Back in 1963, the BBC sent reporter Fyfe Robertson to the ruins of Broomhill House in Larkhall to investigate the claims that it is haunted by a ghost known as the Black Lady. They have enlisted the help of a local ghost hunter to exorcise the spirit.
The black and white clip which has been dug out of the BBC archive shows Fyfe arriving at the ruins in Lanarkshire and telling viewers, “I have an appointment at this ruin with a man with a strange hobby. He exorcises ghosts, that’s to say he ends their existence – if existence is the right word to use about ghosts… if there are ghosts.”
Fyfe is meeting Tom Robertson – no relation – a 26 year old steel worker and part-time exorcist. Fyfe tells us, “he’s going to try to exorcise the ghost that’s long been said to haunt this place, the ghost of the Black Lady.”
The host of the clip then tells us a little about the haunted history of Broomhill House, which dates back to the 15th century. He said, “in 1837 it was bought by James Bruce, a native of these parts who’d come home from India with a fortune. Some time after he settled here when he was already a public figure and had become engaged to a Glasgow girl of good family, the village of Larkhall was excited by the unexpected arrival of a young and gorgeously dressed Indian woman. She was seen about this place for a time and then she just disappeared, but nobody saw her leave and as time passed and ghostly stories circulated, the rumour grew that she was James Bruce’s legal but unwanted Indian wife and that she haunts this place because she was murdered here.”
We then meet Tom, who has two colleagues to help him in the first part of his investigation. They are there to help him rule out the possibility that there are natural explanations for the haunting. This includes the use of a metal detector to locate pipes, which Fyfe tells us are sometimes the cause of “strange unpipe-like sounds.”
At the time of the interview, Tom had investigated more than 300 cases across Scotland over the last seven years, but says that only 13 of these cases involved a genuine spirit. The others he put down to malobservation, faulty plumbing or over-active imaginations. He told Fyfe that one case he investigated was caused by snoring pigeons that were roosting in the walls of the house.
Tom told the interviewer, “my fee is £2.10 an hour for exorcising a ghost and I don’t get paid until the six months lapses and if the ghost doesn’t return within six months will I receive my fee then but if it does return will I go back to the job for nothing.”