Paisley in Scotland is known for its colourful cloth – but you’ll be sure to turn white if you see any of the ghosts in these haunted places, according to MJ STEEL COLLINS
Royal Alexandra Infirmary, Corsebar Road/Neilston Road, Calside
Old Royal Alexandra Infirmary building is described by those who worked in it as rather creepy. Dating back to 1900, the building lies in a slightly bizarre state of half being residential flats, half abandoned. The abandoned half served as a care home after the hospital was moved to a new building in Riccatsbar in 1986, but the home closed down in 2008. There are plans to turn the empty part into more residential flats. With the ghost stories coming out of the place, any potential owner would perhaps be well advised to include an exorcism or a cleansing in their moving in plans.
A grey lady is said to float through the halls, whilst the apparition of a man has been seen dragging what looked like a body bag. Staff at the care home were regularly scared by bizarre experiences. Footsteps could be heard traipsing about the locked loft, whilst beds moved away from the walls of their own volition, and even levitated. There was also the sound of running water and disembodied whispering came from the rooms containing sleeping residents. Apparently a block of new flats stands on the site of the morgue…
Paisley Abbey, Abbey Close (next to the Town Hall)
The Abbey dates back to 1163, when a Cluniac monastery was established on the site. It was elevated to an Abbey in 1245. By the 1920s, the Abbey was more or less a ruin, so an extensive program of restoration was carried out. Today the Abbey is without a doubt the jewel in Paisley’s crown, a popular visitor’s attraction and place of worship. The unsuspecting visitor may also be witness to the odd ghostly monk floating down the aisle.
The Abbey also made the news in August 2013, when it was noticed that one of the carved gargoyles on the building resembled the beastie from the Aliens movies!
Glencoats Memorial Hospital/ Ferguslie Park House (demolished), Oakridge Crescent
Admittedly, not really somewhere that can be visited as the building was (criminally) demolished in 1980 and subsequently replaced by housing, but still notable as one of Paisley’s best known ghost stories. Ferguslie Park House was built in 1890, on the site of an old castle and was the home of the Glen-Coats family.
The house was donated to the RAI in memory of the Glen-Coats family, becoming an annexe known as the Glen-Coats memorial hospital. The ghost of Lady Glen-Coats was rumoured to haunt the hospital. She would put the fear into hospital staff. It was maybe her apparition that could be seen leaning over the beds of extremely sick patients. She was mainly seen after midnight. Strange noises and bangs could also be heard. In the attic, where the bodies of deceased patients were stored until the undertaker could collect them, piano music was heard tinkling away when there was no piano. Another ghost stalking the hospital was the White Witch, thought to be the spirit of a former nursing sister.
Oakshaw High Church, Oakshaw Street East
The church was built between 1750 and 1754, with the spire being completed in 1770. In 1820, newspapers reported a small ghostly sprite, “Wee Leach” lurking about the spire, causing locals to flock around the church, trying to catch a glimpse. Wee Leach is thought to have been a stone mason, who fell to his death whilst working on the tower. A heart, spectacles and handkerchief are carved into the pavement where he is believed to have fallen. If you stand with a leg in each circle of the specs, it’s rumoured you may see Wee Leach clinging to the side of the church spire.
Sma’ Shot Cottages, Shuttle Street
These are all that is left of the original buildings from when Shuttle Street was originally built from 1735 to the early 1750s. They now operate as a small museum showing what life was like in Paisley’s weaving heyday.
A charity ghost hunt was held in the cottages by Lanarkshire Paranormal to help with the cost of running the museum. Interesting things occurred – participants of the investigation felt inexplicable extremes of emotion, whilst a door slammed open and closed by itself. A strange darkness drowned out the street light coming in through the windows. The image of a young woman came through in a scrying session – all this whilst a busy night club did a roaring trade next door – quite an impressive feat in Paisley. Clearly the Buddies of the past are made of sterner stuff than their modern counter-parts!
Spooky Isles Scottish Correspondent M J STEEL COLLINS lives in Glasgow with her husband, a fellow purveyor of the supernatural, and daughter. She has a life long interest in ghosts and hauntings, which were the focus of the dissertation for her Sociology degree. She also runs her blog Ghostly Aspects (http://www.ghostlyaspects.blogspot.co.uk) and occasionally reviews books for the Fortean Times.