Archive for August, 2011

101: The Tunnels

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on August 31, 2011 by glasganon

While it’s true that the public are somewhat clued-in to the existence of the tunnels beneath the streets of Glasgow, most are unaware of any of the entrances to the network and the extent to which the tunnel system spans the city. This is fortunate, as even fewer are aware of the things that stalk the shadowy, claustrophobic depths of the underground tunnels.

One of the main tunnels runs from the crypts in Glasgow Cathedral all the way to Rutherglen in the south-east: this tunnel has the nickname of the Rutherglen Rig. There are anecdotal stories of a piper who ventured into this tunnel alongside his dog, all the while playing his bagpipes in order to allow his associates above ground to trace the pathways of the tunnel: halfway through, the sound of his piping disappeared completely. The piper’s associates ran to the other end of the tunnel and waited for him – hours later, the only thing that emerged was the piper’s dog, shaking, squealing and shivering, with every strand of fur torn from its flesh. Contemporary accounts of urban explorers corroborate one part of this story – sometimes, people who enter the rig just don’t come out. Nonetheless, in an emergency, the rig does provide an easy means of escape from the city center on rainy days when They are abroad.

There is another tunnel in Glasgow, accessible only from the now-defunct Glasgow Green railway station. A hatch in the street nearby leads down through the roof of the building below, where one will find oneself on precisely the platform required to ‘ride’ the Contrary Line – an impossible railway line that includes the High Street Bone Railway among its stops, though no train ever runs on it – the only traffic it sees travels by foot, acolytes and pilgrims looking for the stations in alternate Glasgows glimpsed only in the throes of fever.

Another important tunnel lies somewhere underneath the centermost streets of Glasgow – in fact, this particular tunnel has entered public consciousness, as many natives to the city will be aware of the existence of a completely preserved Victorian street, with old shop-fronts still standing, having been built over by one of the larger streets but kept intact. A cobblestone road is flanked by small pavements of concrete, and the wooden veneers of a pharmacy, dentists, tobacconists and post office lie quiet and undisturbed in their dusty sleep beneath the streets above. Varying accounts claim it lies beneath Hope Street, Union Street, or Argyle Street. Slightly more savvy individuals place it under Glasgow Central Station; the village of Grahamston once lay outside the city of Glasgow before it was demolished in order to make way for the station, and the Grant Arms pub, only a few yards from the station itself, is a still-standing relic of the village. These estimates are partially true: in fact, the tunnels one must traverse to find the underground street lie under each of these locations. A postal network tunnel under Hope Street is accessed through the heavy-load elevator in Glasgow Central Station near platforms 11-15. The tunnels split under Union Street, and one tunnel leads down Argyle Street, connecting the sub-basements of shops and department stores on the street above. By going down a waterlogged sub-basement on the southern side of the tunnel, one can find the underground street.

The street is well-preserved, largely because each of the shops are still in use, run by eccentrics and visited only by acolytes. Alas, we are here to speak only of the tunnels: the underground establishments are another matter entirely.


054: The Music Store

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on August 29, 2011 by glasganon

The HMV store on Buchanan Street is a great place to shop. It’s wide and spacious, chock-full of the latest CD and DVD released, and even has a dedicated lounge at the top of the stairs for LAN gaming.

The only thing is, the store is far more spacious than people realise. There’s a number of rooms that still exist inside the store, despite having been demolished. They’re difficult to detect unless you know what you’re looking for: patches of sunlight and shadow that aren’t being cast by any of the windows in the store. You see, even though these rooms don’t exist anymore, they still cast light in a similar way as they did before: windows in these phantom rooms will be dimly visible just a few inches away from the glass panes of the store, areas that should be brightly lit will instead be cloaked in shadow from a nonexistant wall, and candlelight without any source reflects off of the television screens on the upper floor. The effect is more detectable during the night, but of course, very few people are in or around the store during the night.

Most disconcerting is when light in the real world seems to flicker as the room’s occupants move around, temporarily casting shadows in the store.

040: The Radio Station

Posted in Gideon Keys on August 28, 2011 by glasganon

There is a special radio station transmitting in the Glasgow region that delivers unusual “weather” reports. It is relatively unknown due to its limited coverage area (it’s difficult to pick up transmissions north of the River Clyde – some have speculated that the station transmits from somewhere in Govan), and the fact that either people unknowingly cite the wrong frequencies to tune into the station, or else the frequencies change over time – most suggest the station transmits at 99.3MHz, but some have claimed to have success picking up the station at 106.3 and 90.1 on certain broadcasts.

