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How to begin…let’s see…Hmm. A complete account of the incident…no. A complete account of the…the. A Complete account of the events of…ugh…I need to start. I’ll just…start. 

 

The Railway line from (beeped out) to (beeped out) was to be reopened. To many, this seemed like a foolish endeavour. Why try to reopen the line when maintaining the roads would take as much effort and much less steel? The railway hadn’t been used in over a decade – not since the last war and subsequent depression had wiped out the transport budgets on both sides. Someone in some department was determined though, determined enough to push through the plan, and their ideas may have had some merit. 

 

The line was winding, it was true, but not as winding as the roads, which had to be moved about every year – sometimes by miles – to adjust to floods and landslides. Whoever has built the original track had clearly taken time to plan properly – the route wound around the hills when it needed to, avoided the marshes, included sturdy bridges and most importantly tunnled through the mountains instead of trying to climb them. It was built to last and it would be a waste to let it decay any further. A comitee was formed, the words ‘infastrcture for the public good’ were typed on a file and eventually, months down the line, the first tentative explorative missions were planned.

 

Surprisingly little can be found of these first missions. I tried to find some records after my own expereinces of the tracks, but if there is one thing a government in crisis is good at, it’s a cover-up. After months of searching all I could come up with was a single non-official log book that a woman had kept after her friend vanished. I believe it was overlooked due to clear lack of understanding of the relationship between the two women. When I found her she was still wearing black and a matching pair of rings – one on her finger and one on a chain around her neck. She was more than happy to meet, urging me to take the log book and try and discover what I could. I could see how the sight of my scars hurt her – she was surely wondering what sort of fate her partner had encountered if a survivor was so badly marked. I was tempted to lie and claim the scars were from the war but this was a mission of truth. There was no point giving her false hope. 

 

My name is (beeped out) and I was assigned to the midway railway station six months after the last exploratory missions ended. When I was given the job I was told that the missions had been a success – the lines were damaged but the buckling would withstand the tough military trains that were leftover from wartime. These were the most efficient way to access the damaged areas and carry over the supplied to fix them. Every station along the way was derelict and the villages that they marked were still too impoverished to support the operation – if they even still existed. The trains would need at least one refilling station where reports of their journey could be sent back to the capital. I was to run this location. 

 

I arrived at the very beginning of spring, when snow still lay on the ground and only the very earliest buds had appeared on the trees. I started out in (beeped out), armed with only a small suitcase and a packed lunch. The train station was little more than a warehouse, grimy and echoing, filled with the rusting hulks of the military trains. I made my was to the only active platform and waited anxiously among the soldiers. The train we were taking was massive – more like a tank than anything else. The sides were plated with thick sheets of studded steel and the only windows were thin slits near the top. It belted out smoke as it waited for us to board. I tried not to cough in front of the men surrounding me. 

 

They were friendly enough once they learned I was going to be the new station master. One of two exchanged looked I didn’t understand and I was asked a few times if I had much knowledge of the railway line. I don’t know if my obvious naivety or orders from above kept them from spilling the truth.

 

The ride was bumpy; the rails below us were warped and rough from age. The train moved along slowly. I couldn’t see outside the dim carriage, so I spent my time chatting to the soldiers, sharing out my little packed lunch and  – mostly – sitting in silence. The atmosphere was strange. The soldiers seemed on high alert, even for military men. Looking back, I can’t even imagine how afraid they all must have been. 

 

I fell asleep once during the journey, resting my head against my rolled up jacket. It was a fickle, restless sleep, but it must have lasted several hours. Now I think back I can barely imagine how I managed it. When I woke it was dark, the only light coming from the swinging bulbs that lines the walls. The train had stopped.

 

Still half asleep, I turned to the nearest soldier to ask whether we had reached my destination, only to see he was pale and sweating under the yellow light. No one was moving and weapons were now glinting in various hands. I shrank back, more confused than afraid, still half-asleep. 

Before I could ask what was going on a long shrill whistle came from the front of the carriage and the atmosphere immediately relaxed. The soldier next to me  – really just a boy, certainly younger than I was – closed his eyes and I saw tears rolling down his face before he quickly wiped them away with his sleeve and turned away. I sat up, pretending to have just awoken and spent the last few hours of travel in quiet contemplation. 

 

We reached my destination at dawn. The train stopped, slow and creaking and the carriage was opened, letting in the golden rays of sun like a path to a better place. I fought to make myself thank the soldiers before escaping the confines of the metal train. I stepped out, glad to have finally arrived.

 

The platform was wood, almost rotted through and I nearly tripped as I navigated its rough surface. No one got out with me. An officer, exhausted and stern, handed my a dossier, shook my hand and handed my a large package, all without a word. He got back on the train and soon it was off again, groaning as it went along the worn out tracks. As it passed by me I noticed my carriage – which had a large number six painted on the door – was now the last one on the train. I had been sure there was another behind it when we started out. As it pulled away I saw that there was an off discolouration on the rear of the carriage – black like soot. I stood and watched it until the train finally went out of sight. 

 

The station itself was what you would expect from an isolation building that had been ignored for a decade. It was built in the pre-war style – simple and made of wood with a stone foundation and a long sloping roof. It was raised up on a stone platform to make it level with the platform with steps leading down to the ground and the outbuildings behind it. The platform itself was short, ending on each side with stone ramps. On the other side of the tracks was a wide meadow that lead across to the forest beyond. Behind me, the meadow continued to distant foothills and on either side the forest curved around, encircling the meadow on three sides. The land felt wide and flat as it spread out before me. I could see the tracks on each side for several miles until they vanished into the trees. Other than my own little compound there were no other buildings – no sign of humans other than the station and the tracks. The sky was bright, the sun warming me as it rose over the forest. It gave me some comfort. That glorious sky was a barrier between me and the mystery of the night before.

 

I opened the dossier and pulled out a ring of rusted looking keys and a thick folder. The words ‘instructions for the role of station master’ were printed in red on the front. I looked through keyring until I found one that matched the huge padlock on the station doors and spend several minutes wrestling with it, finally opening with the help of some grese from the remains of yesterday’s lunch. I pulled off the chains and undid the bolt.

