SUPERNATURAL BERLIN # 04 – THE VIRGINIA DONS

Scottish Born hairdresser Frances McGilp has styled many prominent artists including Annie Lennox. She now lives and works in Berlin. However, as we’re about to hear, the ghosts of her native Glasgow have continued to haunt her. For Splendid Berlin she recounts a true tale of the unexplained…

Tobacco_ships_at_Glasgow

I have lived and worked in Berlin for the past year and a half after moving here from Scotland. My good friend Darren is the manager of an old and well established gay bar in the city centre of Glasgow, called Delmonicas.

Delmonicas is right in the heart of the old merchant city. It was where Glasgow made its money from tobacco lords. These men were responsible for transporting their wares from the Caribbean and North American Colonies. When I was back in Glasgow for the festive season, he said to me, “Frances, I swear on my family’s life – I’ve seen two ghosts!”

“Tell me more,” I replied, understandably intrigued.

delmonicascol

It was around 2.30 am and the bar had been closed for two hours. All the staff had left for the evening except Darren and Paul who works behind the bar. Paul was in the corner on the phone to an alarm company. Darren was on his mobile phone trying to get a taxi . “I looked up because I could see something moving out of the corner of my eye,” Darren told me.

“Coming up the stairs from the ladies and gents toilets in the basement was a man and a woman. She was walking in front as he followed behind. I looked at Paul who was still on the phone to the alarm company to see if he had noticed them. I was looking for reassurance before I questioned them, but his head was down and he was still talking. So I shouted to them ‘Excuse me! The bar is closed – you shouldn’t be here!’ I started walking over to them because they were ignoring me or didn’t seem to hear me. At this point they had stopped at the edge of the dance floor and were staring into the big loudspeakers that the DJ uses. I was just about to say something else to them when I noticed the strange clothes they had on. She was wearing a long pink dress with white flowers on it with a white fluffy underskirt trailing underneath it. She also wore glasses. He had on a long jacket and a hat. They both seemed in their mid fifties and in a strange way looked to be very kind and gentle people. At this point she did a little turn and he followed behind her. They then disappeared into the wall. They were gone. I shouted to Paul ‘Did you see that?’ He took his ear away from the phone and replied ‘see what?'”

It was over and done within seconds, Darren told me.

“Do you think they saw you?” I asked.

“No. They were oblivious to me being there.”

“Were you frightened?”

“Only once I realised what I had seen. I never slept that night. I wasn’t drunk and I didn’t take drugs. I saw them. You might think this is stupid but they were both like something out of an old western film. I swear I saw them!”

The Virginia Dons who would have grandly roamed the vicinity during this era, no doubt had a touch of Wild West glamour about them. I think what he saw was a glimmer in time, something that must be an honour to witness. One thing I can say about Darren is he doesn’t make things up. He’s not a drama queen and doesn’t seek attention or sensationalism. He’s not that type. When Darren told his staff what had happened the night before, a few confirmed his story with various tales of sightings and touchings, but nothing as vivid as what he had witnessed. Darren found out later that a door, bricked up during renovation, was located where the ghosts had vanished.

t Tobacco Production, Virginia, 1700s Colonial Williamsburg Foundation