The Mystery of the Touring Ghost

From Blairgowrie to Arbroath, a spine-tingling tale once captivated the locals and stirred up a flurry of excitement. It all began when a mischievous ghost embarked on a mysterious tour, leaving a trail of bizarre antics in its wake. The extraordinary occurrences caught the attention of the community, prompting eager residents to share their eerie encounters with the local newspapers.

Rumours of the ghost’s escapades spread like wildfire, fuelling the imagination of both sceptics and believers alike. Whispers of spectral sightings and unexplained phenomena rippled through the towns, leaving residents intrigued and, perhaps, a touch unnerved. It seemed that this otherworldly visitor was determined to make its presence known, defying the veil between the living and the ethereal realms.

As the ghostly tour unfolded, the local newspapers became the stage for the stories that emerged from Blairgowrie to Arbroath. Tales of spectral apparitions materialized in the dead of night, leaving witnesses breathless and filled with a peculiar blend of awe and trepidation. Readers eagerly devoured each account, craving more details about the ghost’s antics and the brave souls who had crossed paths with the supernatural.

From unexplained footsteps echoing through deserted streets to objects mysteriously levitating, the ghost’s antics became the talk of the town. Reports surfaced of phantom voices whispering in the wind and eerie lights flickering in abandoned buildings, casting an eerie glow over the once-familiar landscapes. The newspapers were flooded with letters from both those seeking to unravel the mystery and those sharing their own spine-chilling encounters.

As the community eagerly followed the unfolding tale, some embraced the ghostly visitor as an enigmatic, otherworldly companion, while others remained wary, uncertain of the intentions behind its ethereal escapades. But one thing was certain: the ghost had etched its spectral presence into the fabric of Blairgowrie and Arbroath, forever altering the perceptions of those who had experienced the supernatural first-hand.

With each passing day, the excitement grew, and the local newspapers continued to chronicle the haunting journey of this enigmatic spirit. The ghost’s tour from Blairgowrie to Arbroath had sparked a sense of wonder and curiosity that enveloped the towns, reminding us that the mysteries of the supernatural still linger, even in the modern age.

It all started in the final week of November, with the Evening Telegraph gaining the scoop on the spectral incident for their Saturday edition on 1st December 1900.

“GHOST TOURING THROUGH PERTHSHIRE. SCARE IN BLAIRGOWRIE DISTRICT.

During the past week reports have come in from various directions which seem to indicate that someone is about playing ghostly pranks similar to the Springheel-Jack who annoyed the people of Dundee and elsewhere a number of years ago. For a time little attention was paid to the statements made by different individuals, but they have become so numerous and persistent that some credence is being paid to them. The earliest appearance of the ‘ghost’ in this district seems to have been on Tuesday last (27th Nov) when a farmer from the Stormont district was startled by its sudden appearance as he was driving home from market. The pony was thoroughly frightened and bolted.  The cause of fright seemed a partly clad figure chiefly in white.  Its next appearance was on Wed night when it suddenly appeared amongst some boys near the Public Park, Perth Road.  They were at football but made a unanimous bolt, without any dispute as to goals. One of the lads, it is said would not go to work the next morning until he had his father’s (illegible). The apparition was next seen on the same night by a gentleman.

DRIVING FROM BLAIRGOWRIE

On being asked where it came from, the creature indicated sulphurous regions usually associated with Old Nick which, however, did not deter the gentleman in question from applying his whip to the ghost, who disappeared as quickly as possible. It is reported to have been seen about the same road on Thursday night.  (Illegible but reads kinda like this – A woman coming down the road is said to have been subsequently joined by the ghost.) As it was very dark she was unable to see who it was very little (still illegible); but on making a casual remark about the weather, the apparition disappeared up by Cuttle Buru. A number of millworkers declared they saw the thing about Bankhead yesterday morning; and Coupar angus, Alyth, Newtyle and Meigle seem to have had visits from it. At the last place, a girl is said to have been FRIGHTENED TO DEATH by it. The story is that the ‘ghost’ is a gentleman who has taken up a wage of £1000 that he will make a tour of Perthshire in disguise and escape detection.  Some of the Blairgowrie lieges only wish they may have the pleasure of his company some night. They are prepared to give him a warmer reception than anything he has been accustomed to (illegible) he habitually resides where he declares he does.”

