FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
The Gorbals Vampire: The child-eating monster that terrorized Glasgow in the 1950s

01gorbalsvampire.jpeg
 
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.”

 
04gorbalsvampire.jpg
 
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.
 
6gorbalsvampire6.jpg
 
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.
 
7gorbalsvampire26954smail.jpeg
 
On September 26th, 1954, the Sunday Mail newspaper ran the following story:

VAMPIRE WITH IRON TEETH IS “DEAD”

Read on after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
10.20.2016
12:37 pm
|
Hollow Children: Creepy portraits of happy—or perhaps evil—little kids
10.14.2016
10:55 am
Topics:
Tags:

00smileteeth.jpg
 
We can’t see their eyes. That’s what I find disturbing about artist Björn Griesbach’s series of portraits of smiling children. We can see their teeth—which are almost identical—but we can’t tell if these smiling kids are happy and genuine in their expressions or not.

It’s a case of smile over content.

Björn Griesbach is a German artist based in Hanover. He is best known for his startlingly original illustrations for those classic fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, his cover designs to books by Herman Hesse, and his drawings for an edition of Jean Paul-Sartre’s novel Nausea.

Griesbach’s series of superbly creepy portraits Hollow Children question our response to that near universal expression of happiness, pleasure, and friendliness—the smile.

Should we respond to the children’s smile reflexively? Or are we a tad disturbed that these eerie offspring have had their eyes smudged out and we can no longer connect with their expressions?

Scientists can’t fully explain why we smile—but they do know smiling generally makes us feel better.

A genuine smile involves the use of those muscles around our eyes. This is called a Duchenne smile after the French neurologist who first identified the two distinct forms of smiling. This smile that involves raising the eyes is a genuine smile.

The second type of smile which does not involve any eye movement is the fake smile—or “Pan Am smile,” so-called because of its use by air stewardesses to greet passengers on and off flights. These days it may be a bit more difficult to ascertain a genuine smile with all the botox injections paralysing any facial expression.

See more of Björn Griesbach’s work here.
 
01smileteeth.jpg
 
13smileteeth.jpg
 
More smile over content, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
10.14.2016
10:55 am
|
Homeless street kid is ‘math genius of Dapitan’
07.28.2014
03:31 pm
Topics:
Tags:

stretkidgenius.jpg
 
A homeless child on the streets of Dapitan city in the Philippines entertains tourists with his genius for math. The Philippines is the 39th richest economy in the world, with a gross domestic product (nominal) of $272, 207 billion. Yet kids as talented as Gerald are living on the streets.

Gerald is nicknamed “Boy Square Root,” which will become apparent from this video taken by Chelsea Mae S. Luzanta from Antipolo in the Philippines, who is a student at the University of Santo Tomas.

Who knows what the full story is, but taken as reported, then Gerald should be at school, should be enjoying his childhood, not having to hustle to survive. Support UNICEF’s children’s campaigns here.
 

 
Via Arbroath

Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
07.28.2014
03:31 pm
|
Adorable photos of kids at a camp for gender nonconformity
05.13.2014
03:43 pm
Topics:
Tags:


 
We here at Dangerous Minds generally steer clear of the “cute.” It’s not that we’re actively anti-cute or anything, it’s just that “cute” rarely intersects with our curation filter of “dangerous.” The kids in Lindsay Morris’ photography however, manage to be both dangerous and adorable. Morris documented children aged 5-12 attending a camp where children are free to express their gender. They call it Camp “You Are You” but that’s actually a pseudonym to protect the campers’ privacy and all children were photographed with parental permission.

From Morris:

For many of these children, their perceptions of their gender are misaligned with their bodies. They may later identify as gay, transgender, or somewhere in between. This is just one way of being that has always existed, but only now are we developing the ability to say it’s OK not to put everyone in a neat little box. It will require all of us to break the habit of assigning individuals a gender label and to start thinking of gender on a broader spectrum. I know how lonely, and at times traumatic, life for an LGBT child can be. Looking over your shoulder and navigating your way through curious classmates and the occasional bully can be exhausting. That need to explain one’s self does not exist at camp. Pure freedom of expression is a compelling and emotional thing to witness.

Lindsay Morris is publishing a book in October, a resource for adults working with queer youth and she’d like to eventually travel with a multimedia show of the project. Her biggest goal is to start a fund for the kids who can’t afford the camp so that every child can have access to a safe space of their peers.

Related: 12 Things Every Gender Nonconforming Child Wants You To Know
 

 

 

 

 
More of Lindsay Morris’ photo series after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Amber Frost
|
05.13.2014
03:43 pm
|
Is 8 years old too young to get Botox injections?
05.12.2011
10:25 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Not according to Kerry Campbell and her daughter Britney. who regularly has Botox injections and also gets “virgin” waxes even though she has not yet hit puberty. You know, ‘cos being 8 can be rough on your skin! From the UK’s Daily Mail:

California mum Kerry Campbell has come under fire after admitting she injects her young daughter Britney with Botox to get rid of ‘wrinkles’ that appear on the girl’s face when she smiles.

...

Kerry also admitted to waxing her daughter in the name of pageant success.

‘They call it little fluffy hair,’ she said. ‘They get judged on all that stuff. It’s a tough world, the pageant world, I’m telling you. The kids are harsh.’
Eight-year-old Britney added: ‘I just don’t think it’s ladylike to have hair on your legs. I did that one time. It was super, super hard. It hurts.”

Thanks to Samantha Veal for the link, who would like to make it known that she is NOT a regular reader of the Daily Mail.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
|
05.12.2011
10:25 am
|
New BBC TV children’s show ‘Rastamouse’
02.01.2011
12:23 pm
Topics:
Tags:

image
 
Something tells me this is going to cross over far beyond the 4-11 year olds market.
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
|
02.01.2011
12:23 pm
|
Baby worship: Little girl really feels the Holy Spirit
10.26.2010
10:41 am
Topics:
Tags:

 
Do I smell a new Baby Preacher in the making?

(via Arbroath)

Posted by Tara McGinley
|
10.26.2010
10:41 am
|