The Haunting Presence Of The Gurning Man

Gurning Man

Making its appearance in Glasgow’s Crosshill area between 1976 and 1979, few ghost stories evoke fear like those of the Gurning Man.

Said to have only appeared to females, the apparition, dressed in tight dark clothes with a twitching body and menacing grimace, struck fear in those who saw it.

Read on to learn more about the Gurning Man, the terrifying experiences of those who encountered it, and if this ghostly, bizarre figure ever appeared again.

What Was The Gurning Man?

According to eyewitness accounts, Gurning Man appeared human-like and had a solid body, unlike other spirits.

Some victims say Gurning Man looked like a “strange, agitated figure…he appeared to be a man in his 50s, wearing a black leotard, nervously moving about under a streetlight.” (GlasgowLive).

Many of these witness accounts say the being made snorting and grunting noises. They also claimed it moved agitatedly, had a contorted, pained expression, and grinned like a maniac.

Soon after appearing, Gurning Man would seemingly melt into thin air in seconds.

Where was the Gurning Man spotted?

Most eyewitness reports of the creature came from Glasgow’s Crosshill area. Glasgow residents encountered the scary being in the streets and their homes. Most sightings occurred between 9 PM and 4 AM.

Glasgow police received 17 reports of sightings of the Gurning Man in the three years. 11 of these were street sightings and it appeared in six Scottish households.

Scary Gurning Man Encounters

The two friends

Two teenage girls heading home after a party were the first to encounter the terrifying figure.

Though it was relatively dark outside, the full moon provided ample light. As they neared their homes, they noticed a strange, horrific male figure standing under a street light.

Dressed in tight black clothing, it moved around nervously. As they approached, a sudden sense of intense fear overcame both girls, and they saw the figure’s face – a contorted mixture of grimace and pain. It started making strange noises, causing them to flee.

Once they were safe, one of the girls turned around and saw that Gurning Man had vanished.

The sleeping housewife

A few days later, less than 100 metres from where the two girls saw the ghost, a woman encountered the creature in her bedroom!

Fast asleep, she awoke after hearing a grunting noise in their bedroom. Thinking it was her husband snoring strangely, the woman lifted her head from her pillow, only to realise that the snorting came from the end of the bed.

Scared, she peered towards where the unusual sound came from only to see a man, with a maniacal look on his face and rubbing his chest, staring back at her. Terrified, she screamed, waking her husband, who immediately switched on the bedroom window. There was nothing at the end of the bed – once again, the figure rapidly vanished into thin air.

The old lady

Another eyewitness account comes from an old lady who stayed in the area.

The woman, putting the milk bottles at her front door early one morning, peered outside into the early morning darkness. She saw a strange figure standing in the street, dressed in tight-fitting dark clothing and agitatedly moving in one spot.

The next minute, the scary, agitated figure had disappeared.

Recent Sightings Of The Gurning Man

A young woman claimed she saw the scary figure in September 2017 on her way home from friends. This time, she saw Gurning Man in Queens Park, adjacent to Crosshill, where the initial reports of its sightings occurred.

She was walking on the pavement when she saw the being between two parked cars. Like the original eyewitness accounts of 50 years ago, the young woman claimed to have encountered an old man aged between 70 and 90. The figure was dressed in dark clothes, flailed his arms at her, made a bizarre snorting noise, and had a demonic sneer on his face.

The second most recent sighting of Gurning Man in Glasgow occurred in Queens Park. A group of teenage girls noticed a strange movement from behind trees in the distance. When they looked toward the commotion, they saw an older man with a contorted facial expression, wildly rubbing his chest, staring back at them, and making a strange grunting noise.

No other reported sightings have ever been made again of the Gurning Man…


Which other well-known ghosts have haunted Scotland?

Here is a list of the five most well-known ghosts of Scotland:

  1. The Apprentice: The young apprentice who carved the famous Apprentice Pillar of the Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian was murdered by his teacher. Witness accounts say the young man’s ghost can be heard or seen in this famous chapel.
  2. Lilias Drummond: The ghost of Lilias, who died in 1601, reportedly carved her name into the main bedroom’s windowsill on the wedding night of her husband and his second wife. The carving can still be seen today on the windowsill of Fyvie Castle.
  3. The Monster: The ghost of Thomas Lyon-Bowes, who was said to be severely deformed and was born and died on the same day, reportedly still haunts the hallways of Glamis Castle.
  4. The dead sailors of Sandwood Bay: Many sailors died in shipwrecks before the lighthouse at Cape Wrath was built in 1828. It’s said that the ghosts of sailors often come knocking on the windows of the Sandwood Bay Cottage.
  5. Nuckelavee the horse demon: Known as the Devil of the Sea, this horse-like demon haunted Orkney for ages. Said to have a head 10 times the size of a man’s and with a breath like a demon, Nuckelavee was blamed by many residents of Orkney for failed harvests, severe droughts, and livestock that drowned in the sea.

Which are the most haunted locations in Scotland?

These five locations are said to be the most haunted in the entire Scotland:

  • Rosslyn Chapel: This beautiful, five-centuries-old chapel in the village of Roslin has had its fair share of visitors reporting odd happenings and vanishing apparitions. Many people have also reported running into a knight, who died in a battle in 1303, who rides around the area on horseback.
  • Cawdor Castle: With its long history of paranormal occurrences, this age-old castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman who many believe was the daughter of the Earl of Cawdor, who reportedly fell to her death from one of the castle’s windows.
  • Stirling Castle: Haunted by the well-known Highland Ghost (dressed in traditional Scottish attire who vanishes before visitors’ eyes), Stirling Castle is also home to Scotland’s famous Green Lady. There have also been reports of Queen Mary’s ghost roaming the grounds.
  • Dryburgh Abbey Hotel: Probably one of the most haunted hotels in Scotland, visitors to Dryburgh Abbey Hotel have reported numerous paranormal sightings and strange occurrences. The Grey Lady, a young woman who committed suicide after having an affair with a monk, also roams the hotel and its grounds.
  • Edinburgh Vaults: These centuries-old vaults in South Bridge have a long and tormented history. Some eyewitness reports tell of visitors who have been attacked by a vicious demon. The vaults also house a shadow man in a mirror in one of its many rooms.

Final Thoughts

The Gurning Man was one of the most terrifying ghosts to haunt Scotland in recent history. Appearing to only women in the three years between 1976 and 1979, the apparition left many scared to be out in the streets late at night.

Despite being seen in the same area over three years, no one, including the police, could ever determine what Gurning Man was or if it existed, leaving this horror story to become somewhat of an urban legend. Yet, if so many saw the creature it must have existed…

Make sure you visit the area on your next ghost-hunting expedition to see if you can spot this terrifying figure.

Use SpiritShack‘s range of ghost-hunting equipment, like our EVP recorders, night vision cameras, and motion detectors, to ensure you capture all the excitement and details of your experience.


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!