 

Inside it was blessedly intact. It was clear to me that there had been no work done in preparing the place for my arrival. But the walls were firm, the roof seemed mostly solid and I saw no signs of leaks or break-ins.  Once upon a time this would have been a comfortable and pleasant place.I wondered about the previous inhabitants – so much had been erased from our past. I felt a pang of sympathy and used it to spur myself to work.

 

The first full week I cleaned and mended; airing out the waiting room, exploring the outbuildings and marking the ones that were suitable for storage and which would need more extensive repairs. The rest of the compound had not lasted as well as the main building but had been chained up with the same heavy locks and inside there remained old old equipment and supplies. The best surprises I found were in the basement of the station – a sizeable storage area that contained full stacks of firewood and several barrels of some kind of alcohol. 

 

The supply package I had been handed off the train had contained dry rations for several months as well as a bundle of fresh apples that I suspected had been bought out of the officer’s own pocket. There was fresh water in a brook nearby. My diet for the next few weeks was dull but manageable. I was used to this kind of eating. 

 

I found some old packets of seeds and the remains of a vegetable garden near one of the outbuildings and began to replant. I never knew if anything grew from them. The events that left me haunted and scarred came long before anything had a chance to sprout. 

 

Episode 31. November

An Epilogue.

Links _I looked up, like I always do, and smiled._

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It was a late afternoon in November and I was walking home along the path next to the river Kelvin. It was cold – the first day that really felt like winter. As I passed by the ruins of the old mill and headed towards the weir, I looked up, like I always do, and smiled. As I continued down the walkway a heron, perched on a branch over the river, shook its wings silently. Frost clung to the railings along the path and made them glow in the sunlight. 

 

I reached the arches of the Queen Margaret Bridge and headed up the steps to the road above. I turned left, as I had not too long ago, and stopped at the old entrance to Walker’s Bridge. It was quiet. No one was around. I leaned against the wall and watched as ghostly lamps flickered on in front of me, the phantom bridge swirling into view, the other side disappearing into mist. 

 

I still don’t know what lies on the other side of that bridge, but I know I’m not afraid to find out one day, whenever that might be. Life and death go side by side for me nowadays.

 

Everyone who came with me that night to the Necropolis kept their ability to see the dead, although it’s becoming a rarer occurrence. Nothing is hunting me anymore, and I guess we’re no longer a novelty. The only ghosts we see regularly are our friends. It’s nice. 

 

We choose our words carefully when we talk about them. It’s strange to think how much power a story can have on those without the ability to create their own. But, like us, they’re always learning, and, perhaps, like the spirit who used to haunt the motorway, they’ll find ways to adapt and grow without the help of the living. I haven’t seen him since that night, although I offered my help. Other ghosts tell me he’s doing ok though – he’s changed his story before. 

 

As I leaned on the wall and stared out across the bridge, a figure appeared next to me. He checked his watch, then noticed me. I greeted him warmly and we shared some time together, looking out across the river, watching the sun sink in the sky and the heron sit on his branch below us. Then we said our goodbyes and the figure crossed the bridge, passing on to a place beyond me. I watched a little longer as they faded into the mist, then turned and walked home. 

 

The street lamps turned on as I reached my front door, ready to spend another evening with friends – the living and the dead. 

Glasgow Ghost Stories was written and produced by Libby Thomas. Narration was by Libby Thomas. Credits were read by Harris Jones. The music is by Kevin MacLeod, and can be found at the free music archive. Sound effects are from freesound.org. Follow us at Glasgow Ghost Stories on twitter and tumblr, and visit us at glasgowghoststories.wordpress.com for transcripts of every episode.

It’s strange looking back to before all this started – before the ghosts and the pigeons and the kidnappings. It feels like a different Glasgow now that I know who we’re sharing it with. I like it better now. So here’s my advice – next time you find yourself drawn into the world of the supernatural, make sure to keep your mind open. Your life might turn out all the richer for it. One last time, as always, thanks for listening.


Hi This is Libby, writer and producer of Glasgow Ghost Stories. Thank you so much for sticking with us to the end! Making this show has been such a fantastic experience and it blows my mind to think that people actually took the time to listen so again, thank you.

Glasgow Ghost Stories is over for now but please keep subscribed to this feed – I have some special projects planned for Autumn that I’m really excited about. Can’t believe I’m ending this show about ghosts right before Halloween season starts but here we are.

If you’re looking for more content about ghosts, the supernatural or just general Scottish vibes, I have reccomendations! For a more comedic and slightly more scary ghost story than mine, try Middle Below – the protagonist, his friends and his cat work together to try and solve ghostly mysteries as they travel between the living world and the Below – the strange world of spirits. If you’re looking for a more historical feel try The Aletheian Society – members of this secret and ancient group battle dark forces and often each other in Victorian Scotland – starting in Glasgow in season one. If you want something a bit more modern and a lot more sweary, A Scottish Podcast is about to end it’s second season – a radio host and his pal start a horror podcast and end up finding much, much more than they planned to! Finally, if you’re looking for some truly strange and terrifying content, Caledonian Gothic will fill you with dread and leave you wanting more. Episode One takes place in a museum of toys that I personally have vivid memories of as a child – in fairness, it was scary even before a horror story was set there.

once more, thank you so, so much.

Episode 30. Necropolis

Reveals and Resolutions.

Links_out of the sky two lightning bolts shot down into the ground at her feet._

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When I finally opened my eyes again, the front door was still wide open. My head and my back both ached, but the lights were all back on and the invasion seemed to have passed. It was quiet now. I sat up and looked about – the hall was now covered with party decorations that had fallen to the floor. I felt oddly hollow and my stomach hurt. I wondered how long I had been unconscious. I tried to stand up and instantly felt dizzy. I managed to make my way into the disarray of the living room and found Harris and our guests awake and looking just how I felt.

