Many of us have heard of Edinburgh's spooky dark, subterranean Closes and sinister history, but Scotland has a lot more just waiting to be discovered. So, if your taste runs to the supernatural, paranormal, or just plain macabre, you need to stop off in Dundee - and let the knowledgeable folk at Dark Dundee be your guides. They're my guests today...
Thank you for letting me talk a little bit about my website on your blog – it’s an honour and a privilege to be able to share with you. Dark Dundee is run by myself (Stewart Heaton), and Helen-Louise Murphy. Together, we scour the annals of our city’s dark history, uncovering its devilishly morbid past. Dark Dundee is the only web-based resource of its kind that faces Dundee’s blood-soaked history head on. When it comes to dark and supernatural history, Dundee is often overlooked, but we have our fair share of death, mayhem and carnage in our timeline too!
Once known as the place of “jute, jam and journalism”, Dundee is now a thriving medical, digital and cultural community. Helen-Louise and myself run a web and graphic design business called Blue Lagoon Designs, but we also have a passion for local history (more importantly, the darker side of history). With such a wealth of stories, myths and legends right here on our own doorstep, we took the brave step to combine our two passions and launched our website www.darkdundee.co.uk.
We had no idea how quickly it would take off, and, within months, we were inundated with stories, requests, images and offers of help from all over the city. Our social media pages quickly began to swell as more and more people visited our website and shared our content. It was a really exciting start for us as we did not expect people to be so receptive as quickly as they were.
On our site, you can read about the days when our streets ran red with blood at the hands of Oliver Cromwell’s army, led by the ruthless General Monck and his marauding men. In 1651, they breached the town’s defending walls and overwhelmed the citizens with brutal and barbaric force. For three days, Monck’s men terrorised the town, killing without mercy before finally leaving with the lion’s share of Scotland’s wealth, which lay within the fortified walls of Dundee. Read more about this story on our website.
You may have heard of the Tay Rail Disaster – the largest rail tragedy of its kind at the time in the world and still hailed today as one of the worst engineering disasters in history. On a particularly stormy night in December of 1879, the massive structure gave way to the elements and plummeted into the murky depths of the raging river Tay, taking with it the lives of every passenger on board. A lengthy search ensued, but some of the bodies were never recovered. The full details of the horrific disaster are here on our site, and it is a tragedy that is still felt in the hearts of the people of Dundee today.
Cold-blooded murders happen all over the world, and Dundee is no exception. From historic murders to some that are more recent, Dark Dundee explores the horrifying and public murder cases that have beset our city. Jack the Ripper suspect, William Bury murdered his wife Ellen in the city of Dundee in 1889. Was the Wife O’ Denside a stone-cold killer, or just an innocent victim? We’ll let you be the judge of that. From infanticide to poisoning, Dundee has plenty of dark offerings, and where better to tell them than on our website.
Not only do we look at murders, we also explore the supernatural side of Dundee. From witchcraft and sorcery to ghosts, myths and monsters, Dark Dundee has it all. Read all about Charmaine’s Bigfoot sighting near Carmylie, by Dundee, or indulge in the legend of the Nine Maidens, where Martin is alleged to have slain a ravenous serpent as revenge for eating the farm maids. The legend of the white lady of Balgay still leaves people fearful to cross the infamous bridge at night, even now, in 2015, for fear of her wrath. Grissell Jaffray, Dundee’s legendary witch, was burned on a pyre in the town in 1669, and was the last person to be burned in Dundee for the crime of witchcraft. With the records destroyed by fire, Grissell’s charges are now lost to time. Hop aboard the famous RRS Discovery and step back in time to visit the ghosts of its past and take a virtual tour of the deck whilst you’re there.
Dark Dundee offers history like you’ve never heard it before – a city that has risen from the ashes more than once, and continues to thrive, grow and reinvent itself as a centre for culture, trade and discovery. The Dark Dundee website blends fact with fiction by way of our free e-books and our online decision-making game whereby you control the outcome of events as situations unfold before you. We have lots more planned in the future for Dark Dundee, including walking tours which will hopefully start in the Autumn, and a potential 2016 calendar, filled with facts, dates and figures about our city and its rich, vibrant, and often bloody history.
Because of our backgrounds in design and public engagement, we have been able to create all of the visual content you see on our website ourselves, from our website graphics to our videos, book covers and promotional materials. We keep in touch with our fans via our website as well as our social media, so please keep in touch with us on Facebook and on Twitter, and be sure to check out our videos on YouTube. If you are ever in the city, give us a shout and we’ll take you on a journey that’s sure to send a shiver down your spine. Perhaps you should do a bit of research into your own village, town or city…there’s bound to be a skeleton or two just waiting to be unearthed!
For now, I’ll leave you with the link to the promotional video for the website. Thanks so much for reading!