Thursday, 11 October 2018

Spook Sightings Of Yester Year - No. 7 - A Glasgow Ghost and The Slouch Hat Horror

Finally finished with jury duty, and so now I should have some more time to work on posts for the blog! I do however, still have this stinking sinusitis, which is filling my head with gloop and pain and making it tricky to function as a normal human...hopefully not for much longer now though, as that's almost a week I've been suffering!

Anyway, for now it's time for some more random Spook Sightings from days of old! First up is a story from the pages of the Edinburgh Evening Courant, dated August 10th 1867...



For some days a considerable excitement has prevailed in Calton, Mile End, and Bridgeton, in consequence of a rumour that a ghost—not a mere creation of fancy—but a real, veritable ghost, was astonishing the lieges by sundry nocturnal pranks in a mill at or near London Road. The vicinity of this mill has for several nights been thronged by hundreds of people—the majority being grownup women and boys and girls—anxious to get s glimpse of the unearthly visitor. 

The report runs that some of the folks who have occasion to pass along London Road after nightfall had heard strange noises and witnessed wonderful visions there. The apparition was said to make its appearance at a particular window in the mill, and assume various forms. After going through some fantastic manoeuvres, the engine was started, the machinery was set agoing, and thereafter the work—spinning and reeling—went merrily on. It would thus appear that, like the brownies of old, this ghost is of industrious habits; though it is not likely that spinning and weaving by supernatural agency will meet with the approbation of the mill workers. 

Bunworth Banshee, "Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland", by Thomas Crofton Croker, 1825

Amongst the crowds who assemble in London Road nightly many curious theories have been enunciated. An old woman, evidently a native of the Emerald Isle, affirms in the most positive terms that the visitor is a Banshee, from the bogs of Ireland; but how it managed to get across the Channel she was unable to say. One thing she was certain of, that the boat would be safe with a Banshee on board. With others a favourable hypothesis was that “The Flying Dutchman" had changed his tack, and found a new direction for his energies ; while others seemed to have no doubt that some clever necromancer was playing on the credulity of the good folks of the East-End. 

By many it was positively averred, and firmly believed, that a sum of money had been offered to any one who will have the courage to speak to the apparition, with the view of ascertaining what is his, her or its object in thus scaring poor mortals. Others, of a less mercenary and more pious disposition, suggested that some clergyman should be asked to enact the part of Hamlet, become the interlocutor, and endeavour to pluck the heart out of this mystery. 

A totally unrelated picture, except its from Glasgow 1867 - Highland sports Celtic Society College Green Glasgow 1867 

As it does not appear, however, that any one of the hundreds who visited London Road on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings got a glimpse of the mysterious stranger, no application has been made, and the likelihood is it will soon be recognised that the sole puzzle to be solved is how the silly delusion originated or could have spread.—N. B. Mail.


Next up is a story from the pages of the Birmingham Gazette, dated Wednesday 26th June 1929...

Man in a Slouch Hat

Oswestry, Tuesday.

A Midsummer ghost in a slouch hat, appearing at dawn in an old water-mill cottage, in a Shropshire lane at Weston Rhyn, has so terrorised a woman that she is under the doctor's care suffering from severe shock, and a rough-haired terrier that it has refused food for for four days.

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Price, junr., of Whittington, near Oswestry, where they have lived for 10 years, removed on Thursday, to the old water-mill cottage four miles away. Mr. Price, who is an enterprising farm worker, wished to improve himself, and he had hoped to establish a small-holding next the water-mill

Just as day was breaking on Friday, Mrs. Price got up with the intention of putting her house in order before her husband left for his work. As she was lighting the fire the dog gave a savage snarl, and on turning round Mrs. Price saw what the dog had first seen - a ghostly apparition in a slouch hat.

She screamed, and fled upstairs to her husband. the dog followed, and though almost paralyzed by fear, instinct to protect its mistress kept it with its face to the foe, and it went backwards upstairs.
But the ordeal was too much even for the dog, and it collapsed. So did Mrs. Price.

(Ad from same page of newspaper)


The husband went downstairs but saw nothing of the ghost, and he found both doors as securely locked as they were when he retired to bed the night before.

So frightened and helpless was the dog that it had to be carried downstairs. Mrs. Price would not stay any longer in the house and went back to Whittington.

The story of her return to the village was related to me by Mr. Edward Price senior, as he sat smoking his pipe at the entrance to the historic Whittington Castle.

"I was frightened out of my wits," said Mr. Price, "when my daughter-in-law came up to me and collapsed in my arms. I wondered what had brought her back, and she managed to whisper that she would rather go back to her folks in Herefordshire than to return to the water-mill cottage.

(Another weird story from the same newspaper page)

"I sent for a doctor, and when he came he said my daughter-in-law had received a severe shock. Later, my son told me how, in the early morning, his wife and the rough-haired terrier were frightened by a ghost at the water-mill cottage.

"My daughter-in-law is too ill to see anyone. The dog is completely cowed and too frightened to eat. It has not had a sup or a bite since Thursday.

"Some people say there are no such things as ghosts," continued Mr. Price, "but I who have seen them know better. One night I saw what I thought was a cat. I called 'Pussy, pussy,' but it grew and grew until it was bigger than me, and I was frightened, I can tell you. I struck matches until the glow disappeared."


"I had another terrifying experience," went on Mr. Price, who is 72. "One night the bedclothing was twice gradually pulled of me. I struck a light but could see no one. I thought I would track the ghost, so I put sawdust on the bedroom floor, but I was never able to solve the mystery. On another occasion a clock was bowled off the mantelpiece and shot across the room. I have the clock still.

"They saw something, too," added Mr. Price (referring to his daughter-in-law and the dog,) "or they would never both have collapsed like they did. My son is bringing back his furniture from the small cottage to Whittington, where he has rented another cottage."

I made my way to the water-mill cottage, which was locked up. The water-mill was grinding corn. I questioned the miller. No, he had never seen or heard a ghost either in the mill or the cottage, and he could not venture ant explanation of the experience of Mrs. Price and her dog.

(Some more stories from the same newspaper page - click for a better read)


Back tomorrow with another post, but in the meantime check out all the other Halloween weirdness posted by other bloggy types over at the Countdown To Halloween!

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