 

We took some time to recover, gulping down water and eating whatever of the now curiously cold food hadn’t fallen on the floor. Someone looked outside and reported that the storm was now in full force. We could hear the wind howling outside.

 

I shuddered. Someone checked their phone and cried out in alarm. According to all our clocks, we had been out cold for two whole days. It was now, without any time to prepare, Halloween. 

 

Confused and shocked, we tried to make sense of it all. What had happened to us? We all seemed unhurt, just a little groggy and dehydrated from being knocked out for almost 48 hours. No one had called us, which was strange. It was as if we had all been carefully put out the way. But why?

Someone tried calling home (dial noise), and found that the call wouldn’t go through. Others tried with the same result. Harris, still checking the windows, reported something very strange in the distance. There was an odd glow in the sky out towards the East, it’s source just out of view from the windows. We rushed out the flat and downstairs to look.

Outside the street was deserted. The windows along the road were all black, which, worrying as it was, made me feel a little reassured. At least they weren’t all glowing with yellow light. Looking down the street we could see a huge beam of green light shooting up into the swirling clouds. Whatever it was, it seemed like the source of all the strangeness. I felt my resolve strengthened. Whatever was going on, I had to try to do something about it. 

I rallied my guests and gave as straightforward an explanation as I could. 

Libby – it all started when I was out in the rain one day..

Harris chimed in to back me up when I faltered. 

 Harris – so, look, there’s pigeons…(pigeon ramble)

It was tough. A lot of blame and fear was passed around, but, after we were done, my friends agreed that we had to do something. Well, most of them. Some just wanted to go home.

It was at this point that the pigeon ghost appeared, flapping wildly and looking more frightened than I had ever seen it. The close door slammed open  – Francis was there too, outside the flat for the first time since we’d known him, still invisible but now a stronger presence. Somehow we were able to sense his location and avoided walking through him. It was Halloween, I realised, and all ghosts could move freely. I made introductions between my living and dead acquaintances. Then, it was time for practicalities. 

We had three cars available between us. We squeezed in, Francis and the pigeon getting into mine, and headed east, towards the source of the green light. The streets were completely empty and dark, until we got closer into town.  Ghostly figures were appearing on each side of us, joining a parade all moving in the same direction as us. I pulled over and the two cars behind me followed suit. I opened the car door and called to the nearest ghost as my passengers crouched down away from the dead. The spirit was a middle aged man in a modern looking outfit. He looked slightly surprised to see us but was friendly enough. 

“I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked that there are living people here tonight, with all this weirdness.” he said to me. He explained that the green light was very odd and everyone was on their way to investigate it. 

“It’s interrupting everything!” He complained. “People are freaking out. I guess the rumours are true. I don’t know, I’m from out of town.”

I got back in the car and grimly told the others what I’d heard. We drove on, the light getting brighter as we got closer. A suspicion of the location began to gather in my mind and I adjusted my route accordingly. My suspicions were confirmed. We were heading to the Necropolis.

We parked in the square at the cathedral and gathering together. All around us ghosts were congregating, worried and irritated. In the crowds I could see none I recognised. Francis was almost visible now and the pigeon was in child-shape, hoping, I expected, not to alarm the other ghosts. Our group huddled close, trying to work out any sort of plan. 

“We need reinforcements.” I decided, and sent Francis off to spread the word and find any ghosts that were willing to help. We began to make our way towards the entrance.

Glasgow Necropolis is an extravagant Victorian cemetery built on the hill next to Glasgow Cathedral. Thousands of beautiful monuments line the slopes, from gravestones to huge mausoleums and towering columns. It’s a beautiful place to explore, with views right across the city. At night it becomes a maze of eerie shadows and treacherous pathways. We scrambled up the gravel, holding close to each other as we moved. The green light was bright now, casting long shadows back down the hill. It was difficult to move along while trying not to pass through any of the many ghosts milling about.

We reached the top of the hill, out of breath and full of dread. At the top was the monument to John Knox, bright with the green light as it burst from the top of the statue. Ghosts circled it, confused and wary. Above in the sky the storm clouds bubbled and swirled. We moved to the front of the crowd.

Perched all over the statue and surrounding buildings were pigeons. The other ghosts stayed well back from them, looking more and more terrified. I tried desperately to think of something reassuring to say. My friends looked almost hollow with fear, like I was, but here they were, standing with me.

I felt a cold touch on my shoulder and turned around to see the séance ghosts looking more serious than I had ever seen before. Behind them I saw the coffee ghost peering anxiously at me.

“Where have you been?” one of them exclaimed. I gave an account of what happened at the party and they looked gravely at one another, but nodded thoughtfully.

“If whoever this is felt the need to get you out the way, maybe you can do something to stop this,” suggested one of them. I shrugged. I had no idea what I was supposed to do.

Suddenly, the screaming that had become so terribly familiar filled the air. A booming voice echoed across the hilltop.

“Welcome one and all! I have called for you and you have all come to me!”

The ghosts shuffled uncomfortably and looked around for a source of the voice. A figure, shadowed in the dark behind the green beam of light, moved forward. She was tall and thin, more solid than any of the other ghosts and her eyes were two points of glaring yellow light. Her hair, long and wild, flew around her in the wind. As she walked forward, dark shadows appeared behind her, huge and menacing and I realised that the army of ghost buildings were here too. 

Other ghosts ran back and soon we looked like two sides of a battle, standing facing each other. Above, the storm howled and crackled.

The ghost woman fixed her eyes upon the crowds of terrified looking spirits and smiled a cruel looking smile.

“How does it feel, this one night of the year, to be free, to walk the earth and fear losing nothing?” she asked. The crowds looked back, confused.

“I, of course, and my army, can do this any time. We don’t need this special night, this special place in order to do that. We can walk where we like, whenever we want to. We take what we want!”

