Michael's hunt for phantoms after the opera

~ News of the world, 08/08/1999 by Brian Lironi ~


SINGING star Michael Ball gave a spirited performance when he toured Scotland's most haunted castle on a hunt for his very own Phantom of the Opera.

The stage idol couldn't wait to explore for spooks after appearing at an open-air concert at creepy Glamis Castle, Angus.

Michael dashed off stage, pulled on a kilt and searched every nook and cranny of the imposing building - said to be the most haunted house in Scotland.

But the 37-year-old was left disappointed as the phantoms stayed firmly hidden behind the ancient walls.

One local, who spoke to Michael after his tour, said: "He was really hopeful of seeing one of the famous ghosts.

"He was a wee bit crestfallen he didn't bumped into a spectre. After all, Glamis is supposed to have a spook in every stairheid.

"Michael searched most of the building and never even caught a glimpse of one. Perhaps the ghosts were so impressed with his singing that they decided not to frighten the life out of him.

"I'm sure if they'd known he wanted to see a ghost they would have been happy to oblige.

"It's not like they're shy, they regularly frighten residents and staff at the castle."

Michael - who starred in hit stage musical The Phantom of the Opera for two years - was appearing at Glamis as part of his UK tour of stately homes.

The star gave a spell-binding concert for thousands of adoring fans in the grounds of the Queen Mum's birthplace. His show included smash hits from top musicals Les Miserables, Aspects of Love and The Phantom of the Opera.

But none of his songs could lure out the castle spooks.

A Glamis spokesman confirmed: "Michael was invited on a tour of the castle. But we don't like to talk about the ghosts too much.

"This is still very much a working family home and the residents prefer to keep quiet about them."

Among the ghosts Michael might have seen is that of King Duncan, murdered by his rival Macbeth in 1040. His grisly tale became the theme of Shakespeare's tragedy.

Glamis is also said to be haunted by the Grey Lady, Janet Douglas, who was falsely accused of plotting to murder her laird and was burned at the stake nearby.

And Lord "Beardie" Crawford and a friend are said to have played dice with the devil and are now doomed to continue the game forever in a secret room in the lower castle.

Last night A spokesman for Michael said: "The concert went so well that afterwards Michael couldn't relax.

"Instead he put on a kilt and went ghost hunting around the castle. He had a great evening at Glamis."

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