The radio station is manned by Gordon Hamilton, also known as “Gordo” or “The Voice of Other Glasgows”: he’s an amiable, well-spoken and intelligent host, someone who you would appreciate having a pint down the local with. He transmits at 2 a.m almost every morning – if he misses a broadcast, a horrific and unsettling excuse is usually given the following morning. His show tends to last between one and two hours, depending on how much material he has to cover. The show consists of a “weather” report and news in and around Glasgow, and sometimes, during times of great strife or unusual events in the city, Gordo allows listeners to call in on-air, providing a (presumably temporary or disposable) phone number to call.

The “weather” report includes facts on mundane weather patterns, temperatures and the like throughout Glasgow for the following few days – however, his report also includes a number of phenomena not typically reported in weather updates. He gives information on where and when the next Roar will be heard, umbric cover warnings for the days when the shadows of the city grow more dark and abyssal, locations of potential “splinters” occuring throughout the city where hauntings may be manifest, prominent dates or hours for cyclical monthly or yearly phenomena, the overall thanatotic stress of the surrounding regions, estimated from how many have died in the city over the past few days, and, on certain abysmal, rainy days, delivered between sobs, prayers, and pleas for people to find a safe place to hide – he reports that They have made appearances within the city limits. The latter reports tend to last only a few minutes before the broadcast disappears in a burst of static and the station goes off-air for a number of days.

His news reports tend also to include matters that only a small number of Glasgow’s residents would be interested in or made aware of; for example, his most recent broadcasts covered the robbery at the Hidden Exhibition, warnings sent out to people named in police radio broadcasts as being persons of interest in suspicious cases, the reappearance of the brass candle, and the evisceration of John-Paul McGuigan, which went entirely unreported by the Strathclyde Police.

For all that Gordo’s broadcasts are almost daily, nobody seems to have identified exactly where The Voice of Other Glasgows is transmitted from – hearsay claims that it is located in Govan, but there is little to no reason as to why this is, other than the signal for the station being clearer south of the River Clyde; nor has anyone come forward to claim that they’ve met Gordo. Some have suggested, in accordance with the station’s name and Gordo’s nickname, that Gordo doesn’t live in Glasgow at all — not in this version of Glasgow, anyway.

012: The Accordion Song

Posted in Gideon Keys on August 27, 2011 by glasganon

Those who make regular visits to the city center will, at one time or another, come across the Accordion Women – middle-aged or elderly women wrapped up, regardless of the weather, in conservative clothing and busking with a large accordion either in Buchanan Street or Sauchiehall Street. Despite the fact that they are recognisable figures to most of the city’s residents, very few people claim to know anything about them: opinions vary from them being recent Polish immigrants to members of an age-old network of families whose traditions are finding their way into the streets of Glasgow. Only a handful of people know the truth.

There is one piece of music that the Accordion Women play that is of particular note, not because of its musical worth (although certain maestros with an ear for ancient Slavic compositions would disagree) but because of its unusual properties. The song is not very harmonious – most who hear it being played simply attribute poor skill to the musician – but, like a particularly figurative poem, or a complex painting, one must actually study the intricacies of the song for the melody to be appreciated. It only sounds discordant if you don’t stop to listen – so, the next time you hear a particularly abrasive or lackluster song being played by the Accordion Women, stop. Listen.

The song is intricate, dense, and cryptic; for all that it seems to be the same twenty seconds of a tune played over and over, there are harmonic variations within each canon that suggest subtle skill on the part of the musician. Each of the accordion’s breaths wavers and frays in distinctive ways that calls to mind the breathlessness of a life-or-death chase, the sheer explosive agony of air bursting back and forth between quaking lungs. Every note is like the manic pulse of a rapidly-beating heart on its way to a final, shuddering end. It is normal, once the song is over, to feel out-of-breath, agitated, and the feeling of something dim and distant tickling your engaged paranoia. Leave some money for the Accordion Women, and do not be miserly – they have performed a great service to you, and should be compensated for their sacrifice.

If you can memorise the complex song, with all its variations and flourishes, you are blessed. Whistling or humming the song is said to repel a number of bizarre shadows that stalk those who stare into the abyss of the world’s darker corners – the Accordion Women play this song in the busiest parts of Glasgow in the hopes that at least some will find protection in its discordant notes.

038: The Coins

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags on August 26, 2011 by glasganon

{Found on a now-defunct forum — Ed.}

Edit 3-03-2011 by Eilidh Kinnaird
Look what I found on the MSE site – looks like these people are talking about Touch Pieces, a practise that has long since died out. Only, these Touch Pieces look like they were crafted for James Stuart: maybe the reason the tradition stopped is because every monarch after James didn’t have a legitimate claim to the throne. James Stuart must have surviving descendants through the paternal line living in Scotland in order to activate the coins – look for doctors, nurses and faith healers – if you get no results, try something more conceptual, like psychiatrists, tree surgeons, care workers, addiction counselors, or hospice workers. The coins need a monarch to function, and there’s a true king living somewhere in Glasgow.