The crowd now looked afraid and angry, some shouting back that her army were parasites that preyed on other ghosts’ territories, that the earth belonged to the living and that she was taking away their precious time. The woman waited impassively for a few seconds as the crowds reacted to her then raised her arms and, with a sharp movement, flicked her hands and out of the sky two lightning bolts shot down into the ground at her feet. I felt my hair raise and smelt something tangy and metallic in the air. My friends and I were so exposed and vulnerable up in front of her. 

The woman laughed again, that angry, echoing laugh, and continued.

“The living do not deserve the mercy of the dead! In my life I suffered at their hands – they hanged me on a lie! and in death I continue to be misused! I have lost the living part of myself and gained all the power I could want! Join me! Join my army and we can rule the earth! The living will fear us and the dead will follow us! This city should be ours! We shall swallow it, then we shall swallow the surrounding towns – my old town – then more and more of this earth!”

The crowds were silent and shocked. There was a pause, as if each of them were considering the consequences of refusing her. I looked at their faces, and saw many of them had their eyes closed, mouths moving as they repeated something to themselves. Mantras, perhaps, to remind themselves of their identities.

I looked back at her, wondering. She claimed she had lost her identity, and created a new one, but how? She also said the living misused her in death. What did that mean? I frowned as I took her in. She also said she wasn’t actually from Glasgow but from a neighbouring town. Something in my mind clicked and I began to put the clues together. 

“No.” It took me a second to realise the word had come out my mouth. Suddenly I could feel a thousand pairs of eyes upon me, and the woman’s  face twisted in rage, looking around until she spotted me. She seemed to falter, as if in shock, but recovered swiftly and snarled.

“Look! The living even trespass here! They taint the gathering with their presence! Let us start by making examples of them all!”

“They do not trespass! They are welcome here, unlike you, witch!” came a cry and a huge ghost, towering above my head, appeared behind me. I stared back at it. It was the ghost from the motorway, now, at last, able to be seen. It was a dragon – huge and scaled with a pair of wings that it unfolded as it raised itself to its impressive height. A small part of my mind wondered when it chose that shape, what it had ‘evolved’ from. How old was it?

The woman narrowed her eyes at the word. “You have been here a long time, beast.” She responded. “What would it be like for you to lose yourself? My deal is simple, join me, give me the humans, or I will make it impossible for you to return to your homes and you will be lost forever like my pigeons here.”

At this the shadowy army behind her moved, the ghost buildings shaking with a deep rumble. The bright yellow lights in their windows shone out across the crowds – I saw spirits push into each other to avoid the glare. The dragon reared up, a deep roar beginning in his throat. 

“You will not threaten us, Witch!” He bellowed, the sound echoing across the hill. The green and yellow light seemed to shrink back at the sound. But to my horror, the woman simply smiled and stood her ground. 

“I see you do not take my power seriously. Perhaps a demonstration?”

She gestured towards the dragon with a sharp movement and as one the ghost buildings piled forward. The rest of the ghosts surged back in terror and my friends and I were forced to moved out of the way behind a monument. In the crush I lost sight of the dragon. Then, a sudden heart rending scream filled the air and when I finally managed to look back, the place where the huge figure had been was now filled with the hulking masses of the ghost buildings. The woman gestured again, and they fell back into line behind her, leaving behind nothing but a tiny figure perched on the ground. The blank eyes of a freshly made pigeon ghost blinked back up at us. 

 

There were gasps from the crowds. The rest of the pigeons shuffled uneasily. I stepped forward, feeling, for the first time, something more than fear. I felt indignant.

“See? Do you see my power? Can’t you see that your choice is to follow me or be lost forever?”

“That’s not true.” I said. Once again the eyes were upon me. I pressed on, pointing at the pigeons.  “They aren’t lost forever. They’re right here, looking for themselves, and they only reason they haven’t found new homes and identities is because you won’t let them.”

For the first time, the woman looked confused. I continued, not entirely sure what I was doing, but filled with a rage that was displacing my fear.

“If you just told them they weren’t lost, they wouldn’t be! They’re fine! They’re dead! Why should the dead feel pain anymore? It’s pointless! You’re just manipulating them into thinking that something bad is happening when all you want is to use them to manipulate even more people! The pigeon ghost I know is amazing! It only sat with me a little while and talked to a couple other people and now it can change shape! And move freely – like you! It doesn’t want to harm anyone! It just wants friends!”

On cue it walked forward, spun, billowing out the red  dress, and transformed back into a bird before flying up and landing on my shoulder. I pointed at her.

“You seem to think all the dead suffer like you! You think that no solid identity means you can just decide what they are! You need to stop thinking these things. I don’t know much about spirits, but I do know that you become what you believe – your thoughts are all that’s left, really, and this kind of unhelpful thinking is the real problem. Let other ghosts work out what they want for themselves.”

She looked enraged, moving towards us, her arms raised again. I imagined those bolts of lightning shooting down and hitting us and hurried on, stumbling over my words.

“It’s not a lack of identity that’s been you’re problem – it’s been that the stories the living tell about you have been coming true! Because that’s the power the living have, right? We can change stories, we can tell new ones, we can influence your identity, especially when yours is fragile. Isn’t that right, Agnes?”

She reeled back. I spoke softly now, the rage gone.

“I figured it out when the dragon called you witch. That’s who you were, right? The Paisley Witch. A lot of people were murdered after being accused – Scotland was awful about that. But only one gained a legend. The one who supposedly cursed the town and all the people in it forever. I don’t know if that actually happened, I don’t think it matters. I would probably say something similar if I was going to be executed like that. But it’s what happened afterwards that matters – long after you lost your living identity – I’m guessing you chose to move away from the site of your death and I don’t blame you – the legend lived on, influencing you, twisting you. They blamed you for everything, for years, and even now they keep building memorials. They won’t even pardon you, even now!”

She looked quiet now. I stopped, out of breath and shaking. She looked up, and when she did the yellow light was dimmer.

“How dare you? Who are you to say these things? You are no one! Just some stupid girl who stuck her nose where it didn’t belong!” Her voice was low but her rage remained.

I took a breath. What could I say to that? 

