The seer who foresaw his killers’ doom

According to legend, a Scottish mystic, the Brahan Seer, known in his Scottish Gaelic as Coinneach Odhar, and Kenneth Mackenzie, was able to predict the future accurately, as he had done so on numerous occasions about various events.

“long strings of carriages without horses…”

-The Brahan Seer’s prediction about railways

“Ships will sail round the back of Tomnahurich Hill…”

-The remarkably accurate prediction regarding the creation of the Caledonian Canal that came true almost 200 years later after being considered illogical initially. Today the 19th century Caledonian Canal forks off from the River Ness at the eastern head of Loch Ness – which continues its route through Inverness town centre – and heads north-east “round the back of Tomnahurich”, exiting into the Moray Firth at Clachnaharry.

The Seer used an Adder stone, a stone with a hole in the middle, to see his visions

He is thought to have used an Adder stone, a stone with a hole in the middle, to see his visions.

He once predicted that the Bonar Bridge would be swept away under “a flock of sheep”. In 1892, the bridge was swept away by a flood. Those who witnessed the disaster likened the foam-current to a densely packed flock of sheep

He foretold that when there were five bridges over the River Ness, there would be total worldwide chaos. In August 1939, there were five bridges over the Ness, and on September 1 the exact same year, Hitler invaded Poland.

Furthermore, he added that there would be fire when there were nine bridges. The ninth bridge was built in 1987, and the Piper Alpha disaster happened the following year.

Having become famous as a diviner and wit, he was invited to Seaforth territory in the east, to work as a labourer at Brahan Castle near Dingwall, in what is now the county of Easter Ross, where he met his downfall.

He was brutally murdered at Chanonry Point, when he was allegedly boiled in a spiked tar barrel, on the command of the Earl’s wife, Lady Seaforth.

Surely, there must’ve been some reason for her to order his execution. Apparently, that reason was a simple prediction that the Seer had made, quite accurately, that her absent husband, the Earl of Seaforth, was engaged in sexual relationships with one or more women in Paris. Although a true occurrence, it was highly outrageous to Lady Seaforth, as it cast her husband in a scandal, that would tarnish their family name and heap humiliation on her.

But that’s not all. Shortly before the barbaric execution, the Seer turned to his executioners and prophesied doom-that the last of the house would be deaf and dumb, all his sons would predecease him, and thus the ancient family line would be extiguished, only for the estate to be inherited by ‘a white hooded lassie from the East” who would kill her sister. He also claimed that they would be able to tell when all of this is going to occur when all four of the great Highland lairds had some physical defect: one would be buck-toothed, one hare-lipped, one half-witted, and one a stammerer.

This would eventually happen as the 17th century was nearing its end. The lairds were the chiefs of the Granst, the MacLeods of Raasay, The Mackenzies of Gairloch, and the Chisholms. In 1815, Francis Mackenzie, the sole remaining heir of the Seaforths, died due to an illness that caused him to lose both his speech and hearing. He had caught scarlet fever at age twelve. He had four illegitimate sons, all of whom died before he did. His eldest daughter Mary, wearing white in mourning for her own deceased husband, would return from the East Indies as the heiress of the family to receive her inheritance.

Later, while driving her sister in a pony trap, Mary lost control, and her sister was thrown out and killed.

Since then, many historians after not having found much evidence and documentation about the Seer’s very existence have questioned it.


The Brahan Seer’s life, prophesies and death remain legendary.

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