Bizarre Drowning Case, 1908

On 18th May, the body of a woman was sadly found in the River Clyde at Blantyre. As if this shock wasn’t bad enough for Blantyre residents, he reporters at the time went to great lengths to publish the state of decomposition, something I won’t do here.

From the description, approximate age and clothing described by reporters, a Mrs Mooney who lived in Bridgeton concluded it was her daughter, who had been missing for a year. And so, another of her daughters visited the morgue in Blantyre to identify the clothing, and recognising it as her sisters took it home, where the mother also confirmed it was her daughters. By this time the body had been buried.

That very evening, as the family sat down in their Bridgeton home to arrange a service of memorial, their sadness and grief turned to amazement and joy as the supposed deceased woman walked into their house! She had travelled from Cumnock to the family home to refute the belief that she had drowned. She had been living ‘away from her family’ for some time and had chosen at that time not to make contact.

‘Ah fair lost the sight o’ my eyes’, Mrs Mooney remarked to a reporter, “when she walked in tae the room withoot sayin’ a word. May other daughter had opened the door and ran off in fright.”

It transpired that the general description of the body and age was around the same as the returning woman and even the detail on her clothes were similar. The colour of her hair, shape of her hands and remarkably a small purse carried, all similar to the woman’s own.

It left the question, just who had drowned at Blantyre?

1897 Bothwell Castle River Clyde

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  1. I remember my grannie telling us stories in front of the fire, the room darkened but for a few candles as well, of those people who had literally come back from the grave to knock on the door of loved ones who similarly went into fright, some never talking again! My word, this story validates my grannie’s stories for me right enough.

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