“You’re right.”, I said. I felt thousands of eyes on me as I talked. “But it’s still true, isn’t it? I might not know anything about the dead, but I know the living – and how much power we have, even over you.”

She stared at me, and I saw a hundred years of pain and misery in her eyes as she gazed into mine.

“I never really wanted to be this.” She said softly. “I just felt alone. Others were afraid – the living and the dead. I only felt good when I was in control.”

“You can be in control of your identity. You just need some help.” I responded. I felt bad now, seeing her. She had been in so much pain. 

“You’re not alone.” said a voice. I looked round to see the coffee ghost moving forward, looking scared but determined. “You might feel lost, but you still can do all the cool stuff that Libby was saying about the pigeons. You just need to let go of the pain. She’s right. We don’t need pain. It’s pointless.”

Suddenly the crowd of ghosts were agreeing, offering encouragement, some clearly just hoping she wouldn’t hurt them, but others moved, some smiling, some nodding in understanding. Agnes looked around at the sea of faces and smiled, a soft sweet smile. The yellow light left her eyes and she let her hands drop to her sides. 

“I think,” she said, “I’m ready to let go now – of all of it.”

There were murmurs of surprise in the crowd as she closed her eyes and was enveloped in a soft light. She flickered, then seemed to separate into a million tiny points of light that floated away across the hill and into the night.

The green beam of light went out and the sky went from clouds to clear, the stars and moon appearing above us. The towering bulks of Agnes’ army paused and then retreated. They would still be out there, but somehow that seemed like an issue for another time. The dead would have an eternity to deal with it.

The rest of the night was celebrations, and seemed to last for far longer than a few hours. When we felt tired we drove home, and as we did so the strange night of the dead seemed to fade away, the street lamps flickering on and people appearing, in costumes, all filling the streets and their homes with wonderful, wonderful life.

Glasgow Ghost Stories is written and produced by Libby Thomas. Narration is by Libby Thomas. Credits are read by Harris Jones. The theme music is by Kevin MacLeod, and can be found at the free music archive. Sound effects are from freesound.org. Follow us at Glasgow Ghost Stories on twitter and tumblr, and visit us at glasgowghoststories.wordpress.com for transcripts of every episode.

Well I don’t think I’ll ever have a Halloween like that again. Here’s a tip – if you find yourself in the middle of a graveyard facing down a centuries old vengeful spirit, it might not be too late for reason. But even so, make sure you’ve got some friends to back you up.

We all need a long rest now, but we’ll be back for one more episode. Until then, as always, thanks for listening.

Episode 29. Murder Mystery Dinner Party

An Invitation is Extended. 

Links_I slide down onto the ground, filled with dread, and lost consciousness

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The night of my annual Murder Mystery Dinner Party felt like one last hurrah before the final showdown. I spent the day cleaning, shopping, setting up, decoration, and staying as busy as possible to avoid thinking about the huge army of ghosts preparing to do something on Halloween. A night with the living would be good for me.

The party started at seven. Harris and I welcomed our guests, all of us decked out in our costumes. The theme of the party was pirates and everyone had done their best with plastic swords, fake eye patches and some impressive hats.

The night started with the first scene of the mystery, all the guests playing their roles with great enthusiasm. A murder was discovered, accusations were tossed around and we stopped for our starter. I had already had several glasses of wine and was feeling quite merry. All the stress of getting ready for the evening was washing away and any thoughts of the dead were at the back of my mind. We ate, cleared the tables, joked around and finally settled into act two.

Harris: (pirate voice) – There’s a murderer on the ship!

Other person (pirate voice) – It was the lookout!

Libby (pirate voice) – It’s can’t be the lookout!

Other person (pirate voice) – why not?

Harris (pirate voice) – the lookout is dead too!

It was when the second death was announced that I noticed something was changing. One window was opened (with thanks to Francis) to stop the room overheating from 13 bodies but the curtains were tightly closed. When we had stopped for the starter I had been very comfortably warm and most people had removed their jackets and fake beards to cool down. Now I was chilly. People near the windows seemed to be shivering. I called over to them to shut the window and considered turning on the radiator. Harris obligingly leaned over the sofa and pulled the curtain open to reach the window handle. They stopped, their hand still on the curtain and stared outside.

Harris (normal voice) – what the hell?

Then they gave an exclamation and pulled the curtain open wide, giving us all a clear view of the world outside.

It was dark, but the night sky was covered in thick black clouds which churned and swirled as if pummelled by raging winds. Street lights were flickering in some strange pattern, casting us in and out of the dark. Flashes of lightning lit up the clouds but didn’t seem to touch the ground. It was as if a storm was taking place only above our heads. There was no wind or rain beneath the clouds. It was ominous, more like a warning than a full out attack. We gave each other bewildered looks, then, as people are want to do, decided to laugh it off. Jokes were made about how at least no one’s cars seemed to be in danger and got back to the game. Harris and I looked at each other warily. This was far too early, wasn’t it?

Libby (pirate voice) – So, me hearties, who is the killer? Who has shivered the final timbers of two of our crew tonight?

Other person (pirate voice) – It wasn’t me!

Other person (pirate voice) – well it wasn’t me!

Harris (pirate voice) – it has to be one of –

At the moment, the lights went out. There was a brief moment of stunned silence in the room, and I heard the boiler closet door slam shut. Then, with a deep rumbling sound, the room began to shake. People started screaming. The tables juddered and the candles on the mantelpiece flickered wildly. I was knocked off my chair and onto the floor, and began crawling out the living room and towards the bedroom, intent on getting to Francis, hoping that his influence would be able to help, to do anything to stop the shaking. I reached the bedroom, avoiding thing falling off the pantry shelves. The bedroom door was shut tight and I shouted for Francis to help. In the room I could hear moaning and a strange creaking noise. Behind me, the same sound started and I turned to look. The front door was shaking, as if something was trying to break it open. It was trembling. Francis was helping, I realised. Something was trying to get in, and he was doing what he could to keep every door and window shut. I stood, leaning against the wall to keep upright and pushed back on the door, shouting for whatever it was to stay away. A loud scream came from outside and with an almighty roar it finally won the struggle. The door burst open and I was flung against the wall. There was silence and a sudden overwhelming darkness. I slide down onto the ground, filled with dread, and lost consciousness. In my last moments I heard the screaming from the living room stop and thumps as my guests all fell to the ground.

