Brahan Seer

At Gob na Cananaich, better known as Chanonry Point on Scotland’s Black Isle, is a stone memorial to Coinneach Odhar, which in Scots Gaelic is Dark Kenneth, otherwise known as the Brahan Seer. It is said that the poor man was placed in a tar barrel and burnt to death near the spot on the order of Lady Seaforth, whose husband’s infidelities in Paris he had just paranormally seen and exposed. As to France her Nostradamus and England her Mother Shipton, so is the Brahan Seer to Scotland. His admirers suggest he predicted the Battle of Culloden a century before it was fought (“...Oh! Drumossie, thy bleak moor shall, ere many generations have passed away, be stained with the best blood of the Highlands..."), the Caledonian Canal ("ships will sail round the back of Tomnahurich Hill"), the discovery of North Sea Oil ("...horrid black rains shall fall upon the Highlands…bringing riches to Aberdeen"), the Highland Clearances (“the sheep shall eat the men”) and the rise of- wait for it- Margaret Thatcher (original text strangely hard to find).

There is little evidence that Coinneach Odhar actually existed, at least in the seventeenth-century, though someone by that name was arraigned for witchcraft the century before. He may be the invention of a nineteenth-century folklorist who combined various oral traditions into one character. The 1500s and 1600s were periods of great social change and superstition, and the appeal of seers and prophets is understandable; an assurance that the future is determined and life will survive in some form, might have been a relief to those early-modern Scots, French and English whose lives were hard and whose times were uncertain. The only prophecies I shall read and believe, however, are those set forth in God’s word, the Bible. They foretold the coming of Christ the Saviour, and the future second coming of Christ the Judge:

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. Peter 1:16

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Revelation 22:12