Sarah's Second Sight

The area around Rannoch has been renowned in times gone by for its seers, those with the so-called second sight…

By David White

The area around Rannoch has been renowned in times gone by for its seers, those with the so-called second sight. The last such person, and the one whom we know most about, lived in Rannoch just over 100 years ago and we shall call for the purposes of this tale Sarah- her actual name having been concealed by the Reverend at Rannoch at the time in his accounts in order prevent the family receiving unwanted attention. It is said that Sarah’s talents lay in seeing the deaths of those nearby, either of those who had passed, or those who are about to do so. The first account of Sarah’s talents was when she exclaimed while chatting with her neighbours that she could see a funeral procession coming down the street and that her friend appeared to be the deceased being carried down to the graveyard. She also saw figures digging the grave and laying her friend to rest. Her neighbours could see none of this and despite the low lighting assured Sarah that there was nothing on the street and no people in the graveyard. In order to set Sarah’s mind at ease they went with her to check on the friend whom Sarah had believed she saw dead. Upon arriving at the friend’s house, they found her sitting in her chair dead. This was the first of many accounts of Sarah either foreshadowing a death or revealing how someone died.

On another occasion, Sarah saw angels and demons fighting for the spirit of a neighbour and saw the scene of friends and relatives preparing the coffin and other funeral arrangements for the deceased. A few days later, the neighbour she had seen angels and demons fighting over lay dead and the exact friends and relatives she saw carrying out tasks did so exactly in the way that they had in her visions.

Sarah had a strong Christian faith and so was somewhat afraid of her gift so sought to use it only for good and to help those who had come to her. One way in which she did this was to help families whose loved ones had disappeared suddenly and they feared were dead, find the reason for their disappearance and recover their body. The first occasion which we know Sarah did this was when she agreed to help relatives who had a young man in their family disappear. She saw in her vision a man dripping with water and she suffered through the pain and bursting, burning sensations of the drowning man as the water filled his lungs, and she saw the area around his now lifeless body and where it lay. She told the family what she saw, and they were able to find the exact scene she had depicted and there lay the body. She did the same thing again when a fisherman had drowned somewhere she did not know and had never visited, yet she was able to describe in such clear detail how the man had drowned and where his body had drifted to that his family were able to locate it in some small depression on the shore of Loch Awe despite previous wide-ranging searches and dragging of the Loch being unsuccessful. It is reported Lord Bute remarked on her gifts and told her that she should be proud of the gift passed down from her Celtic ancestors.

Sources: Tales of Rannoch, A.D Cunnngham, 1989