Glasgow Ghost Stories is written and produced by Libby Thomas. Narration is by Libby Thomas. Credits are read by Harris Jones. The theme music is by Kevin MacLeod and Loyalty Freak Music, and can be found at the free music archive. Sound effects are from freesound.org.

Follow us at Glasgow Ghost Stories on twitter and tumblr, and visit us at glasgowghoststories.wordpress.com for transcripts of every episode.

Well that was certainly the scariest party we’ve ever hosted. If you’re waiting for an impending ghost incursion, best be careful about tempting fate. Fingers crossed we’ll see you next time. Until then, as always, thanks for listening.

Episode 28. Network

Hot drinks and foreboding.

Links_The pieces were falling into place._

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Word of the attack at Ruchill Tower had spread fast among the dead. Several went out of their way to meet me, more than just the paint ghost, although none as unpleasant. The most welcome meeting was with the coffee shop ghost. I had returned to the cafe, this time with Harris, in the hopes of bumping into her and on the way had managed to be haunted in passing at least half a dozen times. After a while it stopped being anything other than normal. They were curious,but not about what happened to me and Harris.They asked how many ghosts had been there that night. How many spirits that could move freely, that were strong enough to feel solid.

 

The attack on two living humans was of less importance to them and I began to understand why.

Someone was building an army for reasons unknown. An army capable of taking over any territory, of attacking the living and, seemingly, doing anything else it wanted. That was terrifying to the living and the dead.

Sitting in the cafe and sipping on a seasonal coffee, we considered our options. It would be impossible to ask for help from other living humans. What would we say? How would we make them believe us without forcing them into a world that they might want nothing to do with. The ability to see the dead was like a virus, and we were uncomfortable spreading it about without thinking.

The coffee ghost appeared after I finished my first cup, drawing a smiling face in the foam left at the bottom. I greeted the empty air and she appeared opposite me.

Ghost – I heard what happened. I’m glad you’re ok

Libby – You heard about it too? Already?

I was curious just how word was spreading so quickly, if ghosts were stuck in their territories.

Ghost – We have a good network for news and gossip. Some ghosts can travel further, and spread the news as much as possible, some territories overlap, sometimes we can leave each other messages. Eternity is a long time to perfect systems. New information is like food to us, so we spread it around as much as we can. Besides, when we finally can all see each other, it means we have connections, like a family.

Harris – Wait, finally see each other? What does that mean?

Ghost – on Halloween!

Harris – Halloween?

Libby – …Halloween…

Ghost – yes, Halloween! On that day we can all leave our haunts and move freely, so we all gather in one place like a huge party. It’s wonderful!

Harris – Oh, yeah, I get it. That does sound pretty cool!

So that was it. One night of the year, all the ghosts were able to move about. A night that happened to be only four days away. An army was gathering with an unknown but menacing intention. Slowly the pieces were coming together.

Harris – so why a coffee shop?

Ghost – it wasn’t always a coffee shop! But you know, I kind of like it? It’s cosy and warm and people are mostly nice and I can listen to them talk and hear tons of stories.

Harris – oh yeah, that sounds pretty ideal. Better than somewhere abandoned or isolated

Ghost – yeah, not for me! Some spirits like that better, but I’d get lonely

I could feel my heart filling with anxiety even as Harris and the ghost chatted away. What to the spirits could only be thought of as a joyful time was really just the weak spot that our unknown enemy was waiting for. The graffiti spirit’s warning made more sense now.

Harris – so what else has this place been?

Ghost – Oh, for a while it was a pharmacy – that was always interesting, you can learn a lot about people from what medicines they buy

Harris – I guess

Ghost – oh and for a little while it was this really fancy boutique that just sold hats. That was really boring – there’s only so many things you can learn about hats

Something bad was going to happen on Halloween. I didn’t know what, I just knew that I had to try and stop it.

Glasgow Ghost Stories is written and produced by Libby Thomas. Narration is by Libby Thomas. Credits are read by Harris Jones. The theme music is by Kevin MacLeod and can be found at the free music archive. Sound effects are from freesound.org. Follow us at Glasgow Ghost Stories on twitter and tumblr, and visit us at glasgowghoststories.wordpress.com for transcripts of every episode.

We’re in the throes of the final preparations for our murder mystery dinner party, so thankfully I don’t have too much energy to spend worrying about what else might happen on Hallowe’en. Until then, stay safe.

And as always, thanks for listening.

Episode. 27 Graffiti

Warnings on the walls.

Links_the lines inside were very slowly forming together_

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The hauntings around the city had, without a doubt, become more…public. There was a strange new energy to it that seemed to multiply as the days passed. It felt like a message being passed around, loud enough and strong enough that it was being heard even by those of us who couldn’t understand it. Luckily for the human population that hadn’t decided seeing the dead would be a cool deal, the phenomenon seemed easily explainable –  halloween pranks, or typical Glasgow weather seemed to cover most of them. I wondered how much of it I would have put together if I didn’t already know the answer.

 

It was the early morning and still pitch black outside. I was walking to work along a quiet street, wrapped up tight in a warm coat and scarf. Frost glittered on the walls of the buildings as I passed by them. I felt still half asleep as I made my way down the pavement when I thought I saw movement from the corner of my eye. I blinked and turned my head, but there was nothing there, just the dark metal of a shop’s security grate. I stared at it carefully, already suspicious. It seemed perfectly normal – covered in a layer of frost, like everything else, with a bunch of spray painted symbols underneath, faded and overlapping each other. One stood out over the others, a simple little blob shape that wasn’t covered by any other lines. It looked fresh and bolder than the rest and was done in a bright white. I moved on and put the thought of the movement out of my head.

