Douglas Payne’s Obituary in the Lanark Oracle, June 2016
[ Lanark Intellectual Found Dead in Woods ]
Mr. Douglas Payne, 49, a local intellectual, was found deceased in an area of Lanark woodland on Sunday 19th June, 2016.
His body was found near a waterfall, showing no signs of a struggle or foul play.
The coroner reports that Payne had not eaten for days prior to his death, whose cause is most likely exposure and starvation.
Several kinds of benzodiazepine were found in Payne’s blood; they are not thought to contribute to his passing, although doctors admit they may have weakened his immune system.
Local residents mention Payne taking frequent trips into the woods, many encountering him on its footpaths while walking their dogs.
Payne had been renting a bungalow on Dovecot Lane at the time of his death.
Neighbours reported the ‘odd hours’ that Payne kept, often disappearing for days and coming home at 4 o’clock in the morning.
Payne was a celebrated, if eccentric, figure in the town: he once wrote the Lanark Oracle’s horoscope column, enjoyed brief fame as an interviewee in a nationwide documentary on local mythologies and was well-known for his sturdy boots and colourful ties.
Mrs Marjorie McGill, proprietor of the High Street Tea-Room, recalls how Payne was a beloved, if difficult regular, who “never ordered off the menu” but maintained “hearty banter” with his fellow diners, on topics ranging from “fungi to aliens”.
He made a living doing all sorts of odd jobs over the years, from landscaping gardens to cleaning windows; his true passion, however, was writing nonfiction articles on the Lanark area--occasionally, albeit rarely, such articles made it as far as the Glasgow Herald.
Along with Mr. Jonathan Aldridge, Payne was a founding member of the now-defunct Lanark Neon Inquisitions Panel, set up to investigate unusual light phenomena and ‘otherterrestrial’ encounters across the town and its rural surroundings.
Payne is survived by his sister, Martha, who currently resides in an unnamed specialist institution in Glasgow, apparently suffering from severe and long-term psychological trauma.
Country records show Payne’s parents, also residents of Lanark, died of natural and accidental causes while Payne was growing up.
No trace of other relatives has been found.
A short memorial service will be held at St. Kertigen’s Cemetery this coming Friday, the 24th June. All welcome.