Edinburgh Ghost Tours
Best of Edinburgh Attractions
Edinburgh Ghost Tours
Full moon over Edinburgh
So, you don't believe in ghosts, ghouls, poltergeists and other things of the night?
Well, as reputedly one of the most haunted places on earth, Edinburgh is more than capable of giving your nerves a serious run for their money!
Skeleton on tomb
From atmospheric Greyfriars Kirkyard, where innumerable visitors claim to have been attacked by the malevolent MacKenzie Poltergeist, to the ghosts of Mary King's Close and ghouls that haunt the subterranean underbelly of the Old Town where thousands died of the plague, the rich history of Edinburgh is often dark, brutal, mysterious and terrifying.
Edinburgh Castle from Greyfriars Kirkyard
Tortures, hangings, untimely and grisly deaths, bodysnatchers, witches burned at the stake and public executions are just some of the reasons why so many troubled souls fail to make it to the after-life and find themselves trapped instead as spectres, condemned to exist as ghostly echoes from the past, whose influence is now felt by way of supernatural force.
The Covenanters Prison at Greyfriars Kirkyard
Following the Battle of Bothwell Bridge on 22 June 1679, around 1,200 defeated supporters of the National Covenant (the Covenanters) were held by Government forces for over four months in open conditions and without shelter at Greyfriars Kirkyard (in the area shown in the picture above).
During that time each man was allowed only four ounces of bread a day. Some died, others were executed a few escaped and others were released after pledging allegiance to the crown. The 257 who were left were sentenced to transportation to the colonies and were despatched by ship from Leith in November 1679. However, nearly all were drowned when the ship sank off the Orkney Islands to the north of Scotland.
The MacKenzie Mausoleum
Home of a malevolent poltergeist
During the 19th century medical science was advancing at an amazing pace. The demand for bodies for dissection by the eager medical students of Edinburgh University could not keep up with supply.
Angel of death
Good money was therefore made available for corpses that could be used for this purpose. As a result, unscrupulous characters took to robbing freshly dug graves to sell the bodies for this purpose.
Grave protected by metal grilles
In response families who could afford it sought to protect the graves of their newly departed with heavy stone slabs or metal grilles, such as is shown above.
Light striking a tree in Canongate Kirkyard
Watchtowers were also built in some burial grounds where night-watchmen could stand guard.
Interesting headstones abound in the many churchyards of Edinburgh and often these give a fascinating insight into the lives and occupations of the characters of the time.
Spooky nautical gravestone
Inscription on gravestone
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