The Storm by Pierre Auguste Cot

Strange Phenomenon noted over Perthshire.

by James Inglis - Staff Reporter.

Concerned residents of a Perthshire hamlet contacted emergency services during a night of severe storms which covered most of the area last night.
In particular, the village of Abernyte was subjected to intense gales. Lightning was reported to have struck the bell-tower of the church, there, and several hay stacks were set alight.
One alarmed resident, who asked not to be named, stated that she had reported to local police, that she had seen, as lightning illuminated the church on the hill, men, women and children, within the church - yard and in the fields around it.
A spokesman for the National Barometric Office, in London, commented, 'the phenomenon was, most likely, caused by ball-lighting and atmospheric pressure. In such circumstances, people often see, and hear things, which are not actually there.
Local police confirmed that several residents of the village of Abernyte had called them to express their concerns.
The Perthshire Gazette
Friday August 3 - 1990.

Storm over Abernyte

On the night that my father, Bill Martin, who had been a ploughman at Abernyte, died, there was a storm over Perthshire. The thunder rolled in from the Sidlaw hills and the sky undulated, red and grey and black. Those who were awakened from their sleep by the thunder looked up to the heavens, in awe, mesmerised by the raw power and majesty of nature.

As the thunder receded, a jagged lightning-flash seared through the sky. It struck the tocsin in the bell-tower of the church, at Abernyte, and it rang out, heard clearly by the watchers below. They saw Abernyte, for one incandescent second, as clear as a new day in that moment.

They saw the blacksmith's forge, where the horses had been shod and where the child, Bill Martin, had watched in wonder, as the golden sparks spiralled up into the atmosphere as the hammer struck the steel shoes. They saw, too, the school, to which he had trudged in even the coldest winters, wearing his hand-me-down clothes and his 'laughing' boots.

They saw the tiny cottage, by the burn, where his beloved mother had almost died, giving birth to his baby-brother, and the fields beyond, where they had run together, his brothers and sister. The fields where the itinerant travelling folk, the tinkers, had helped gather in the harvest, so very long ago.

Then the rain came, a torrent of water, cleansing and refreshing the trees and the earth and the stones.

In the darkness, after the storm had passed, and after the rain, a great peace descended upon Abernyte. The sort of peace that can only be experienced in the countryside when the land sighs and the trees whisper, like a lover, as the gentle breeze caresses the leaves. The solitary call of an owl, the only other sound out in the darkness.

Some swear that they heard, clearly, the sound of singing, of children's voices, raised in song, coming from the old church on the hill. As if that could be true, as if such a thing could happen, some say.