Textual description of firstImageUrl

The Glenburn Paisley Poltergeist

A teenage boy and his mother endure the nightly terror of paranormal activity

The paranormal activity experienced by Alan A. in 1977 has all of the characteristics of a classic poltergeist case: scratching, knocking, and marching sounds of unknown origin; shadowy figures; and a young victim (or "agent" in paranormal terms) at the age of puberty with family stresses. To appreciate what Alan and his mother experienced, try to put yourself in his place as you read his account. How would you bear up under the nightly assault of this terrifying activity? This is Alan's story....

When I was just turning 13 years old, my mum and I lived in a second-floor flat in Glenburn-Paisley on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland. The year was 1977, and lots had changed since I was a small kid. My grandfather died when I was 12, which I took really badly, and my own father did not want to know us, so mum and I got on with life as best we could.

When my grandfather died, I moved into his room. I was a big Adam Ant fan back then, and one of my walls was decorated with pictures and posters of the group. The 12 x 12 room was quite bare: a bed and dresser with a wardrobe attached, which housed all my worldly possessions, such as clothing, records, a little stereo, and my 0.22 air rifle.

I had a small, close-knit group of friends, who would come face-to-face with what I would term "a poltergeist with a difference."


It all started at 11:30 p.m. I was sitting in bed reading the NME, a musical magazine I got from a friend. I could not sleep no matter how hard I tried. I began to hear a dull scratching sound. I could not locate it.

It was so faint I got out of bed, turning full circle in the middle of my room. Where the hell was it coming from? The noise was more of an annoyance than sinister. At this time I did not think much of it, just putting it down to pipes or someone in the flat below doing some house work.

The noise continued for a few hours; in fact, most of the things that happened were between 11:30 p.m.

and 2 a.m. every night. One week later, the scratching sounded like it was coming from my bed's headboard. The sound was like claws being dragged down the wall, as if a big cat was sharpening its claws.

Then a new sound began. I have never shouted for my mum, as I am quite fearless, but this new sound was just so unnerving that the thought crossed my mind: Am I going mad? I shouted, "Mum! Mum! Muuum!" She came running into my room and stopped just inside the doorway. Her eyes looked to the ceiling of my bedroom. She could hear the noise, too. "Mum, what's that noise?" I asked her.

She asked, "Are you hiding anyone in the loft?"

Of course I wasn't, but it was so loud it was like an army marching between the rafters, back and forth. It went on and on for hours. We were both so scared we stayed in the living room all night. That was the first night, and it would continue for just over a month every night: marching, knocking, and scratching. I was never brave enough to poke my head up into the loft when the marching was going on. It was just too scary.


One night, it got so bad we had to get out of the flat. We walked to the local Catholic Church to ask for help. We were beside ourselves scared, tired, and confused. The priest kept us standing at his church house door like vagrants. It was raining and we were shivering. We told him the story of what was happening in our flat and how scared we were. Mum was so upset she was crying. The priest just said, "Stop wasting my time and go home." And he closed the door on us.

Mum was speechless. I felt so abandoned, alone, and for a second I wanted to walk in front of a car just so it would all stop.

A few days passed and the marching and scratching continued. We reasoned, however, that neither of us had been hurt, so we decided we put up with it, hoping it would just go away. It's difficult to ignore something rapping on your headboard, but from 11:00 p.m. to 2 a.m., I just sat up in bed and put up with it.


It was then I saw it: a shadowy figure walk across the wall where all my Adam Ant posters were. It looked like a shadow cast on to the wall, two-dimensional, a rather fat man, a solid black shadow. The figure was defined and there was no mistaking it was human in shape.

I screamed at the top of my voice for my mum. She came running to my room, but by the time she got there, it was gone.

I was shaking so much I spend the next few nights in the front room, all night. We had been putting up with this uninvited visitor for nearly three weeks, and it was steadily getting worse. It never actually attacked us; it did more than enough damage by the sounds it made.

One day I was sitting around with my group of friends.

Some of them could see I was troubled. I was quite distant and looked like I had not slept in weeks. I told them what was happening, and for the first time I felt okay, in a way stronger for getting it of my chest. I told them about the knocking, marching, and scratching - and, of course, the black figure I saw.

They asked if they could spend the night with me to hear it for themselves. I was taken aback, but said I would have to ask mum. She said yes. I think in a way she was glad of the extra company, even if it was for one night, but she said we would all have to stay in my room.


We all met up at 10:30 p.m. The group was comprised of Marie, Susan, Glen, Scott, and me. We were all sitting around my bed talking.

Most of the people there believed in ghosts, except Glen. After that night, however, he was forced to become a believer.

Before it started, Glen looked up into the loft, as I told him that is where all the noise had come from. He went up there, walked around the loft, but found nothing there. It's not a place I ever wanted to investigate.

We settled down, and at 11:28 p.m. I told them that in two minutes the activity would start and if they wanted to leave, then now would be the best time, although they could leave at any time.

The time arrived. 11:30 p.m. A faint knocking began, steadily getting louder and louder. It stopped and then the marching began. One thing I always noticed is that I could see the ceiling actually move, as if foot steps are pushing the flimsy joists above. Everyone could see this. Marie was wide-eyed with amazement and not the least bit scared. Susan, her sister, held onto her.


Then there was a sharp knock that repeated three times. "Knock back to it with the rat-a-tat tat," I said to Marie. She did and the thing in the loft knocked back. Glen was getting scared - very scared. His face was white chalk white with fright. The more the noise went on, the more frightened he got until he could no longer take it. He made a mad dash for the bedroom door.

At this point, everything descended into madness. Glen turned the door knob and it came off in his hand. We were all locked in the bedroom! Glen screamed as if the Devil himself was after him. To get away, he actually jumped out of the second-story window, fracturing his leg. We had to call an ambulance.

After that, mum said I could no longer bring friends into the house while this paranormal activity was going on. Yet Marie was so fascinated with all that was going on, she came around many times during and after. We actually got quite close, and she helped me come to terms with it all.

By the end, I was no longer scared, but treated the experience as proof of an afterlife. Since then, I am a seeker of the spiritual realms. I don't investigate it; I don't need proof. I just like to witness the strange and wonderful world in which we live.