Horror stories of city ghosts and broonies are to strike fear into residents brave enough to take on a lunchtime lecture.
The darker side of Dundee is to be revealed at a talk next month featuring some of the worst aspects of local history from witches burned at the stake to dragons eating a farmer’s daughters.
Erin Farley, 31, is staging the talk at Glasite Hall on King Street, and told the Tele of a selection of the area’s gory past plus the myths and mysteries around Dundee and Angus.
She said: “The talk I am giving is about the folklore in the area and includes ghosts and broonies plus witches and dragons.
“The dragon story, as legend goes, is from the Strathmartine area of the town.
“The story is that a farmer with nine daughters sent them one by one to get water from a well and they kept going missing. So he eventually went himself and discovered they had all been killed and eaten by the dragon guarding the well.
“One of the girls had a boyfriend called Martin, who was a blacksmith, and when he heard the news of the killings he attacked the dragon, chased it with his hammer and eventually killed it in what is now the Baldragon area.
“Local legend goes that Strathmartine was named after him for slaying the dragon.”
Erin, who is the local history officer for Leisure and Culture Dundee, has also told the story of Jocky Barefoot, a messenger boy who broke a branch on the Errol of Beardie and was hanged for it.
And the story goes that Jocky’s ghost wanders about at night around Finavon.
Erin also revealed rumours that the Dundee Youth Hostel in the High Street is haunted but couldn’t elaborate on the ghosts living there.
She will discuss broonies on the night, however, otherwise known as a household spirit from British folklore.
Erin explained: “The broonies that I will talk about are like the house elves in the Harry Potter books. They are little spirit ceatures and they attach themselves to a family or to a particular house and are usually quite helpful.
“They are supernatural creatures and as long as you treat them well, help with the housework and put out a bowl of milk or water for them then they are fine.
“But you cross them at your peril. If you get on the wrong side of a broonie it all goes horribly wrong.
“One house servant in the Claypotts part of Dundee is said to have not impressed with her work and got a thrashing with a flail made of straw. These and other weapons were quite common in houses back then.
“But the broonie was furious, thrashed her and then stormed out the house several hundred years ago.”
Erin also outlined the story of Dundee witch Grizel Jaffrey being burned at the stake in 1669 and when her son was sailing into the port on the very day of her execution he asked what the smell was about.
She said: “When he was told that his mum was being burned as a witch he apparently turned his ship around and never returned to Dundee.”
The talk starts on Thursday, February 6 at 1pm, in Glasite Hall. It’s free to enter but a donation of £1.50 is suggested to cover the cost of refreshments.