Vampire in the Southern Necropolis

On 24th September 1954, Glaswegians woke to a curious headline on the front page of the Bulletin

Other newspapers soon followed suit, reporting various incidents of children from the Gorbals and Hutchesontown, searching for a vampire with iron teeth, in order to kill it!

By this time, the newspapers, parents, teachers and digitaries of the City of Glasgow were seriously concerned about the moral welfare of their children, who had apparently been spurred to this murderous action by such American "horror type comics" as Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and Dark Mysteries.



An outraged Bailie Main promptly proposed a motion to Council:
 
​That the corporation make representations by deputations to the secretary of state for Scotland with a view to the introduction of legislation to control the publication and sale to children of horror type comics and magazines.  Glasgow City Archives Minutes of the Corporation of Glasgow 30 September 1954 C1/3/130

His plea was part of a growing clamour to ban such publications in the UK, ending with the passing of the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955. The law is technically still in effect, but prosecutions are rare.
Recent discussion of the phenomenon has searched for an explanation much more complex than simple brainwashing by American comics.  
Children may have been told or sung a poem entitled Jenny wi' the Airn Teeth​ by Scottish poet, Alexander Anderson, which features a rather terrifying woman called Jenny, who is begged by tired and irritated parents to come an' tak' the bairn

A verse from the book of Daniel also describes a beast [...] dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it: and it had ten horns. 

More about this story
 
Before Hollywood went vampire crazy (Daily Record)
Holder, Geoff Paranormal Glasgow
Research for this article was undertaken using the vast newspaper collection in the Mitchell Library. To find out about our collections, and how they can illustrate strange stories from your family tree, please contact us.
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