The Mackie Poltergeist: A Detailed Account

The Mackie Poltergeist: A Detailed Account of One of the World’s Infamous Hauntings

Photo of author
Written By Haunting Realm

Adventurer. Cryptozoology enthusiast. Paranormal investigator. Storyteller.

In this article...

This unusual haunting, also known as the Rerrick Poltergeist or the Ringcroft Poltergeist, unfolded in the late 17th century, a time when superstition and fear of the unknown were deeply ingrained in society.

In the 17th century, Scotland was a land steeped in folklore and superstition. The Scottish people, particularly those in rural areas like Galloway, lived in close-knit communities where tales of ghosts, spirits, and apparitions were part of the fabric of everyday life. 

The fear and horror these stories evoked were very real, and the Mackie Poltergeist was about to become one of the most terrifying tales of all.

Our bizarre story centers around Andrew Mackie, a stonemason, and farmer, and his family who lived in a farmhouse known as The Ring-Croft of Stocking

But this was not a place of wealth or prestige, but a simple, hardworking farm where the Mackie family lived and labored. 

Little did they know that their humble home was about to become the epicenter of a violent and terrifying paranormal manifestation.

The Onset of the Paranormal Activity

The First Signs of Trouble

The initial indications of the Mackie Poltergeist were subtle, almost dismissible. 

Interestingly, these initial signs look a lot like what happened in the case of the Glenluce Devil. I have an entire article on that alleged haunting here: The Glenluce Devil: The Tale of a Powerful Poltergeist in 17th Century Scotland.

In February 1695, the Mackie family began to notice strange occurrences within their farmhouse. Objects seemed to shift of their own accord, often found in places where they were not left. 

The family’s cattle were discovered in unlikely locations, far from their usual grazing areas. Untraceable voices echoed through the home, whispers that seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at once. 

These seemingly benign incidents, while unsettling, were merely the prelude to a far more violent and terrifying series of events.

Mackie Poltergeist set several buildings on fire
The Mackie Poltergeist manifested through moving objects, hurling stones, setting buildings on fire, physically assaulting the Mackie family, and leaving notes allegedly written in blood, escalating fear and horror.

Escalation of the Haunting

As days turned into weeks, the paranormal manifestations intensified. 

Unlike a simple haunting, the poltergeist graduated from merely moving objects to hurling stones with deadly accuracy. The Mackie family found themselves dodging these projectiles, and their home turned into a dangerous battlefield.

By the end of the month, several buildings on the farm were mysteriously set on fire. 

The sight of their barn engulfed in flames caused panic and destruction, the family helpless as they watched their livelihood burn. The unseen entity grew bolder, physically assaulting the Mackie family.

Reports of beatings and family members being dragged by an invisible force filled the air with a palpable sense of fear and horror

Andrew Mackie, the head of the family, bore the brunt of these attacks, often found with unexplainable bruises and scratches. His wife and children lived in constant fear; their home was no longer a place of safety but a source of endless torment.

On the same topicDemon Drummer of Tedworth: The True Story Behind a Powerful 17th Century Poltergeist

The climax of this nightmare was the appearance of notes, allegedly inscribed in blood, a chilling testament to the evil that had descended upon the Mackie household. 

These notes, filled with threats and warnings, were found scattered around the farm, their bloody script a horrifying reminder of the unseen entity that tormented them.

The Mackie family, once leading a peaceful life, found themselves in the grip of a violent, noisy spirit. Their reactions varied from fear to disbelief, desperation, and even defiance. 

Andrew Mackie, despite the physical assaults, refused to abandon his home. 

His wife, torn between fear for her children and loyalty to her husband, struggled to maintain a semblance of normalcy. Their children, caught in a nightmare that seemed to have no end, clung to each other for comfort and support.

The Mackie Poltergeist had turned their world upside down, transforming their home into a place of nightmares. 

The once peaceful farm was now the stage for a frightening display of paranormal manifestation, a haunting that would become one of the most chilling tales in the annals of Scottish demonology.

As a side note, do not mistake the Mackie Poltergeist for the Mackenzie Poltergeist. These are two separate, independent events. 

More on the Mackenzie paranormal manifestations here: The Mackenzie Poltergeist: Scotland’s Most Violent Paranormal Activity

Community’s Reaction

News of the haunting at the Mackie farm spread through the community of Rerrick like a chilling wind, leaving a trail of hushed whispers and fearful glances in its wake. 

As expected, the superstitious village residents, who had until then lived in relative peace, found themselves thrust into a narrative of supernatural terror that seemed to have sprung from their darkest nightmares.

The Mackie Poltergeist was not just an isolated incident but a communal crisis that sent ripples of panic throughout the village. 

A pervasive sense of dread now gripped a once peaceful community. 

The silence of locked doors and shuttered windows replaced children’s laughter playing in the fields. Even the local tavern, once a hub of camaraderie and shared stories, was now filled with hushed conversations and fearful speculations.

An evil presence that seemed to have ensnared the Mackie farm – a stark reminder of the power and fear that the supernatural could invoke. 

It was as if the community had been plunged into a chilling tale of horror, the kind of story told around the fire on a cold winter’s night, a story that was now their reality.

The Investigation

Amid the chaos and terror that had gripped the Mackie family and the wider community, a figure of hope emerged. 

A local minister, Alexander Telfair, stepped forward to investigate the strange occurrences at the Mackie farm. His involvement would not only provide a detailed account of the haunting but also offer a glimmer of hope to a community paralyzed by fear.

Telfair’s Arrival and Initial Observations

Upon arriving at the Ring-Croft of Stocking, Telfair was met with utter chaos and horror. The Mackie family lived in constant fear; their home was no longer a sanctuary but a battleground against an unseen enemy. 

