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The Gorbals Vampire: The child-eating monster that terrorized Glasgow in the 1950s

For three nights the children came to the “City of the Dead.” They carried knives, clubs and stakes—even a crucifix. Two hundred or more children came to the Gorbals Necropolis—a large cemetery situated in the south of the city of Glasgow. They were aged between four and fourteen. A few were just toddlers accompanying older brothers on this terrifying hunt. There was a sense of excitement. A sense of danger. Some thought it thrilling. Others were terrified. Most set with a grim determination of what had to be done. They said they were ready—they knew they were ready.  Ready to hunt and kill a vampire.

In September of 1954 the children from the Gorbals district of Glasgow were terrorized by tales of a hideous vampire. A ghoulish beast, he was supposedly seven feet tall with blood red eyes and sharp iron teeth. The children called this creature the Gorbals Vampire. They said it had already killed two young boys—drinking their blood and feasting on their flesh. The police refused to comment but when pressed claimed they had no knowledge of these missing children or the vampire who had eaten them. But the children thought they knew better…

Tales and half-truths spread word-of-mouth: Wee Jimmy had heard it from Rab; and Rab heard it from Billy; and Billy should know ‘cause his cousin’s a policeman.

On September 23rd, police constable Alex Deeprose was called to a disturbance at the Gorbals “City of the Dead”—the Southern Necropolis. PC Deeprose was shocked on arrival to find up to 200 kids roaming the graves looking for signs of a vampire. At first, he thought the children were joking—but when they begged him to help find the vampire and drive a stake through its heart, he realized that this was no joke.

Tam Smith was a seven-year-old schoolboy at the time. He recalled the scene in a newspaper interview:

“The walls were lined with people. We ventured through the gatehouse and there were loads of kids in there, some wandering around, some sitting on the walls. There were a lot of dogs too, and mums and dads with kids.

“We found a place to stand out of the way because there were so many people there. I think the whole of the Gorbals was in that graveyard. It’s hard to put an estimate on the number of people.”

But what had caused so many people to believe there was a vampire in their midst? Ronnie Sanderson was an eight-year-old from the Gorbals when the vampire story first spread through the city:

“It all started in the playground - the word was there was a vampire and everyone was going to head out there after school. At three o’clock the school emptied and everyone made a beeline for it. We sat there for ages on the wall waiting and waiting. I wouldn’t go in because it was a bit scary for me.”

“I think somebody saw someone wandering about and the cry went up: ‘There’s the vampire!’ That was it - that was the word to get off that wall quick and get away from it.”

“I just remember scampering home to my mother: ‘What’s the matter with you?’ ‘I’ve seen a vampire!’ and I got a clout round the ear for my trouble. I didn’t really know what a vampire was.”

The vampire hunt and the story of the two missing children spread panic across the city. Still, the police had no report of any missing children. At the local school the headmaster denounced the story as nonsense and warned children against believing such a ridiculous tale, but the following night and the night after that the Gorbals children came out in force looking to kill a vampire.

The press picked up on the story. “AMAZING SCENE AS HUNDREDS OF CHILDREN RUSH CEMETERY” ran one headline. The Gorbals Vampire was dismissed as an urban myth—an example of mass hysteria. The press began to investigate how this fiction of the murderous bloodsucking monster came about. They claimed American comic books like Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror were responsible. These comics with their graphic tales and gruesome imagery were the cause of the mass panic. Yet some academics disagreed stating they had found no reference to any iron toothed vampire in either comic. Instead they claimed there was “a monster with iron teeth in the Bible (Daniel 7.7) and one in a poem taught in local schools.”

Then another story spread about a woman—most probably a witch—who was said to be in league with the Gorbals Vampire:

“There was an old lady who used to carry two cats in a basket. She would go to the graveyard to get peace away from the kids and let her cats have a wander. But she was in there the night we went looking for it and people were involving the ‘cat woman’ with the iron man. It was a shame when you think about it, she was an eccentric with wiry hair, but we called her Tin Lizzie. She was the iron man’s ‘burd’.”

In fact, the press were half right. The story of an iron-tooth vampire had been inspired by an American comic—but not Tales from the Crypt or Vault of Horror—rather Dark Mysteries.

