Halloween special: Ghosts from the 1970’s

Portlaw Tannery makes a good setting for a ghost story, but there have not been reported any supernatural appearances. Yet. As you already know from my previous Halloween post, another building in the premises isn’t exactly ghost-free. I could go there again and perhaps get some material for another story, but… my instincts tell me to stay away from the Mayfield House and explore the factory buildings instead. As there are no known ghosts, I have to make up a ghost story myself.

Early in the morning I walked around the factory looking for inspiration.

Many things seemed suspicious there, including a tailless pheasant. Even the horse found him strange. Was he a pheasant at all? I started getting nervous.

I entered the ground floor and found a burned car. It made more sense than the tailless pheasant. Portlaw Tannery is a favorite place for drifting.

I kept walking. This derelict building reminded me of something long forgotten…

When I walked out of the building on the other side, I saw THIS, and everything clicked – a whole building, its empty windows, repetitive architectural elements, holes, shadows and reflections – everything reminded me of Atari Breakout in black & white: the ghosts of Space Invaders have stolen all the colors!

I decided to walk to the top floor. May be I can find more evidence there.

The top floor on my side of the factory has no roof anymore, and it looks like a forest. The other side still has a roof which makes it more dangerous as the roof can collapse at any moment.

The floors are covered with the THINGS that fell down from the ceilings and walls. The weeds are creeping in from outside.

Found some evidence of the stolen red and orange color…

… and some yellow too!

Found an evil face. This could be a ghost that escaped from Pac Man

I could use an elevator, but the shaft is empty all the way down.

These used to be the elevator cabin doors.

I press the shutter and hurry away. This picture looks somewhat disturbing… like a Bosch painting rather than computer game…

The walls are tagged by artistically inclined Zombies.

THINGS keep falling from the ceiling and the above floors. Dripping water is making sad ghostly sounds.

Because of that, I am afraid to walk across the open space, and prefer to stay near the wall. I can see some photographs on the green board on the other side, but no way I would walk across.

All of a sudden, a piece of styrofoam insulation fell down from the ceiling, but remained in the air…

Another hanging piece of armature began rotating…

I hurried down the stairs only to face a black Pac Man ghost and many other strange faces staring at me from the walls.

Another floor. Is it a Star Raiders ship up there, collided with the wall?

Finally I am on the ground floor, but on the wrong side.

I am trying to get out, but all the exits are overgrown with weeds. I think I have found an abandoned Death Race car there…

I finally see the light.

Have to get out before the Space Invaders regroup and attack me in this real life game field.

Found a black angel feather… Well, may be not…

The drifting is on. Sometimes the tires blow up, and the ‘feather’ is probably just a part of the tire. Nothing to worry about.

In the cloud of smoke, a passenger is taking selfies on the go. No one has noticed the drama unfolding in the factory building.

Galaxian ship has been taken down…

A veteran PC didn’t have a chance…

And what about the cunning Space Invaders? They changed identity and went underground. Literally.

Thank you for visiting scary places and reading my 70’s video games inspired story πŸ™‚

Have a happy and safe Halloween!


    1. Thank you, Andrea! I have to confess that I went there a couple of years ago, not this Halloween. I planned to go again and explore some more rooms, but it never happened.

    1. Thank you Otto. I was hunting for details that could be related to my video games story. I wish I went with a friend – the place is falling apart, and quite hazardous. Needed a backup πŸ™‚

  1. Amazing the way images found in nature can take on a certain life of their own and inspire frightening tales. Really top notch photography – several of your shots could rival any painting by a modern master.

    1. Haha, thanks, I guess the decay did the painting. Our modern materials have a short life. Thank you for being brave πŸ™‚

  2. Portlaw Tannery is definitely inspiring ~ wonderful photos. There is something about an old, decrepit building that can get an imagination flowing. Back to a time when it was new and full of energy versus the sad state it is in now. When nature begins to take over a building, there is a cool transformation you’ve captured in both photos and words. And I like the sentence “Dripping water is making sad ghostly sounds…” this is exactly what would be so cool to listen to while walking around πŸ™‚ One big highlight for me was your shots of the cars, a bit of movement makes them surreal to match your visit πŸ™‚ Cheers, and Happy Halloween!

    1. Thank you! Dripping water can make all sorts of very expressive creepy sounds πŸ™‚ Sad that such a building is left to the elements. We people abandon things too easy.
      Happy Halloween!

  3. Inese – your stories are the best! Great blog – totally enjoyed it! And the old building images were pretty impressive too.

  4. Inese, this is inspired writing – wonderfully gripping and spine-tingling! I became not only carried away by the story, accompanied by the brilliant atmospheric photos but also was concerned for your safety! Love the references to the video games and naturally incoporated!

    1. Thank you, Annika! The graffiti inspired me πŸ™‚ Thought it would be a tribute to the early gaming era. Those characters were creepy as far as I remember πŸ™‚

    1. It is a little bit scary at times, especially when a heavier object drops down from the ceiling and makes a splash πŸ™‚

  5. Oh this is absolutely fabulous, Inessa. You are so brave! And talented… I love that story – though fortunately it ended on a more upbeat, less gory note than many of those 1970s games:))

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ I shared the ‘cat’s eye’ reflector picture story in the comments. I have it for a couple of decades. This picture and the Space Invaders graffiti gave me the idea to write a video game ghost story πŸ™‚

  6. That place is so creepy, Inese. I don’t think I’d step foot in there, especially knowing the ceiling or floor may collapse. Any photo with depth, long perspectives, and lightless spaces, just gave me the shivers. Great post for Halloween.

  7. Amazing chronicle, Inese. This was an architectural soulless body, and your vision has giving to it a ghost, a soul. And that is enough to give life to it. Loved so much the light in “Have to get out before the Space Invaders regroup and attack me in this real life game field.” and the objects like dead robots. Kind regards from far away ^_^

    1. Thank you for reading the post, Francis! I enjoyed writing it πŸ™‚ Finding the graffiti, and later the ‘murdered’ computer monitor, gave me the idea. I had the final ‘ space invader’ picture for almost two decades, and put it to use πŸ™‚ I like the results πŸ™‚ The place didn’t look that scary because I was busy looking for the ‘evidence’ I needed. Just enjoyed myself πŸ™‚

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