Archive for November, 2017

It is a cemetery in the Gorbal’s district, Glasgow, Scotland and was opened in 1840 to provide more affordable burials; there are over 250,000 burials there on various layers of the place. The Old Gorbals cemetery was vastly overcrowded, this is not unusual for the time period, London and many major cities around the UK were opening more graveyards to compensate for the lack of space in those already established.

The proposals for a new cemetery started in 1839 and the following year the land was purchased and the first burial commenced. The first soul laid to rest there was 16-month old and occurred 21st July 1840. The three sections opened as follows: Central in 1840, Eastern in 1846 and Western in 1850. In 1954 the cemetery suffered from a large group of children who were committed to hunting down a vampire that they believed was buried in the cemetery. The incident sparked it’s own urban legend, a vampire had killed two children. The influence for this was blamed on American horror comics like Tales from the Crypt, despite no evidence for the reason being the comics the moral outrage led to an increased comic censorship.

23rd September 1954 PC Alex Deeprose was called out and expected to deal with a case of vandalism, instead he was met with hundreds of children from around 4 years old up to 14. They were armed with sticks and knives and were patrolling around inside the cemetery. They told the constable that they were looking for a 7 foot tall vampire, with iron teeth and had that he had kidnapped and eaten two local boys.

The rumours started in the playground, and there was a Chinese whisper emerging that they were going to head out there after school. At three o’clock that day the school emptied and children headed to the graveyard, gathering around the walls. Some were too scared to go in and stayed outside. There were no records of missing children at the time and the only blame they could come up with – comics.

Newspapers at the time took the tale and ran with it, the children turned up a second evening running and the headmaster of a local school had told them it was a ridiculous tale and eventually had the crowd dispersed.

Some of the other people in the area pointed out that they had got little reason to blame comics, after all the children were taught the bible. Daniel 7.7 specifically mentions a monster with iron teeth in it. The political frenzy however meant blaming comics was far more convenient. A local man explained that they would threaten the local children with the Iron Man before then, it was meant to be a sort of bogeyman affair but the political agenda against the comics made a better fit for the reason.

The cemetery is now operated by Glasgow City Council and is protected as a listed Category B building with the entrance listed as Category A. The cemetery also has 11 Commonwealth burials.

Glasgow. Southern Necropolis. Thomas Lipton's grave

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It is called The Museum of the Holy Souls in Purgatory but it is not so much a museum as a collection. The small room sits inside the church of the Sacred Holy Heart just along the Tiber River not too far from the Vatican.

The display centralises on the Catholic idea that souls go to purgatory, they are purified of their remaining sins before they can ascent to heaven. To help souls go to heaven quicker the faithful can offer prayer, before the reformation it was a common practise to buy loved ones swifter entry with the good old value of mortal cash.

Amongst the cases you can see the nightcap of a man who discovered asking him to pray for her. Another is from 1789 where there is a hand-print on the nightshirt that Joseph Leleux had, the mark was made by the tortured soul of his mother who appeared to him and reminded him of his duties to go to mass and begged him to change his behaviour and go back to church.

The museum/collection is mentioned on the website Atlas Obscura and a few other sites, they say the collection comes from the French Missionary, Father Jouet. They story is that there was a painting, Our Lady of the Rosary, that caught fire from candles around it. Witnesses said they had seen the face of a man in the altars burning walls, he was convinced that it was a message from a soul buried in the area and that he should build a church there, and make it a place to pay tribute to the souls in purgatory.

Admission is free but they will welcome any donation to the church that you can make. If you have been, or do go, please let me know and share your experiences.

The museum is in the Church of Sacro Cuore del Suffragio, 12 Lungotevere Prati, Rome. Open 7.30-11am and 4.30-7pm.

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