The sheer intensity of the paranormal manifestations marked Telfair’s initial observations. The violent attacks, the strange voices, the buildings set on fire, and the cryptic messages written in blood all pointed to a violent, noisy spirit at work.

You may also likeThe White Lady of the Hohenzollern Castle: A Tale of Tragedy and Mystery

Telfair spent considerable time at the Mackie farm, documenting the events and attempting to provide some form of spiritual comfort to the beleaguered family. 

While unable to halt the haunting, his presence provided a much-needed sense of support and validation to the Mackie family and the wider community.

Alexander Telfair description of the paranormal events
Alexander Telfair described the paranormal manifestations as the work of a “violent noisy spirit,” detailing physical attacks, stone-throwing, spontaneous fires, and mysterious voices in his 1696 pamphlet. Image credit: Mary Evans, Picture Library.

Telfair’s Pamphlet

In 1696, Telfair published a pamphlet detailing the events at the Mackie farm. 

Sold at the shop of George Mosman in Edinburgh, the pamphlet titled “Sad and Lamentable Account of a Violent Noisy Spirit or Devil of the Parish of Rerrick in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright in Scotland” provided a chilling account of the haunting

Telfair’s detailed descriptions of the paranormal manifestations, the terror experienced by the Mackie family, and the dread that gripped the community painted a vivid picture of the haunting.

The pamphlet also included Telfair’s interpretations of the events, attributing the haunting to the work of a malevolent entity. 

He even detailed the various attempts made to exorcise the ghost, including prayer and religious rites, and the subsequent failure of these attempts to bring peace to the Mackie household.

The Impact of Telfair’s Account

The publication of Telfair’s pamphlet profoundly impacted the local community and the wider public. 

The detailed account of the Mackie Poltergeist validated the experiences of the Mackie family and the village residents, affirming that their fear and horror were not unfounded. 

The pamphlet also spread the Mackie Poltergeist’s tale beyond the village’s confines, sparking interest and debate across Scotland and beyond.

Recommended read: What Are Residual Hauntings? The Powerful Impact of Imprinted Energy on Our Spaces

In fact, Telfair’s narrative also had a significant impact on the field of Scottish demonology. His detailed descriptions of the paranormal manifestations and his interpretations of the events provided valuable insights into the nature of poltergeists and the supernatural

His account remains an important historical document, providing a window into the beliefs and fears of 17th-century Scotland.

In the end, while Telfair’s efforts did not succeed in ending the haunting, his account served to bring the tale of the Mackie Poltergeist to light.

Theories and Interpretations

The Mackie Poltergeist has been a subject of intrigue and speculation for centuries. Theories have been proposed, debated, and discarded, yet the mystery remains. 

What was the force that tormented the Mackie family? Was it a malevolent spirit, a manifestation of collective fear, or something else entirely?

Theories of the Time

In the 17th century, the world was a place of mystery and superstition, and the paranormal was not a fringe concept but a part of everyday life. The Mackie Poltergeist was seen by many as the work of the Devil, a malevolent spirit sent to torment the living. 

This belief was reinforced by the fear that the haunting evoked and the seemingly inexplicable nature of the events.

Alexander Telfair, the local minister who investigated the haunting, was a man of his time. His account, detailed in Telfair’s pamphlet, attributed the events to a malevolent spirit. 

His descriptions of the attacks, the stone-throwing, and the voices heard by the Mackie family were steeped in the language of demonology and the supernatural.

Modern Interpretations

Modern interpretations of the Mackie Poltergeist vary widely. Some paranormal researchers view the case as a classic example of a poltergeist, a type of ghost or spirit capable of physically manipulating the environment. 

They point to the physical attacks, the movement of objects, and the spontaneous fires as typical poltergeist activity.

Others, however, take a more skeptical view. They suggest that the events could have been the result of human agency, perhaps a member of the Mackie family or a disgruntled neighbor. 

They argue that the fear and superstition of the time could have amplified everyday events into something seemingly supernatural.

Still, others propose psychological explanations suggesting that the haunting could have been a case of mass hysteria, where shared fear and stress led to the perception of supernatural events. 

Some even suggest that the Mackie family could have suffered from a shared delusion or hallucination.

Regardless of what really happened, the haunting of the Mackie family has found its way into popular culture, featuring in books, documentaries, and even inspiring elements of horror films. 

The Mackie Poltergeist story and the Mackie Poltergeist documentary have brought the tale to a global audience, adding to its enduring fascination.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Mackie Poltergeist?

The Mackie Poltergeist refers to a series of paranormal events in the late 17th century at a farm in Scotland inhabited by the Mackie family. The events included physical attacks, stone-throwing, spontaneous fires, and mysterious voices.

Where does the legend of the Mackie Poltergeist originate?

The legend of the Mackie Poltergeist originates from the parish of Rerrick in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, Scotland. The events were documented by Alexander Telfair, a local minister, who published a pamphlet in 1696 detailing the haunting.

How did the Mackie Poltergeist manifest?

The Mackie Poltergeist manifested in a variety of ways. It began with subtle disturbances, such as objects moving on their own, and escalated to more violent incidents like stone-throwing, setting buildings on fire, and physical attacks on the Mackie family. The haunting peaked with the appearance of notes allegedly written in blood.

Are there any theories explaining the existence of the Mackie Poltergeist?

There are several theories explaining the existence of the Mackie Poltergeist. Some believe it was the work of a malevolent spirit or demon. In contrast, others suggest it could have been the result of human agency or a psychological phenomenon like mass hysteria or shared hallucinations. Despite the various theories, the Mackie Poltergeist remains an unsolved mystery.