Haunted Dundee by Geoff Holder
I have to confess that Dundee is not the first, or indeed the second or third place that I would think of when it comes to haunted towns and places, and as the author Geoff Holder points out in the introduction, it seems as far as ghost hunters are concerned Dundee isn’t on the map either.
How wrong we were! It seems Dundee, like other unsung towns around the UK, has it’s fair share of ghostly hauntings, poltergeists, apparitions, malevolent entities, strange sounds and visionary experiences, and thanks to Geoff, this book is a terrifying collection of stories taken from true-life tales from the area.
Following Geoff’s introduction and brief history of Dundee, the stories start off with a chapter on the various White Ladies that are reported to haunt the town. One account is based at the old Coffin Mill, one of Dundee’s first textile mills. A girl died in the mill when her hair was caught in machinery and she was crushed. The accounts say her ghost is seen walking across a metal bridge that goes between two buildings. Another version implies that that ghost actually haunts the Verdant Works mill that is 500 yards away, as Geoff points out there are a number of similarities between the two mills, and they both have a metal bridge, and a girl was reported to have died there in similar circumstances with her hair becoming trapped in machinery. It seems other entities are reported within the Verdant Works also, with spectral voices being heard and a reflected apparition. Throughout the book Geoff goes into a lot of detail, using photographs and quoting from the local newspapers to back up stories and add weight to the tales.
The following chapters are split into different types of haunting experiences, and include modern day accounts such as a report to the police in 2009 that an individual was being attacked by ghosts within their house. Another story features strange sounds heard by various people staying in one house in Broughty Ferry in 1987.
During this chapter Geoff discusses the modern day investigations into the paranormal, asking what a ghost is and means to different people, he also looks at one of Dundee’s pioneering doctors of Psychiatry, Dr James McHarg who did a lot of work with patients who reported paranormal type experiences. It’s not often in the Haunted book series that an author includes this type of content, it’s refreshing to read and shows the depth of Geoff’s interest and understanding in the paranormal
Haunted ships are a feature within Dundee, with two historic ships open to the public. The Royal Research Ship Discovery was the first ship specifically dedicated to scientific research and carried Scott on his 1901 expedition to the Antarctic. On board the ship anomalous footsteps have been heard for a number of years along with a feeling of ‘a bad presence’ in the wardroom, Geoff also includes the story of ghostly snoring being heard from the cabin once occupied by Ernest Shackleton.
Other tales in the book include horrid screams and red glows associated with Satanic dabbling around Claypotts Castle which also features the ghost of a white lady. The Murdered Lady of Mains Castle is also included, the ghost is that of a lady supposedly murdered by her husband and is just one of a number of reported paranormal experiences at Mains Castle.
Geoff Holder has produced an excellent book as part of the Haunted series, and if the tales don’t frighten you off from visiting Dundee it shows the town has much to offer a visitor whether you are interested in the paranormal or not. I have to note also that Geoff has gone one step further than most other authors in this series which I commend him for – he’s included maps of the area along with an excellent bibliography and an index which make it a very easy to use reference book.
Paperback: 96 pages
Publisher: The History Press Ltd (1 Jan 2012)