There’s no doubt Edinburgh’s hidden underground vaults, ancient landmarks, chilling graveyards and eerie alleyways have played a formidable role in its reputation for haunted locations.
The city is steeped in history, mystery and a big dose of supernatural sightings and spooky encounters. Ghost tours, underground vault tours, ghost walks, and haunted places await those brave enough to explore the dark side!
Haunted Edinburgh: A Glimpse into the Past
To fully grasp the eerie atmosphere of Edinburgh, it’s essential to delve into its rich and dark history. Over the centuries, this city has endured wars, plagues, and political intrigues, making it a fertile breeding ground for supernatural tales.
Edinburgh Castle, perched high atop an extinct volcano, is a magnet for paranormal activity, witnessing countless battles, attacks and sieges. It’s said to be haunted by all manner of ghosts including the headless drummer boy from the 1600’s who supposedly heralds impending doom.
The cramped narrow streets and secret corners of the Old Town hide stories of murder, treachery, and unsolved mysteries. The labyrinth of underground vaults and Greyfriars kirkyard are hotspots for ghostly sightings and creepy confrontations. Ghost hunters flock to the capital, curious to discover its eerie past.
Ghost Tours and Walks of Edinburgh: A Spine-Chilling Experience
Those seeking a firsthand encounter with Edinburgh’s spooky residents can choose from a variety of ghost tours. These tours mix history with the macabre, giving a sneak peek into the city’s most haunted locations.
Mercat Tours are award-winning storytellers who delve deep into the history of Edinburgh’s supernatural occurrences. Choose from the Doomed, Dead & Buried Tour or an Evening of Ghosts & Ghouls. Hear grisly tales of witchcraft, torture and restless spirits. Venture through mediaeval closes that descend into the haunted Blair Street Underground Vaults. The cloaked storyteller leads you through dimly lit caverns, recounting stories that seem too horrific to be true – and yet, they all are.
The Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour is the UK’s only comedy-horror theatre experience. Jump aboard the classic double-decker bus transformed into a travelling haunted house and be entertained by a costumed guide. You’ll visit the city’s most infamous haunted spots that lurk between Calton Hill, the Grassmarket and Royal Mile.
For those who prefer a slower pace, a ghost walk with City of the Dead Tours is a great choice. Get a double dose of fear as you visit Edinburgh’s most haunted graveyard at Greyfriars Kirk, and journey through the South Bridge Vaults. The City of the Dead guides are best known for their captivating stories, you’ll hear tales of murder, betrayal, and restless spirits. Bringing the city’s history to life in the most chilling way possible.
Edinburgh Vaults Tour: A Journey Beneath the Streets
Beneath the lively streets of Edinburgh, there’s a whole secret world known as the Edinburgh Vaults. These subterranean chambers were built in the late 18th century to house businesses and storage, but they soon turned into a den of crime and poverty.
The South Bridge Vaults are mentioned on Most Haunted Live as one of the scariest places on Earth. Auld Reekie Tours descend into these vaults. Hear all about the infamous Burke and Hare murders and discover the characters who stalked the streets of Edinburgh. Hear stories of murder, suffering and the persecution of witches. Let your imagination run wild in this damp dimly lit space where things often go bump in the night. Perhaps not for the faint of heart.
Mary King’s Close is another mysterious labyrinth of underground streets and rooms, sealed off due to the plague in the 17th century. The True Crimes Tour delves into the dark themes of eviction, addiction, and the absence of the law to safeguard residents. The residents of these streets witnessed real-life hardships over the centuries. Uncover the severity of the witch trials and the fascinating character connection behind The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Haunted Places in Edinburgh: Where Spirits Roam Free
Beyond the tours and walks, Edinburgh is a city teeming with haunted places igniting the imaginations of ghost and ghoul hunters. If you want to discover a few hot spots in your own time this short list of the most infamous places is a great starting point.
The West Bow House of Horrors in Victoria Street was the home of Thomas Weir, an affluent and well-respected local. A devout Scotsman and Presbyterian he often held large prayer sessions at his house. It came as a great shock to the entire city when he later confessed to being driven by Satan into a secret life of bestiality, incest, and witchcraft.
It was thought that Weir’s house was demolished, however recent evidence suggests it was incorporated into what is now the Quaker Meeting House. This might explain much of the paranormal activity that occurs there.
Greyfriars Kirkyard is the ancient cemetery and home to the infamous Mackenzie Poltergeist, said to be one of the most active and malevolent spirits in the city. George McKenzie was a barrister and responsible for the deaths of thousands of Covenanters.
His body rests in a large, black mausoleum, a fitting colour for a man who created so much misery during his lifetime. Many visitors to the cemetery have reported being shoved or hit when passing his mausoleum, some have even been knocked straight to the ground by the powerful ghost. Approach his tomb at your own risk.
Brodie’s Close in the Lawnmarket was home to the notorious figure William Brodie, known locally as “Deacon Brodie”. By day, he was a respected cabinet maker and city councillor, but by night he led a double life as a cunning thief and gambler. He broke into homes and businesses using keys he had crafted himself. Eventually, his secret life caught up with him, and he was hanged in 1788.
Brodie’s story served as an inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. Reports of him appearing in Brodie’s Close persist today. Many who encounter his spirit claim that a demonic, fire-breathing horse accompanies him as he strolls along.
Embrace the Eerie in Haunted Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s supernatural charm is a tribute to its incredible history and our never-ending love for the mysterious. Go ahead and step into the city’s dark corners where the boundary between the past and the paranormal coexist, and the lines blur between the living and the dead.
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