It took the sulphurous spook 3 weeks to make another reappearance, and this time, the Evening Post was all over the story!

“GHOST-RIDDEN DUNDEE. OUR HAUNTED SUBURBS. LOCHEE’S GHOST AND THE FAIR MAID – A STORT AND A THEORY. DOWNFIELD HAS A PECULIAR VISITOR.

Lochee has during the past week been extremely quiet at nights. The suburbanites retire early o’ nights and the quiet secluded promenades on the Birkie Road are as deserted as the Sahara, save for the occasional tread of the policeman going his round.  And all this has been caused by the cantrips of one who apparently recognises not the sway of poor mortal beings.

Despite the precautions taken by the Lochee people to keep clear of the path of the nocturnal prowler, there are one or two persons in the suburb who boast (when they are safe at the fireside) of having a nodding acquaintanceship with the dread visitor.

It was only the other night that a young maid of some 20 winters was tripping merrily along Perrie Street bent on some domestic errand. When some distance along the thoroughfare, she came to an abrupt standstill. In front of her stood an awful vision, dressed in white. (Notice how exactly the descriptions of the habiliments of the visitor coincide). His hat was ablaze with light and as the breeze blew the folds of his garments aside, it disclosed vestments of a flaming red.  The visitor may have appeared only for the amicable purpose of presenting the compliments of the season to the fair maid, but she apparently would not hear them. Uttering a piercing shriek, she fled down the street and into the house of a friend.

The further movements of the apparition that night cannot be traced with accuracy but the following story embraces a theory:-

A certain young worth, whom we shall call ‘Brannigan’ is employed as a message boy to a baker and one dark night he is sent on an errand with a heavy basket.  The road was dark and dreary and Brannigan armed himself with a small lantern. Along the road he went, whistling with all his might and main a few bars of the ‘Lass of Killiecrankie’ just to keep his spirits up.

Now it so happened that there was coming along the road a youth employed on a farm in the vicinity, ad who, as the day had been very wet, had a sack over his head with the body of it hanging down his back like a cloak. Soon the two representatives of the rising generation met on the narrow pathway. The farmer lad looked at Brannigan and Brannigan with terror-stuck face and lantern in his hand stood gazing at his visitor. For some minutes both stood staring at one another, and then the humour of the situation struck the bucolic youth and he ejaculated ‘boo’.

This was too much for the baker boy Dropping his basket and lantern he ran down the road calling for help and mercy.

GHOST HUNT AT DOWNFIELD

From Lochee to Downfield is not a far cry, and a well-equipped Springheeled Jack could readily cover the distance of an evening. At any rate, the Downfield people have had a taste of the thrilling sensations experienced by the dwellers of the ‘dark suburb’ for the past fortnight.

Last night just when most people were thinking of retiring to rest, the hue and cry was raised in the northern part of the village that his ghostship had appeared and was holding high jinks in a field in the vicinity of the Downfield tennis courts.

The apparition was seen by quite a number of people and is descried as being of the phosphorescent king – a fact which points to his being either the Lochee ghost himself of a twin brother.

After the first sensations had subsided, the affrighted inhabitant held a council of war and a strong force of stalwarts was speedily organised, armed with sticks and bludgeons, to hunt down the nocturnal visitant.

The pursuers had no difficulty in locating his whereabouts but as they advanced across the field, he showed his ‘slimness’ by vanishing into the Camperdown Woods.

The appearance of the ghost has created something like a reign of terror among the more timid residents, and the ‘stalwarts’ row that the hunt will be made hotter for him if he should again humour the village with a visit.

ARBROATH NEXT SPOT

GHOST FRIGHTENS TWO LOVERS.