lauriestone 11-12-2009, 10:46 AM
Joined: 09-03-2009
Posts: 439

Quote (by elderpark_perkyelder):
My mum’s from the east end of Glasgow too, and she said that her mum had a catch-all cure for the an upset stomach. Just pour a glass of coke, then drop a penny into it. The penny turns it flat, and it’ll help to settle your stomach acid. My mum had a special penny given to her by my grandmother that she used for the cure, a wee copper one that was slightly bigger than a one pence coin, and had “III” and “VIII” on one side, and the face of some king or prince on the other. I’ve tried it with normal pennies, but it doesn’t seem to work half as well as that special coin my mum had. I’ve asked her if she still had it, but she must of lost it before she moved to Govan.

oh, my parents had a coin just like that as well ! it had the same markings on it and i remember my dad told em the face was an old scottish king :confused: 🙂

anyway if you need more tips, try adding baking soda to a glass of water, or making a cup of tea with honey or chamomile ! good luck ! 🙂

001: The Hotel

Posted in Gideon Keys with tags , , on August 25, 2011 by glasganon

The Hotel was only ever referred to as “The Hotel” – the reason for this is supposedly that it was the most lavish, most important hotel in the entire city; however, it’s more likely because a cliqueish cabal obsessed with the building wanted to give it special airs and reverence. What is true is that each generation knew the hotel by a different name, as it was renamed and rebranded a handful of times throughout its life – the supposed reason for that is another story entirely, an unsettling tale of rumours and legend that drags together many of the eccentricities and anomalies of Glasgow’s bloody history that people have long believed were just disparate, isolated incidents. That story is plagued by misinformation and misinterpretation, so for just now, we will focus on The Hotel itself.

The Hotel lay in the heart of the city for over 150 years, and in its heyday, it was a very popular spot – but time took its toll on the establishment, and in its final years, many felt it had lost most of its glamour and sparkle. The rooms of the hotel were very reasonably priced considering its location – on one of the biggest and busiest streets in the city, literally only a few feet from the entrance to the Glasgow Underground subway system. Its rooms were modestly decorated, its facilities spartan and its food servicable, and as a result, the hotel came to enjoy a large clientele for short-stay visits.

The Hotel had one particularly special group of repeat clients over its history – the Guides, a handful of people who may be unkindly (but perhaps not unfairly) labelled a cult. The Guides were initially a Christian temperance group formed in the late 1800s, who met inside the hotel every few weeks for social gatherings and talks on the temperance movement – most of the material that documents their existence comes from newspaper articles kept at the Mitchell Library and the University of Glasgow Library, though some unsavory suggestions about the Guides’ practices is brought up in correspondences between the staff of the hotel and the city council offices. Just before the turn of the century, the group’s structure radically changed – many members stopped attending the gatherings (with more than a few disappearing altogether), and a rigid hierarchy began to emerge, with one woman, Anna Napier, as its defacto leader. The Guides had become far more than just a social group, but exactly what it had become was not documented, as the group no longer welcomed outsiders and did not advertise or report in the newspapers after 1892.

The Guides did, however, keep records of some of their activities – written inside a single Gideon Bible that was kept inside a certain room of The Hotel. The Guides made some arrangement with the Hotel’s proprietors in the last decade of the 1800s to the effect that only they were allowed to use that particular room, and it is only due to the descendants of those proprietors that we even know of the continued existence of the Guide’s and their altered Bible. Indeed, many former employees of The Hotel mentioned that the room continued to see use up until recently, which suggests that the Guides exist in some form still – it has been suggested that this contemporary group is anything from a Wiccan coven to a new sect with religious tenets founded on the altered Bible itself. The room that the Guides supposedly used seems to change depending on who is asked: there is little consensus.

The only information gleaned from the Bible comes from the reports of former employees of The Hotel, who may have glanced at it while changing the room’s linens. These reports include mentions of the Drowning Chapel; the Gorbal plague cart; the Galvanic Angel; the false saint; the river under the Bridge of Sighs; the Lady Love Well; the High Street bone railway; the Panopticon Experiments; and the Milk of Mary. Many of these particular phrases are corroborated amongst several different people’s accounts, though what each of them actually are tends to vary wildly, leading to the conclusion that urban legends and Chinese-whispers have long since atrophied any usable accounts of the full contents of the Guide’s altered Bible.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to check the Bible for oneself. The Hotel is gone now; ripped down and smashed to pieces as of June of this year, with new city-center residential developments and a shopping center being built atop it: rumourmongers are quick to theorise that it is no coincidence that the Hotel was demolished just as Glasgow’s strange phenomena were gaining more widespread attention. The whereabouts of the Bible are unknown: even prior to the Hotel’s destruction, members of staff at the Hotel were unable to definitively locate either the room the Guides used, nor the bible it supposedly housed. Having checked every Gideon Bible inside the hotel, I can confirm not one contained any of the Guides’ records.