Annan’s dark past is about to be unearthed with the return of Mostly Ghostly’s Dark Tales of Old Annan tour, featuring a special collaboration with Annan Museum. The tour, created and led by award-winning storytellers Mostly Ghostly, will guide guests around the historic town of Annan, exploring grim and ghastly tales from its long, colourful past. Setting the scene for an evening of chilling tales, a fascinating tour of Annan Museum’s intriguing new exhibition: Dead and the Undead in Annan: Bodysnatching, Vampires and More, will be presented by Museum Curator, Judith Hewitt. From there, the Mostly Ghostly team will embark on a storytelling adventure around Annan’s historic streets and graveyards.
Telling us more about the events, Mostly Ghostly Founder Kathleen Cronie enthused:
“It’s a joy to be working in partnership with our friends at Annan Museum. Together, we have created a unique experience, exploring the hidden histories and haunting tales of Annandale, giving guests the opportunity to get up close and personal to history. We are delighted to present this fantastic offering to visitors and local folk alike, discovering thought-provoking artefacts in the museum’s collection, before joining the Mostly Ghostly team for an unforgettable tour around the town.”
Guests are invited to delve into Annan’s murky, mysterious past, meandering through courtyard and close, kirkyard and wynd, where they will despair at an ancient curse laid upon the Bruce clan, recoil at the legend of a plague-bearing stranger, and shudder at the untimely death of a local minister… Woven between the histories, the team encourage their intrepid guests to feel the chill as they reveal haunting happenings from this historically important Borders town.
There is one wee street in Annan, whose name hints at links with one of Scottish history’s most cruel and notorious characters – the murderer William Hare, one half of Edinburgh’s deadly ‘bodysnatching’ duo – Burke and Hare. Hare is best known in our region for a memorable stop-over in Dumfries, where his presence fuelled the town’s largest riot, but what, if any, connection does he have to Annan?
Telling us more, Team Member John Hill said:
“Hare’s Den, a group of cottages just off the High Street, has its name embedded in local folklore. The story goes that Hare stopped briefly in Annan on his flight across the border. We have long held a fascination for the grim story of Burke and Hare, particularly Hare’s impact on our region, and relish the opportunity to explore his life and crimes in the place that bears his name.”
Terrifying in another way, is the hair-raising legend of the Annan Vampire, as Kathleen reveals:
“One story that never fails to set folk’s teeth on edge, is Annan’s legendary clash with the undead! Way back in the 12th century, the infamous Annan Vampire wreaked havoc upon the town, unleashing a devastating plague, and instilling fear and unrest in the local population. Initially, this may sound like a far-fetched tale, but gains a degree of credibility when you consider the key eye-witness was a monk, whose account was recorded by the chronicler, William of Newburgh – is it more than just folklore?”
Sharing more about Annan Museum’s fascinating new exhibition and their partnership with Mostly Ghostly, Museums Access Officer Tom Hughes said:
“The exhibition ‘Dead and the Undead in Annan’ explores the darker side of history – for there is no light without dark and there is, sadly, no life without death. Ahead of the town trail, curator Judith Hewitt will guide visitors around the highlights including a Victorian hearse, mourning costumes, and an intriguing device to deter grave robbers.
The museum service is delighted to continue our partnership with Mostly Ghostly, the experts in the region’s dark history. Their captivating storytelling is featured in film within the exhibition evoking the eerie atmosphere of curious legends from the town’s past.”
Summing up, Kathleen said:
“We love creating enthralling experiences for our guests, surprising them with stories embedded in our local environment, whose echoes still have the power to reach out and touch us in a most affecting way. We are passionate about promoting Dumfries and Galloway, its people, culture and curiosities and feel very proud to be working with Annan Museum, creatively connecting visitors and local explorers to the past. We hope these events will inspire a desire to discover more about Annan and look forward to welcoming our guests!”