In issue the December 1953 issue of Dark Mysteries #15 there was a story entitled: “The Vampire with the Iron Teeth.” This was the apparent source of the panic over the Gorbals Vampire.
The suggestion that “nasty” American comic books were corrupting young children led to an unholy alliance between teachers, Communists and religious leaders to demand a ban on sales of comics like Tales from the Crypt and the Vault of Horror to children.

Yet our two eyewitnesses to the events of September 1954 have said they had never seen a horror movie or read a horror comic.
On September 26th, 1954, the Sunday Mail newspaper ran the following story:


Read on after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Live animals are known to be devoured’: Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles’ Sufi recordings

Part of Ira Cohen’s layout for the Jilala sleeve (via Granary Books)
Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka was not the first album of Moroccan music inspired by the kif-smoking literary expats in Tangier. In 1964, Brion Gysin and Paul Bowles taped the Jilala brotherhood, a Sufi order whose ritual dance and music were supposed to exorcise evil spirits and heal the sick. The LP Jilala, released a year or two later by Ira Cohen, brought these recordings into limited circulation and preserved them for posterity.

Poet, musician, traveler, author of The Hashish Cookbook, and director of The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda, Cohen was another Olympian of the arts who had joined Burroughs, Gysin, and the Bowleses in Tangier in 1961. (My old employer Arthur Magazine brought out Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda on DVD ten years ago, with new scores by Acid Mothers Temple and Sunburned Hand of the Man supplementing the original soundtrack by founding Velvet Underground drummer Angus MacLise.) Years before his psychedelic photo experiments with Mylar, Cohen edited the literary magazine Gnaoua, named after a form of North African religious music that’s related to but distinct from the Jilala’s. 

It’s not entirely clear how Jilala is connected to another Paul Bowles recording project involving the same collaborators, time, and place. Bowles wrote Cohen in 1966 about donating the profits from something called the “Hypnotic Music record” to the Timothy Leary Defense Fund. In a footnote, the editor of Bowles’ letters says this refers to a compilation of Hamatcha, Jilala, Gnaoua, and Aissaoua trance music that was put together from tapes made separately by Bowles, Gysin, and Cohen and released by Cohen. However, the Independent reports that the Hypnotic Music record was an unrealized project, so perhaps Bowles’ editor has conflated it with Jilala, which Discogs lists as the sole release on Cohen’s Trance Records.

I would be delighted to be proven wrong about this. Does anyone have a copy of the Hypnotic Music record?

The cover of the original issue of Jilala
Before putting Jilala in your gym playlist, you should probably read Cohen’s liner notes (reprinted in full at Big Bridge and Discogs) so you know what you’re getting yourself into. The Jilala knew how to pitch a wang dang doodle with their flutes and drums. The bath salts of their day, these religious tunes have been known to make listeners eat live animals, slash themselves with knives, and drink boiling water straight from the kettle, as Cohen tells it…

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘A Message from the Temple’: First peek at upcoming documentary on Genesis P-Orridge cult looks GOOD

As there is just 23 days—ahem—left of their already half-funded Kickstarter campaign, I wanted to call your attention to a new film, already in production titled A Message from the Temple.

As a close observer/fellow traveler—I was never myself a member or direct participant, I’ve never been much of a joiner—of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth in the 1980s, I was pleased to hear that a feature length documentary was being planned on Genesis P-Orridge’s fanclub/cult and really impressed by their excellent trailer. The truly inside story of a cult is seldom an easy one to tell, but when it’s done right—like Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos 2012 “cult classic” The Source—it can be the very most fascinating sort of documentary. Sure, films about crazed loners are good too, I’ll grant you that, but there’s something about a group of outcasts deciding to do something oddball or unorthodox together that’s just too interesting, cinematically speaking, in my opinion. The groupthink, the leaders, philosophies, the motivations, jealousies, schisms, etc, etc., are so richly dramatic in a situation like that.

Adding harassment by the authorities—often the case for outlaw communities—only tends to heighten that drama.

Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth has been convened in order to act as a catalyst and focus for the Individual development of all those who wish to reach inwards and strike out. Maybe you are already one of these, already feeling different, dissatisfied, separate from the mass around you, instinctive and alert? You are already one of us. The fact that you have this message is a start in itself.

