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News / Harmless Fun

Four of Glasgow's spookiest ghost stories

necropolis, gravestones, cemetery
Photo: Rory,

Once again it’s the time of year when we dress up and go out guising for some sweet delights. But there’s more to Halloween than trick or treating, particularly where Glasgow's involved. To the untrained eye our cultural haven may look like a city bursting with life, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find plenty of stories concerning Glasgow's afterlife too. From ghostly apparitions stalking our beloved Clockwork Orange to vampires roaming the southern Necropolis, Glasgow has its fair share of dark and spooky mysteries. So take a peek, if you dare, at these ghoulish tales.

The beautiful lady of Hillhead underground
Glasgow’s underground was opened in 1896 and over the years has been central to many tales regarding things that go bump in the night. Take for instance, Hillhead station. Ever been casually waiting for the subway and heard the mysterious sound of laughter drifting across an empty platform? If you haven’t had the pleasure yet perhaps you will, as the ghost associated with this West End stop-off tends to be heard either laughing her head off, giving a little whistle or singing a song or two. There's nothing to worry about though; the beautiful lady is one of Glasgow’s friendlier ghosts and is most often sighted decked out in her 1930s finery. Witnesses who have spotted her often sense an aura of happiness when she’s about. This ghost sounds like a hoot and a half.

The demon child of Shields Road underground
Another subway stop with particular links to the paranormal is Shields Road. Three ghosts have been associated with the stretch of track between West Street and Shields Road over the years. Most frightening of these is the story of a demon which has been sighted in the area several times. Those unlucky enough to have seen the entity describe it as a half boy, half animal. Weirder still, it’s always reported to be chewing on something rather grizzly when spotted. Rest easy though, sightings of this particular ghost fizzled out in 1955. Let’s hope it stays that way.

The Arches ghost
The most recent entrant on our list comes from the spate of sightings which revolved around the Alien Wars game taking place in the Arches in 2009. Throughout the production, cast members repeatedly witnessed the apparition of a young girl roaming the downstairs corridors. Adding to the mystery was the fact that anytime the apparition was approached, the young girl would scream and flee the scene. This one remains unsolved for now and, seeing as the Arches is no more, is unlikely to be clarified for the foreseeable future.

The Necropolis vampire
Officially opened in 1840, Glasgow’s southern Necropolis is the resting ground of over 250,000 souls. In 1954, the cemetery made the news for the most unlikely of reasons. For several nights in a row children from the Gorbals area of Glasgow roamed the graveyard, bearing sharpened sticks and even knives, searching for a seven foot tall vampire. Said to have metal teeth, the vampire was blamed for the disappearance of two local children. Records at the time showed that no children were in fact missing but it was too late, the story had grown (7ft tall) legs and panic swept the area.

Luckily no children were found to be harmed and the blame for the gruesome rumour was given to American comic books, such as 'Tales From the Crypt', which were avidly read at the time. The story had such an effect that the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955 was passed. This measure specifically banned the sale of magazines and comics portraying 'incidents of a repulsive or horrible nature' to minors.

See Time Out's guide to Halloween in Glasgow.