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Witches, vampires and 90s horror take centre stage at The Mitchell Library

Home News

Witches, vampires and 90s horror take centre stage at The Mitchell Library

With dark corners, creepy stairways and a terrifyingly good selection of books, could there be a better place to head this Halloween than The Mitchell Library?

Home to many treasures of the city, the library will be letting loose some of Glasgow’s more gruesome secrets this week for the Ghoulish Glasgow #MitchellCurious. And, you can even relive some of the horrors of the nineties with a special, live recording of Kirsty Logan and Heather Parry’s Point Horror podcast, Teenage Scream.

Items on display as part of the library’s #MitchellCurious events on Wednesday (31 October) and Thursday (1 November), include the 1697 Baggaran witch trials manuscript, newspaper articles and images of the Gorbals Vampire, and a number of rare and interesting items from the Mitchell Library’s occult collection.

Librarian Ellen Sykes explains:

The Bargarran witch trials manuscript from 1697 includes detailed accounts from witnesses and local people of the bewitching of eleven year old Christian Shaw, the daughter of the Laird of Bargarran.

Christian started to experience symptoms that were believed at the time to be demonic possessions. Now, today, you could argue that she was making these up, or perhaps had symptoms of an illness, but none the less it was decided that certain individuals had cursed her and were causing her to experience these symptoms.

The document we have here in the Mitchell is the only surviving copy of the manuscript from 1697, originally owned by Christian Shaw’s father, John Shaw, and is a contemporary account of what had happened to his daughter. It includes witness statements from local people, and first-hand accounts of those who allege that they had seen Christian Shaw becoming possessed.

There’s something about the creepiness of this manuscript that really brings the witch trials to life.

Alongside the original and facsimile copies of the manuscript will be newspaper articles and images of the famed Gorbals Vampire.

Rumoured to be roaming the Southern Necropolis in September 1954 the story of the Vampire with the Iron Teeth will once again be resurrected.

Ellen continued:

The Gorbals Vampire is a really great example of the kind of creepy stories that get shared amongst people through old folklore, causing incidents of mass hysteria. The Mitchell has newspaper accounts and images that tell the story, and people will be able to look through these at the Mitchell Curious events this week.

And, if that’s not enough, on Halloween itself there’s a throwback to all the horror of the 90s, with a live recording of the Point Horror podcast Teenage Scream.

Audience members are invited to throw on their best 90s dress up and join authors Kirsty Logan and Heather Parry as they lovingly dissect the Point Horror classic, Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick. The event will be filled with 90s tunes, bingo and special prizes for the best dressed. Tickets here

Kirsty Logan, said:

90s nostalgia, trashy horror novels, and all the silly puns you can handle - the Teenage Scream podcast is coming for you! If you spent most of the 1990s reading teen horror books like Point Horror, Goosebumps and Christopher Pike, all borrowed from the library, of course, then join us for the spookiest, silliest night in town.

Heather Parry, added: 

As writers we both rely on libraries so much, so we're thrilled to be able to bring our Point Horror podcast to the Mitchell Library—and on Halloween itself!

Glasgow Libraries have recently added a great collection of Point Horror ebooks to the collections, which are free to download with a library card.

The Ghoulish Glasgow #MitchellCurious events are on Wednesday at 6:30pm and Thursday at 12:30pm. The Teenage Scream live recording takes place on Wednesday at 7pm.

To find out more about the Ghoulish Glasgow #MitchellCurious, or to book tickets for the Teenage Scream recording, please visit: www.glasgowlife.org.uk/libraries