Conceived in the aftermath of the punk and industrial countercultures, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) was an “anti-cult” that drew on the tenets of provocation, transgression, and the DIY ethos to form an internationally reaching network bound together by an esoteric sensibility.

With experimental pop group Psychic TV serving as the public’s access to Temple doctrine (shattering a Guinness World Record for musical output in the process), the decade long spiritual, intellectual, and sexual revolution that TOPY would instigate, for tens of thousands of members worldwide, represented an unprecedented model for radical communion.

TOPY strove to transcend the normative constructs of culture, sexuality, order, and reason, examine and undermine systems of power, and reach ecstatic states of being. In doing so its members often hurdled past the outer limits of propriety, arousing the moral wrath of “Satanic Panic” era British authorities and causing the subsequent Scotland Yard raid and political exile of the group’s central figurehead, artist and provocateur Genesis P-Orridge.

A Message from the Temple is the first authorized documentary about Thee Temple Of Psychick Youth (years 1981-1991), tracing its influences and inception to its dramatic downfall and enduring legacy.

Told with unprecedented access through the eyes of its members, collaborators, and persecutors via contemporary interviews, personal archives, and historical accounts from the mainstream media, A Message from the Temple will provide an intimate portrait of the artists, occultists, and rock stars that surrounded Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth.

It is our belief as filmmakers that stories such as this must be told if human history is to survive, progress, or have any meaning whatsoever.


This weekend in Brooklyn, the film’s producer’s Unclean Pictures will mount a benefit for the documentary. “Ritual Cuttings” is a symposium of Temple related videos and a discussion with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and other participants in TOPY. Tickets available here.
Watch the excellent trailer for ‘A Message from the Temple’ after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Move over Jesus: Face of Charles Darwin spotted in patient’s eye scan
08:50 am


Charles Darwin

Tired of all those Jesus sightings in things like Cheetos, rusty drainpipes or even a dog’s butt? Well here’s an apparition for the other side: Charles Darwin was found in a patient’s eye scan. Clearly it’s him. It’s him!

Christopher McCleary noticed the shape of the father of evolution when carrying out a scan at Aintree Hospital .

“Given the number of religious figures who feature in media reports of pareidolia, we thought that it was very appropriate that our high-tech scanning equipment found one of history’s most important scientists.”

The Father of Evolution spotted in an eye scan. Take that, you nonbelievers!


via Echo and h/t Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Grisly vintage North Korean anti-American propaganda art

North Korea is the ultimate “safe space” where only one opinion matters and no dissent is allowed. Safe spaces stop the dialectic in its tracks—just like North Korea does not permit any serious critique of its Supreme Leader the “Shining Sun” Kim Jong-un. We may not dig what happens in our own western countries, but we are free to question, to protest and to instigate change.

We have the opportunity “[t]o see ourselves as others see us,” as the poet Robert Burns once wrote, which—one hopes—“would from many a blunder free us.”

These propaganda paintings show exactly how North Korea views America and by association the West. Fair dinkum.

The North Koreans and South Koreans suffered terrible atrocities at the hands of the American GIs during the Korean War. At one point during the conflagration the US had a “take no civilians policy” which led to hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths.

Atrocities were committed by all sides—but while those of North Korea and South Korea have been documented—those committed by the American Army only came to light after an investigation by the Associated Press in 1999. Here’s one example of the US Army handiwork:

Just weeks after the conflict had begun, up to two million refugees were streaming across the battlefield; they clogged the roads and the UN lines.

Under pressure and fearing North Korean infiltration, the US leadership panicked. Soon command saw all civilians as the enemy regardless. On 26 July the US 8th Army, the highest level of command in Korea, issued orders to stop all Korean civilians. ‘No, repeat, no refugees will be permitted to cross battle lines at any time. Movement of all Koreans in group will cease immediately.’ On the very same day the first major disaster involving civilians struck.

The stone bridge near the village of No Gun Ri spans a small stream. It is similar to a great many others that cross the landscape of South Korea, except that the walls of this bridge were, until very recently, pockmarked by hundreds of bullet holes. On the very day that the US 8th Army delivered its stop refugee order in July 1950, up to 400 South Korean civilians gathered by the bridge were killed by US forces from the 7th Cavalry Regiment. Some were shot above the bridge, on the railroad tracks. Others were strafed by US planes. More were killed under the arches in an ordeal that local survivors say lasted for three days.