While the ‘ghost’ has been advertising himself throughout Perthshire and Lochee, Arbroath had, up to last night, been exempt from such visitations.  The men in blue had apparently been matters just a little too hot for his liking in Lochee and having raised a hornet’s nest about his ear, he decided to seek fresh fields and pastures new.

The good folks of Arbroath are not just what you would call timid, but the town had apparently taken the ghost’s fancy and last night he revealed himself in all his ghostly array on the High Common.  Ranged along the top of the commons are a number of seats, and about 9pm last night seated on the farthest seat were a youth and a maiden.

Chancing to look around, the girl was horrified to see what she took to be the head of a man peering over the wall and with a shriek she rushed along the footpath. Her unusual conduct had apparently startled her knight, who made off as fast as he could after her. Once when he ventured to look behind him, there stood the ghost – a tall figure clad in white, waving its arms. Fear lent speed to the lovers’ flight, who, meeting others, told them what had occurred.

On arriving in town, the story of the appearance of the ghost was told, and shortly after 11pm, several men, armed with sticks, proceeded to the Common, prepared to give him a warm reception should he appear before them; but though they waited long and patiently, nothing rewarded their search.”

After only a few days, on 25th December 1900, the Evening Post headlines again screamed of hauntings and an angry encounter between a mob and the so-called ghost.

“MORE ‘GHOSTLY’ SCENES FROM LOCHEE TO BROUGHTY

THE SPECTRE CHASED FOR HIS LIFE

Despite the exertions of several enthusiastic Lochee ghost hunters, the ‘spectre’ which during the past 2 or 3 weeks has been disporting itself in the suburb, has not yet been laid by the heels.  He continues to bob up serenely in the most out of the way places, and rather startles the good citizens by a most flagrant breach of the rules of etiquette insofar that he makes sundry remarks without having gone through the formalities of an introduction.

The latest person to encounter the spook was an elderly gentleman – quiet and sedate – and not at all given to undue perversion of the truth. He was on his homeward journey, and when in the vicinity of Perrie Street (which henceforth shall go down to future generations as a thoroughfare ‘not a’ the gather canny’) he was startled, not to say surprised to see someone spring out of an entry and striking what is technically called a ‘dramatic attitude’, proceed to ejaculate in a manner both wonderful and terrible. The old gentleman had his eyes opened to such an extent that he had no room for the minor details of his visitor’s garments. One thing however, he is positive about – he had a white sheet wrapped about his body and he ‘jumped up and down’ as if he had springs on his heels. Truly a ghost beyond all doubt. The old fellow does not appear to have entered into conversation with his aerial visitor, and the latter, taking the taciturnity as a sign of the cold shoulder, forthwith took his departure.

For a night or two, the ‘spook’ seems to have lain low, and if all accounts be true, he has forsaken Lochee for the other suburb of Broughty Ferry. The victim was in this case a milkman or to be more accurate, the ghost himself. It was early morning, and the milkman was driving along the Claypotts Road on his way to Broughty. He had no thought of ghosts in his mind and so he was all the more surprised to see as he was driving past the ruined pile of Claypotts Castle, a figure advance from the shadow of the hedge and stand in the middle of the road. The vestments of the figure appeared to be a fawn-coloured cloak, with a white sheet around the upper part of the body while he also wore a light coloured ‘tile’ hat.  The milk seller, without hesitation seized his whip, sprang out of the machine, and proceeded to grapple with the intruder.  The ‘ghost’ did not however stay to give combat but ignominiously took to his heels. He made for a field to the east of Claypotts castle the milkman close behind him. To the milkman’s great disappointment, the ‘ghost’ proved to be more fleet of foot and sure of wind than he and he soon lost sight of his visitor amongst some houses at the south side of the field.”

Events didn’t stop there. In fact, as the nights grew, more and more people became agitated, and were out on the streets, searching for the ghost.

Read more in part 2 here…

– DD Tours operates walking tours in Dundee city, covering dark local history such as wars, battles, murders, diseases, riots, disasters and executions. Walk with us for an unforgettable storytelling experience.

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