Orkney Folklore: The Restless Children

“Restless children” is a term that was coined for those children who were denied a Christian burial, their bodies instead placed in unconsecrated land. The reported hauntings that came as a result of this were in a way more chilling in that there weren’t really any accounts of seeing ghosts, aside from strange lights that some spoke of seeing in the area. Instead, an encounter with the restless children was said to be an emotional one, where someone passing the unhallowed ground at night would be struck with a palpable sense of extreme dread. It’s a disquieting idea, the notion that a place could not just be haunted by a ghost, but it could become so saturated with dark energy that the place itself could become malign.

Image credit to OrkneyJar. More info here: http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/ghosts/childspirit.htm

Image credit to OrkneyJar. More info here: http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/ghosts/childspirit.htm

One notorious case of an encounter with the restless children comes from North Ronaldsay…

I can’t do this.

What of Merksay’s own restless children? What of Emily Munro? How many children do you think have been reported as “missing” in the past 20 years? I’ll give you the answer: none. There are no active missing persons cases in Merksay. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that 11 children “ran away from home,” and for some reason this resulted in no further police investigation. Why is no one talking about this? The screams I heard on that terrible night were not the screams of a runaway. They were the screams of a boy who was faced with something inhuman. I know what is happening to these children.

Bonnie Shaw took them away.

They won’t like me telling you this. I know they’re watching me, I can see them following me. They think I don’t know! They’ll try to silence me, but before they do, if I can reach any of you out there, it’ll be worth it. Let the world know about what’s happening in Merksay, get more eyes on this place and whatever horrors are unfolding here. And please, in the name of all that is holy, do not bring your children here.

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