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Ghostly goings on in spooky Kirkcaldy

Is there is a ghost in Betty Nicols?

Is there is a ghost in Betty Nicols?

 

Ghosts in public houses, playful poltergeists and phantom footsteps are just a taste of the spooky goings on in the Lang Toun’...

And they’re all chronicled by paranormal investigator Gregor Stewart whose book ‘Haunted Kirkcaldy’ debuts this month at Waterstones.

But in advance of the August 31 event, the father-of-two told the Press just how deep he had to dig to unearth the town’s darker past.

“I was surprised but it took a lot of effort to pull the stories together, “ he said.

“I thought it would be a case of poring over dusty old books in the library but, although there’s been an awful lot of stuff reported in the area, little has been documented and passed down.”

He explained: “There was a story about a ghost in the late 1800s who had been terrifying women going to work at the linoleum factory. He was described as eight feet tall and floated, but rather than document this, men went out with clubs to destroy the fiend!”

Recorded ghostly hotspots include Betty Nichols and the Feuer’s Arms, while readers might be more surprised to learn of the ‘strangling monk’ of Buchanan Court or the poltergeist of Oak Tree Square.

But Gregor’s investigations also unearthed tales of Kirkcaldy’s tragic past.

“There have been a couple of figures seen in the Old Kirk but nobody knew why they were there,” he said.

“But then I learned in 1828 hundreds of people went to the Kirk to hear the well-known preacher, Rev Edward Irving, deliver a service, resulting in the church being filled to, if not beyond, capacity.

“As he entered, the people surged forward to see him and this caused the north gallery to collapse, killing 24 people and injuring around 150.”

Gregor’s interest in paranormal stories was instilled in him as a youngster by his grandfather, a decorator who specialised in gold-leaf work in historic buildings such as Falkland Palace.

Nevertheless Gregor, who works as a building control surveyor with Fife Council, describes himself as an “open minded sceptic.”

“If I’m asked if I believe in ghosts, I answer no,” he said.

“But, equally, if I’m asked whether I think ghosts don’t exist, the answer is still no.”

On an overnight visit to Pittenweem Tolbooth Tower, Gregor and his son felt “distinctly uncomfortable” but that’s as far as he’ll go.

Leonard Low , author of Weem Witch, said: “Many people have asked to stay in the tower and it was worse than Scooby Doo! What I like about Gregor is he’s sensible and nobody’s fool.”

Meet Gregor and Leonard in conversation at Waterstones on Sunday, August 31 at 7.00 p.m. followed by a half-hour talk at the Old Kirk.

To book a free ticket call (01592) 263755.

 

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