tae the Kirk tae speir
Whit mischief’s on the go.
Some saw a beast wi’ horns- a cry
“Auld Nick has come tae get us”
Went up- then “The end o’ the warld is nigh”
“Have mercy Laird, come let us…”
But noo puir Billy’s frantic leaps
Had turned the bell richt ower,
The rope wound up, the goat wis lifted
High beneath the tower.
An’ there he swung, his flailing tail
Flashed fire an’ sparks around.
The people moaned an’ knelt in fear
That they micht thus be found.
“It is the Angel o’ the Laird”
“Proclaiming the warld’s end”.
They prayed “Forgie a’ wir sins”
“Just punishment forfend”!

But noo the bellman heard the din
(wha slepit in the tower)
An’ through the bellhole scanned the scene,
Na’ pleased at sic’ an hour,
He cut the bellrope….Billy fell
– a miracle, unhairmed-
Byestanders doused the “fiery tail”
The beast wis surely chairmed!

The bellman then addressed the crowd
“Whit wis it mad’ ye gape?”
“Tis na the warld’s end but jist”
“A silly student jape!”
The crowd, dumfounered,fu’o’shame
Stared a bewildered stare…
Then, seekin’ ither folk tae blame
“Dae ye ken that student pair?”
Said ane “Ah ken ane – unruly pup!”
“We’ll take them first…mak’ them confess…”
“An’ then we’ll HANG THEM UP!”

They searched around, but none they found
The pair had slipped awa’
Noo it appears, hid by their peers
They shipped tae America!

ANON