Unfortunately in my last article, detailing some of the best ghostly tales associated with my hometown of Glasgow in Scotland, quite a few stories were left out. As they are too good to pass up on, I’m continuing my haunted round up this month.
Southern Necropolis, The Gorbals
The Southern Necropolis is a sizeable cemetery which opened in 1840 to provide a respectable and affordable burial place for residents of The Gorbals and surrounding areas. The Gorbals is a rather strange name in itself to say the least; apparently it relates to sheaves of something, by virtue of the Latin garbale Scots Gaelic garbal teind. Locally, the cemetery is the source of several spooky legends. It was the site of a vampire hunt staged by local schoolchildren in 1954, which became so infamous, it became international news. Creepier still is the White Lady statue, which is supposed to move. People claim that when visiting the graveyard at night, they have seen the statue’s head move as it apparently watches them move through the graves. The statue is part of a memorial to Magdalene Smith and her housekeeper Mary McNaughton, who died after being hit by a car during the early 1930s. It’s speculated that one of the women haunt the statue. The legend goes that to stop yourself from being turned to stone by the statue’s stare, you must run around it three times whilst shouting, “White Lady! White Lady”. Witnesses have also reported seeing a white female wraith flitting about the cemetery.
Maxwell Park Poltergeist, Pollokshields
This poltergeist case lasted from 1974 to 1975 and concerned a family living in an apartment block in Maxwell Park. The family had two sons, aged 14 and 11, who seemed to be the focus of the activity. The eldest lad was also something of a rebel, whilst the family had an ongoing feud with the tenants of the apartment above theirs. Activity included the usual poltergeist repertoire of causing floods, scratching, loud rapping and thuds, moving furniture and setting off toys, terrifying the family. A range of people from city councillors, police, social workers, workmen and journalists witnessed it. After six months of the carry-on, renowned Scottish ghost hunter, Professor Archie E Roy began to investigate. The late Professor Roy wryly noted that a high ranking policeman told him he had to take officers off the case after reports were submitted along the lines of “the bed was proceeding in a northerly direction.” The phenomena ended following the death of one of the residents with whom the family had fallen out and the older son had spent some time with his grandparents in the countryside.
The Pearce Institute, Govan
The Pearce Institute, known locally as the P.I. is a very interesting haunting practically in my own backyard. Opening in 1906, the P.I. has served as a community hub for Govan ever since. It was built in memory of Sir William Pearce, a local shipbuilder and Member of Parliament, who died in 1885. His widow, Lady Mary Pearce took charge of the project, and it seems she still looks after the building from the afterlife. Staff at the P.I. described her as being a friendly entity. On one occasion, she was spotted standing on the balcony overlooking the MacLeod Hall watching the local Zumba class. Earlier, members of the class had reported feeling as though they were being watched, though nobody was there. Other spirits seem to linger on in the P.I. – Glasgow medium Tom Rannachan, who incidentally grew up in Govan, encountered a ghostly old man staring at him one lunchtime, whilst sitting in the theatre. In another incident, a young boy attending the children’s summer program got something of a comeuppance after being disruptive. He ran into the gym, and very quickly raced back out again, seemingly terrified by something he refused to talk about. One night, one of the caretakers was in the MacLeod Hall, when the pipe organ began to play. Only thing was, he was the only person in the building, and the organ had been dismantled!
The Western Infirmary, Partick
It’s unclear what is going to happen to the ghost of this hospital in the near future. The local health board is in the process of moving the facilities elsewhere, returning the land to the University of Glasgow, who granted it for the construction of the teaching hospital attached to the medical school. Perhaps he will join the University’s resident Grey Lady and mysterious poltergeist. At least he would have the surroundings to suit his eminent position. The ghost in question is said to be that of Sir William MacEwen, a pioneering surgeon, who died in 1924. A specialist in brain surgery, Sir MacEwen was approached by a young artist requesting surgery to salve severe headaches. Sir MacEwen refused this request. Shortly afterwards, the young man died after falling downstairs whilst smoking during one of his headaches. It’s thought that Sir William haunts the hospital, wracked with guilt for refusing to operate. Several nurses have reported seeing a ghostly man resembling Sir William walking the hospital corridors. In an unrelated incident in 1975, Nurse Mary MacLellan encountered a silver haired old man in a dressing gown standing in a corridor, before vanishing. Almost immediately, she met a hysterical colleague who had also seen the man and recognised him as a patient who died two days previously.
Queen’s Park, Langside
The area that now forms Queen’s Park was the site of the Battle of Langside, which took place on May 13, 1868. This was a key battle, involving Mary, Queen of Scots and the Regent Moray. The Queen lost the battle, and was imprisoned not long after. However, for centuries after the end of the skirmish, several people in the area reported seeing bloody soldiers trooping about the vicinity of the park. Legend has it that on the anniversary of the battle, it is re-enacted in the sky above the duck pond, last reported in 1996. Tales of the ghostly stories are linked to a legendary De’il’s Kirkyard, where soldiers slain in the battle were laid to rest. Amongst them were Catholic soldiers, who were ineligible for burial in the local Cathcart graveyard due to their religion. They were buried in a mass grave on unconsecrated ground, causing their spirits to walk the earth. As it is, no one is sure just where the graveyard is located. As for Mary, Queen of Scots, she appears to be Scotland’s busiest ghost, rumoured to haunt numerous castles across both England and Scotland!