 

Later, after work, it was dark again. I always miss the sunlight as winter moves in. I passed the same shop front and noticed that there were now two blobs. They looked identical and I figured had to have been done using a stencil, although I couldn’t understand why someone would make a stencil like that. I walked home quickly, and out of the corner of my eye I thought, once again, that I saw movement.

 

The strange blob shape continued to multiply as the week went on. The shapes began to overlap and move from the metal grate to other locations along my walk. They were appearing on post boxes and walls, now in different sizes. It seemed like a lot of work for whoever was painting them. I began to notice a harsh smell whenever I walked past one of the blobs – that acrid paint smell that normally vanishes as soon as spray paint dries. The blobs began to appear still wet, as if only just added – once I came around the corner and watched as one began to drip gently, as if whoever had painted it had finished only seconds before. I stared at it, trying to make myself believe it was just a very fast human. The streets around me were empty. Just as I had concocted in my head an elaborate story of getaway drivers and well choreographed graffiti teams I heard a soft sound a turned, only to see another blob slowly form on a brick wall. There was no pretending. I went home quickly, the sharp scent of paint still in my head.

 

I noticed that the blobs were becoming more detailed. A huge one on a billboard had several new lines painted inside it, making it seem more than a vague shape. I really didn’t want to see the full picture.

 

Other people were noticing the blobs too. I saw that several of them had been painted over, the blurred shapes of them still slightly visible under the off-white coat of paint. Somehow, they shone through. At night the brightness of them seemed to glow against the rest of the darkness.

 

The more I ignored the graffiti, the more it seemed to try and grab my attention. I was busy – I already had far too many things – and, on that note, far too many ghosts – already taking up all my time. This new spirit was just going to have to wait.

 

One morning, I looked outside my window and a huge blob was covering the road outside. It stretched across from one curb to the other, the paint thick and blotchy, as it it had been done quickly, or maybe angrily. I could see marks where cars had moved through it and blurred the lines. The detail was stronger on this one too, the lines moving together and almost making sense. The thought of walking past it and having to inhale the paint smell make me strongly consider calling in sick to work, but I made myself get dressed and head outside.

 

I forced myself to look ahead and not down and walked down the pavement, past the blob. The smell was nauseating and I pushed my sleeve against my face to try and block it out. It didn’t work at all. I was already beginning to feel dizzy. The streets around me were still silent and dark and I was scared to keep going. I turned round to go back into my flat when I heard a soft noise behind me. I turned and looked. The blob was moving.

 

It was now right across the pavement where I had walked, blocking my way back. I stood and watched as it reshaped back and saw that the lines inside were very slowly forming together. I could almost make out the finished drawing now. Something about it filled with with a horrible feeling and I turned and began to walk away again, worried the smell was going to make me throw up. I could hear the blob following me and saw ahead, all the smaller ones that had appeared on walls and blank spaces. There was no avoiding it. All that was going to happen was I was going to pass out and be late for work. I forced myself to stop and think. All it seemed to want was for me to look. So, holding my breath, I turned to see what it was showing me.

 

I took in the full completed image. The spirit held still, as if making sure it was as clear as possible. We stood there in the dark for what felt like a long time, then, as I finally blinked and breathed in, the spirit seems to relax, the clear lines fading as it began to fade out and disappear into the darkness of the street.

 

It wasn’t totally gone, as much as I wished it was. The smaller blobs remained, not as many as before, but just enough that I was showed the image at least a few times daily, a constant reminder of what the spirit had wanted to show me.

 

It wasn’t really necessary. I wasn’t going to forget it any time soon. I had seen it for what it was as soon as the final picture became clear. It was a warning. Not of what, but of when. And I didn’t have much time left. The image burnt into my mind was of a countdown, with only 14 days remaining. When I had looked at it I had felt that same coldness that I had felt that night at the top of the water tower, a chill that had cut though the paint fumes. That could only mean one thing. That malevolent presence that had swept into the city, had stolen Harris and meant us harm was going to attack again. And this time, on Halloween.

Glasgow Ghost Stories is written and produced by Libby Thomas. Narration is by Libby Thomas. Credits are read by Harris Jones. The theme music is by Kevin MacLeod and can be found at the free music archive. Sound effects are from freesound.org. Follow us at Glasgow Ghost Stories on twitter and Tumblr, and visit us at glasgowghoststories.wordpress.com for transcripts of every episode.

It’s been a tough few days. We’ve made a lot of new friends recently but this latest encounter has driven home how much we still don’t understand. This week I want to give you the advice I wish I’d given Libby and myself a while ago. Be grateful for having survived everything so far – but be prepared for what may be still to come. We’re not out of the woods yet.

As always, thanks for listening.

Episode 26. Car Park

Lost in the rows.

Links_Rows beginning to tangle in the distance_

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We were getting closer and closer to Halloween. Now that we finally had time and energy again to focus on the mundane world, we had plenty to catch up with. It was a bitterly cold, grey day and Harris and I were costume shopping. Honestly, neither of us were really excited about dressing up like monsters anymore – we were kind of done with that sort of thing – but we had a party planned out, so it had to happen.

We were at Braehead shopping centre, trying to find something that would do. Neither of our hearts were really in it. At least inside the centre, it was warm and we could avoid the freezing rain outside. We finally picked what we wanted and headed back out into the cold to find the car.

 

We had parked right at the edge of the car park – it was a busy day and I wanted to avoided the struggle of driving around for ages looking for a spot. We hurried across the tarmac, shivering. We walked past identical rows of cars, the puddles getting deeper with every one we passed. After a while Harris stopped and frowned. They looked over the cars and began to count the rows. Then they turned around and looked back at the shopping centre and counted the rows we had already passed. We began to move again, trying to protect the shopping bags as much as we could. Harris stopped again after another minutes and began to count again.

 

HARRIS: That’s so weird.

 

LIBBY: What is? Come on, we’re getting soaked

 

HARRIS: Yeah, I know, and we’ve been walking for way longer than we should have been

 

LIBBY: What?