‘The floor under the bridge was a mixture of gravel and sand. People clawed with their bare hands to make holes to hide in,’ recalls survivor Yang Hae Chan. ‘Other people piled up the dead like a barricade, and hid behind the bodies as a shield against the bullets.’

Corroborating the Korean survivors’ testimony are the accounts of 35 veterans of the 7th Cavalry Regiment who recall events at No Gun Ri. Perspectives differ, but the detailed memories of veterans recalling events burnt into their souls by their first days in combat are as painful as they are shocking.

‘There was a lieutenant screaming like a madman, fire on everything, kill ‘em all,’ recalls 7th Cavalry veteran Joe Jackman. ‘I didn’t know if they were soldiers or what. Kids, there was kids out there, it didn’t matter what it was, eight to 80, blind, crippled or crazy, they shot ‘em all.’

Along with the My Lai atrocity 20 years later in Vietnam, the killings discovered at No Gun Ri mark one of the largest single massacres of civilians by American forces in the 20th century.

The events of the war help turn North Korea into what it is today. Everything flows from the Supreme Leader. Every oppressive dictatorship implements a safe space—which should be a warning to all of us today.

I’m sure the following powerful anti-American paintings were successful in getting their message across, still I can’t help but think there is something very twee (dare I say bourgeoise?) about these paintings—like religious paintings for the already converted faithful or like GI comics or James Bond movies.
More paintings of evil GI Joes, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
F*ck The Elf on the Shelf: Here’s Krampus in the Corner!
10:09 am



I know, it’s not even Halloween yet and here I am blogging about Christmas-related shit. But this is too good not to share as it just reared its fantastical head on the Internet: Krampus in the Corner. Not only is there a Krampus in the Corner cute plush toy, but it also comes with a creepy 32-page picture book “told from Krampus’s point of view.”

Unlike the Elf, Krampus does not speak in rhyme. Read along as he tells what horrors await you if you misbehave! Featuring 16 full-color, painted illustrations.

The authors’ note: “This book is not intended for young children. It is a horror parody featuring scary situations and mild gore.”

Learn more about Krampus in the Corner here.

h/t Coilhouse on Facebook


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
John Coltrane, Sun Ra, and many more on this stunning 12-hour mix of spiritual jazz
04:24 pm


Sun Ra
John Coltrane

After several decades of jazz music mainly serving as something to dance to—as Wikipedia drily notes, “the association of jazz with sex is early and extensive”—by the time the 1950s rolled around it was time to get a little more serious. Spiritual jazz is product of the late 1950s and after; it is most commonly associated with John Coltrane, whose 1965 album A Love Supreme eventually became an essential part of the record collections of impressionable college students everywhere. The trend of long-playing albums made it possible for experimental works to explore a single theme for 20 or more minutes at a time, which also lent itself to more serious explorations of divinity.

Last week the London online radio station NTS dropped a colossal, nay transcendent 4-part “history of spiritual jazz” lasting more than 12 hours in all. It starts with Fred Stone’s “Theme from Lawrence of Arabia” (originally composed by Maurice Jarre, this rendition happened in 1972) and ends with an ambitious composition by the Art Ensemble of Chicago called “Certain Blacks ‘Do What They Wanna.’” In between you’ll find remarkable music by Stanley Crouch, Elvin Jones, Sun Ra, David S. Ware, Herbie Hancock, Don Cherry, Amiri Baraka, Pharoah Sanders, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Last Poets, Gil Scott-Heron, Roland Kirk, Earth Wind and Fire, Art Blakey—and that’s leaving out another several dozen musicians whose names are not as familiar. (Interestingly, Charles Mingus is not represented.)

So put this on and let spiritual jazz define your week.
Check out all four mixes of spiritual jazz after the jump…....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Buddha hairstyle knit cap
10:44 am



So I discovered these Buddha knitted caps through the site Everlasting Blort. I clicked on their “via” link and was led to a Japanese website that sells them. Google translate wasn’t much help, to be honest. From what I understand they come in several different colors: grey, red, navy and ivory.

