My Haunted Hometown
The mention of ghosts and Scotland probably makes most people think of Edinburgh or mist cloaked castles in the Highlands. To give them their due, those kinds of places do have incredible hauntings, but they tend to eclipse other places in Scotland. Glasgow, my hometown, is a good case in point. It boasts a variety of ghosts that aren’t well known out with the local area. Here are just a few examples:
Provan Hall and Blochairn House
These two old houses are something of an anachronism in the post war housing estate of Easterhouse. Both are situated in a courtyard in Auchinlea Park, and boast a very colourful history. Provan Hall is the older of the two, dating back to the 1460s. It’s believed to be the proper oldest house in Glasgow, as it was built a few years prior to Provand’s Lordship, the ‘official’ oldest house in the city (incidentally, also said to be haunted). Things get a bit odd like that in this part of the world. King James IV used Provan Hall as his hunting lodge. Blochairn House was built up from an earlier property in the 1700s, and is notable for resembling a Jamaican plantation house, thanks to then owner, Dr James Buchanan, a relative of US President, James Buchanan.
In recent years, both houses have become notorious for ghostly activity and several paranormal groups have investigated. Four ghosts have been noted, although there may be more. In Blochairn House, the friendly spirit of Reston Mather strolls about. He was the last private owner of the house, who died in 1934; his ghost apparently told a visiting medium that he had loved the place where he had lived all his life, which is why he remains there. The ghosts in Provan Hall are of a more tragic nature. A former resident of the Hall, a rather unpleasant man by all accounts, decided to join the army one day whilst visiting his local tavern. He had recently been married, and left his wife behind whilst he served overseas. On his return four years later, he found that his wife was the mother of a two-year-old boy, that wasn’t his. Furious, he took a carving knife up to the master bedroom and slaughtered both. The ghosts of all three linger on, and the master bedroom where the murders occurred is the most haunted room in Provan Hall. The room never heats up, even though a radiator is left on nearly all day. It was certainly cold when I visited. Historical research verified that the murders did indeed occur, about 200 years ago.
The University of Glasgow
The University, of which I’m a former student, dates back to 1450. It started life in the East End of the city, before upping sticks to its current site on Gilmorehill in the upmarket West End in 1868. Some buildings on the campus are not so pretty 1960s throwbacks, but the main buildings, dating from 1868 are gorgeous. They also have some associated ghosts. The best known is perhaps the mysterious grey lady, who has been reported several times over the years by security staff patrolling at night. Descriptions of her vary. She is often mistaken for someone who is lost, or a student playing a prank. No one knows how she got to be a ghost. She is often encountered in the cloisters, or walking down the short corridor linked to the Lion and Unicorn staircase. Personally, I see her as something of a good luck charm, given that I sat the first of my Finals in a hall just off that corridor; it was also the only paper in which I scored an A!
The Pearce Lodge sits next to the main buildings. This once stood on the original site of the University and was moved to its current location brick by brick when the institution relocated. It has some strange stories attached. Years ago, one student was challenged by his friends to pass the night locked in the upstairs room of the Pearce Lodge, which was rumoured to be haunted. Security wasn’t willing to go along, but was finally persuaded, and the student was duly locked in. He didn’t last, and had to be freed after the guards heard his hysterical screams for help. Apparently, some books were launched from their shelves by an unseen hand. That was enough to make the student gladly lose a bet. On another occasion, a security guard walking by the building at about 2 AM saw a figure peering out at him from the window of the turret. He called for backup and checked. Nobody was there.
Dalmarnock Road Bridge
This tale is probably the best known in Glasgow. Dalmarnock Road Bridge crosses the River Clyde not far from the city boundary with the Burgh of Rutherglen. For decades, people walking across the bridge have been startled to see a young man with cropped hair, dressed in dark trousers and short jacket, scale the parapet of the bridge and jump into the river below. However, on rushing to check, witnesses find no trace of the man. A notable occurrence happened in the early 1970s and was documented by late ghost hunter Andrew Green. The story behind the ghost is vague. Some say he is the spirit of a young man who took his life jumping from the bridge after his love life took a turn for the worse.
Glasgow has one of the oldest subway systems in the world, dating back to 1896. It’s probably also one of the smallest, running in a circle of just over six miles, with 15 stations along its route. Still, it has some intriguing tales. During its construction, the tunnels cut through a former plague pit at the intersection between Shields Road and West Street Stations. Workers found some rather unpleasant things in the soil. Not long after, they began reporting an unpleasant haunting they called The Clatter because of the noise it made. It began as a small ball of light emanating from the tunnel wall, growing in size until it engulfed the entire area. Anyone caught up would hear a loud racket, described as being like several cookery pots crashing to the floor. They would also see hideously anguished faces float before them. This was attributed to the souls of the plague pit whose bodies were disturbed. The bizarre phenomena stopped once construction was complete.
The ghost of a young woman clad in the best of 1930s fashion has often been reported at Hillhead Station. She is meant to be a happy ghost, heard singing at times by maintenance workers fixing the line after the Station shuts at night. A not so happy spirit is The Grey Lady at West Street. In 1922, a young woman was on the platform of this station with a baby, when she seemingly jumped in front on the train making a stop. The woman died, although the Station Master managed to save the baby. Ever since then, the spirit of the sad young woman has been seen around the station. Finally, a one off incident occurred in Kelvinbridge Station just after closing time. A cleaner heard a disembodied voice, cursing and swearing. The police were called, and the two attending officers were treated to the same performance, but could find no culprits