Charles Erskine, Lord Alva, the Lord Justice Clerk, presided over one of the most intriguing cases ever brought before the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh.

Erskine was born on November 25, 1680, to Charles Erskine of Alva and his wife Christian Dundas.

He went on to study law at the University of Edinburgh and became a Member of Parliament for Dumfriesshire for a time, then the Tain Burghs.

However his heart law in law. He became Solicitor General for Scotland, Lord Advocate, then in November, 1744, became a Lord of Justiciary.

In 1748, he became Lord Justice Clerk, and it was in this role he presided over one of the only cases in the world to permit a ghost story in court.

In 1754, Duncan Clerk and Alexander Macdonald were charged in connection with the death of Sergeant Arthur Davies, an English soldier garrisoned near Braemar in Aberdeenshire.

Davies and a detachment of men had been dispatched from Aberdeen to find and dispose of any tartan worn, as it had been banned in 1746 following the Jacobite Uprising, and gather any arms they found.

Once or twice a week they were to meet up with a corporal and his men who were stationed at the Spittal of Glenshee, at the Cairnwell Pass.

On September 28, 1749, the sergeant had set out early with four men to have this meeting with the corporal.

Later that afternoon the four soldiers returned and informed his wife they had seen him on a hill and had heard a shot. A search party was sent out, but he was nowhere to be found.

In June, 1750, Alexander Macpherson of Inverey saw an apparition dressed in blue while staying at his employer's house.

He got out of bed and followed it to the door where the ghost of Davies told him where to find his body. He begged him to give him a proper burial.

The body was found exactly where the ghost had said, in a peat bog on the hill.

Macpherson reported the discovery but was told just go and bury the body and to keep quiet about the whole affair.

The ghost appeared a second time, so Macpherson asked who had killed him. It named Clerk and Macdonald.

As soon as the names of the perpetrators had been given, the apparition vanished.

Isobel MacHardy, his employer's wife, backed up his claim about the ghost.

The two men were found not guilty of killing Davies and the case remains unsolved