There’s really not much else I can tell you about these wooly caps. I *think* you order them here. It looks like they won’t be available to ship until November or December. (Don’t quote me on that.)


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Christian fundamentalist group reveals what we already knew: Thom Yorke of Radiohead is EVIL!

Thom Yorke is EVIL! (not really).
My DM colleague Tara McGinley posted about the unexplainable image of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on the cover of an Iranian sex manual called Marital and Sexual Problems in Men back in 2015. And since McGinley and I share many of the same curious interests, today I’d like to share another instance of Yorke’s visage being utilized to disseminate religious propaganda, this time by a Christian fundamentalist group called Generation for God. For some reason the group somehow wants us to believe that vices such as drug use, atheism, witchcraft and of course pornography have manifested themselves on Yorke’s mug. 

Because Radiohead is about as Satanic as ABBA I found the claim that Yorkes’ face was a conduit for all things Satanic rather amusing to say the least. Generation of God sent the strange image out via their page on Twitter which depicted Yorke’s face as possessing (or perhaps “possessed of” in this case) the following eight things that Satan will use to “enslave and destroy you”:

Avarice (aka Greed)
Disobedience to God’s Law
Witchcraft & Tarot

I’m going to go out on a big fat fake plastic tree limb here and say that I’m pretty sure many DM readers are big fans of most of the vices noted above so this “revelation” by GOG isn’t so much unflattering as it is straight up silly. And as you might imagine the response from fans of the band to the tweet were as hilarious as the original one from the goofy God groupies. So much so that I highly recommend you read through a few of them here.
H/T: Digital Music News

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Snake Oil: Use some ‘Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil’ and you too will stop seeing snakes!
01:49 pm



(Clears throat)

“In 1972 God spoke to Rev. Woody Martin and told him to lay hands on the building that is now Victory Temple Worship Center, a center of signs, wonders, and miracles following the spoken Word of God.”

So spaketh the poorly-designed website for Rev. Martin’s Bible Deliverance Ministry, located in the town of Lenoir City, Tennessee. It goes on to inform the reader that:

In his first service, God opened the blind eyes of an eight-year-old girl by the “laying on of hands.” Victory Temple is a Bible-believing Pentecostal Deliverance Church where expectations are met through Christ. Thousands have come to Jesus through anointed radio broadcast, publications, television, and miracle crusades. Precious souls have been delivered and set free by the power of God.

Rev. Woody (who also is known as “Prophet Martin” for reasons that are unclear) has another method of achieving unspecified Jesus-related goals and stuff and that is his “The Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil.”

Despite the apparently pedigreed name, “The Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil” is just regular olive oil and red food coloring. Prophet Martin admits to such in the description.

“It is regular olive oil which represents the Holy Spirit and a special coloring to make it look red thus we call it “The Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil.” There is no virtue or healing in this oil, it is a point-of-contact and an act-of-faith.”

You see, for it to work, you only have to believe! (And if it doesn’t work then obviously you are not believing HARD ENOUGH.)

“The Bible says in Mark 6:13, “And they cast out many devils, and ANOINTED with oil many that were sick, and Healed them!” Jesus’ disciples used this unusual ministry to bring healing and deliverance to the sick and oppressed. They would anoint them with a little oil that God had blessed by His Holy Spirit. The oil alone had no power, but when saturated by prayer, it became the Holy Spirit’s point of power for bringing deliverance to people.”

It’s not like he and his wife can legally be, you know, accused of cheating anyone with such an honest description, right? And if it works, then it works, right? Who am I to shit on an old couple’s hobby? Besides that, the first vial is free for the asking. (They also got “healing” DVDs, Rev. Woody’s music, ways to lose weight through the Lord, all kinds of stuff, in the online store.)

Some of the many uses for Mr. and Mrs. Woody Martin’s “The Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil” are the warding off of witchcraft, protection from the evil eye, reversing bad luck and the effects of evil hoodoos, leprachauns and so forth. But it’s also good for the removal of snakes.

You heard me right: The removal of snakes. Apparently this shit works great for that. Listen to the testimonial below and praise Jesus!

Above, Mrs. Woody Martin proudly reads a letter from one of their satisfied “Blood of Jesus Anointing Oil” customers! Use this oil and you, too, will stop seeing snakes!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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