In 1954, Glasgow was the scene of a real-life vampire hunt.
The vampire hunt was eventually stopped by some of the area’s adults including school teachers, but not before it developed into a full-fledged hysteria that engulfed the whole of the UK. It was eventually concluded that American horror comics were corrupting the imaginations of the children and encouraging an unhealthy fear of the unknown so the Scottish government introduced the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act to the House of Commons in 1955 – that law is enforced to this day.
So what actually happened?
On September 23rd 1954, hundreds of children — ranging in ages from 4 to 14 — congregated in a local graveyard with a single purpose in mind — to kill the iron-toothed vampire who they believed had claimed the lives of two of their schoolmates.
Suspiciously, there were no missing children in Glasgow during that period.
Armed only with sharpened sticks and kitchen knives, they would continue patrolling through the broken gravestones of the old cemetery in search of an undead marauder who they believed was at least 7-feet tall and equipped with iron teeth, which it apparently used to consume the flesh of children.
This strange tale would come to light after a Police Officer named Alex Deeprose was summoned to investigate a disturbance in the crumbling Victorian cemetery [known as the Southern Necropolis] which was located on Glasgow’s Caledonia Road in the Gorbals area of the city – hence the name later given by the media to the hysteria that was amounting.
Nearby residents had phoned the local constabulary to report that the graveyard had inexplicably filled up with neighborhood kids. By late afternoon, scores of children had filled the graveyard, drawn there by an intoxicating rumor that started on the playground. The reportedly returned to the cemetery for the next 2 nights as well.
As mentioned before, comics were eventually blamed for the scale of the vampire hunting mob, however at that time there was another cause into consideration – parents would use a specific scary story to try and influence their kids. And it was believed that this urban legend might have contributed to the situation.
Her name was Jenny with the Iron Teeth, and she was the subject of a Scottish dialect poem called “Jenny wi the airn teeth.” The poem was told from the perspective of a mother who was trying to get her restless child to sleep. She tells the poor kid that Jenny would come after him and bite a chunk out of his side with her iron teeth before carting him off to her lair if he would not get to sleep. This poem was commonly recited in schools in the Gorbals area.