 

HARRIS: Look, when I counted the rows before, we only had like 10 left to go. And we’ve passed, what, at least six since?

 

LIBBY: Ok?

 

HARRIS: So how come we’re now 15 rows away from the edge of the car park?

 

I looked over. It was true, even though we had been hurrying along, we seemed to be further from the car than before. I looked around and saw other people moving about in a confused way. An angry couple were shouting at each other and pointing in different directions. A small child in a pram was beginning to cry while it’s dad pushed it around defeatedly.

 

HARRIS: I know I’m still new to all this but does this seem…supernatural to you

 

LIBBY: Yup, this is definitely ghost nonsense.

 

HARRIS: What do we do?

 

LIBBY: Go back inside and get a hot drink?

 

HARRIS: Yeah. Maybe the ghost will give up?

 

We turned around and headed back towards the entrance. I kept my eyes this time, blinking the cold rain out of my eyes to keep a count of the rows of cars. But every time it seemed we were making progress something would happen – a gust of wind, a passing car, a puddle to step around, and I would look up again and see we’d lost all progress. We were stranded.

 

HARRIS: The costumes are soaked through

 

LIBBY: If I get pneumonia and die I’m going to bother this ghost for the rest of eternity.

 

Around us, the car park was getting more and more frantic. People were stumbling about bewildered. A small red car kept driving in the same circle around a bollard, clearly unable to see all the different exits.

 

I stared around, trying to see where the ghost responsible could be. The car park stretched out in all directions, around Braehead, across to the main road to the south, the river Clyde to the north and to other shopping centres on either side. The ghost could be hiding anywhere. This game could go on as long as it liked.

 

We found some shelter from the rain under the little roof that protects the shopping carts. I was getting hungry. We could end up stuck here all day. And all the other people were getting frantic too. I had never seen anything like this before. It was so public and so extreme. Was it another attack on us from our unseen enemy? But it felt more general than that. It felt as though the ghosts in general in Glasgow were somehow all riled up.

 

We began to hunt for the spirit. I tried to think where it might have come from. The car park, as far as I knew, could have been built over any number of historical locations and we didn’t have a lot of choice about where we ended up – no matter which direction we walked, all we could reach were more identical rows of cars and puddles and the occasional lamp post. The wind picked up. In the distance I could hear the caw of seagulls along the Clyde. The sky was slowly darkening as the early night drew in.

 

HARRIS: How are we going to get out of here? Someone is going to call the police or something soon and it’s going to get really messy

 

LIBBY: I don’t know, this is ridiculous!

 

The lamps began to switch on, giving off that dull orange light that appears before they begin to fully shine. In the warm light everything looked off – the rows beginning to tangle in the distance and the cars taking on weird shapes at the shadows grew deeper. I began to feel afraid that we would be here all night. How much colder would it get?

 

Then, to my strange delight, I heard a familiar noise. Above us, on the lamp posts, a hundred dark shapes settled. As the lights grew brighter the silhouettes turned into the little bodies of the pigeon flock. Their blank eyes looked down at us curiously. I waved and shrugged.

 

HARRIS: I guess we were missed.

 

LIBBY: Hi! Um, I know it’s kind of bad form, but can you guys maybe bother the ghost of this territory a bit, and get it to stop?

 

As one the flock flew into the sky and spread out across the car park. I felt pretty guilty using them like that, but this behavior was uncalled for. As they moved across the rows of cars, the shadows grew even deeper, throwing out strange pathways that seemed to cut through the car park in ways that made no sense. As we looked out, I saw a dark shadow dart down one of these shadow paths, moving in and out of the lamp-light as the pigeons searched from above. It moved erratically, trying to avoid being in the light at all and was getting closer and closer to us.

 

As it ran past I stepped out in front of it. It jumped back in fright. I folded my arms and glared at it. It spun around, only to see Harris behind it, with an equally angry stare. There was silence as the rain dripped off us. Around us, the pigeons settled on cars and trolleys, watching. I felt a strange shift in the dynamics – the sense that I had control. It didn’t feel entirely comfortable. We were in this ghost’s territory, even if that wasn’t by choice. Close up, I could see the spirit was small, it’s edges blurred in the ever brightening light of the street lamps. I crouched down and softened my gaze.

 

LIBBY: We don’t mean any harm. Let us and everyone else go and the other spirits will leave too. I promise.

 

The ghost was growing dimmer and dimmer in the bright electric like. I felt a surge of panic for it and stepped back. It immediately dashed under a car. I groaned. The pigeons shuffled and exchanged glances. I guess they weren’t used to this kind of approach. I began to move towards the ghost’s hiding place when, behind me, the red car that had been circling the same bollard finally turned off and motored off towards the exit. Harris and I watched it speed away with huge relief. I turned and thanked the ghost and we ran towards our car. We could finally see it in the distance.

 

By the time we got our shopping in the boot and into the car, the rest of the car park was emptied and the buildings beyond were dark. I turned the key in the ignition. Nothing happened. I tried again. It spluttered a little then stopped. Harris was already calling roadside assistance.  I wondered if getting a taxi and just abandoning the car would be faster.

 

We had held true to our promise and the pigeons were gone. I could see the ghost of the car park watching us from far away; a strange little figure so blurred and faded. I wondered how it was holding on, with everything this place once was built over. I wondered why it had acted out like it had. I wondered who it had been talking to. I shivered and sank into my seat, hoping the truck would be here soon and very very thankful for the street lights above us.

Glasgow Ghost Stories is written and produced by Libby Thomas. This episode was narrated by Libby Thomas, with Harris Jones. Credits are read by Harris Jones. The theme music is by Kevin MacLeod and can be found at the free music archive. Sound effects are from freesound.org. Follow us at Glasgow Ghost Stories on twitter and Tumblr, and visit us at glasgowghoststories.wordpress.com for transcripts of every episode.

That was a frustrating experience, to say the least. Makes me think of all those times before when we couldn’t find the car. Next time you’re trying to navigate a big car park, make sure you count the rows. As always, thanks for listening.