The Gorbals Vampire
After school, hundreds of children of all ages armed themselves with blades and crosses, stakes and dogs and descended upon the city’s Southern Necropolis to hunt the Gorbals Vampire.
By Rebecca Brown
In September 1954 in Gorbals, Glasgow, rumours had spread among the school children of a terrible, 7 foot tall vampire with iron teeth. Rumour had it that this vampire had kidnapped and murdered two young boys and feasted on their corpses. Despite the adults and the police trying to calm the hysteria, the children decided that action had to be taken to bring this terrible ‘Gorbals Vampire’ to justice.
What happened next was truly remarkable. After school, hundreds of children of all ages armed themselves with blades and crosses, stakes and dogs and descended upon the city’s Southern Necropolis to hunt the Gorbals Vampire. The children prowled the graveyard as night fell, checking behind trees and headstones for the awful creature that might be lurking. A thick fog rolled in, and in it many shadowy figures were caught by firelit. The children would rush to this silhouette, and then another, as they thought they saw the vampire lurking in the mist.
Their hunt continued until the rain started. The children went home, only to come right back the next night and the night after that. By the third night, interest from the children was beginning to fade, but the fear of the Gorbals Vampire had already set itself in the heart of the community, as the press picked up the story. Hysteria spread throughout Gorbals, and soon among the wider population, until a discussion arose surrounding the impacts of American horror comics on young people.
Was the Gorbals Vampire simply a creature born of mass hysteria and children’s imaginations, or was it something more?