Edinburgh has more to offer other than the imposing Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. The City is a bewildering mix of history, classic buildings, world-renowned educational institutions and a rowdy, nightlife. While on the subject of nightlife it also has a remarkable variety and number of dark and ghoulish goings on.
Ghosts, stories of ghost and other paranormal activities – both old and some relatively new – abound in this city. It must have something to do with the city’s narrow twisty streets, the grey dark stone of the buildings and the long misty nights. The ideal material and setting for creepy and bone-chilling meetings.
There are several tour operators and individuals who run these tours so you have a choice as to who will take you on a scary walk. We have mentioned and highlighted just four of these tours – the major ones. However, tour operators mix and match portions and parts that sometimes overlap each other – giving different names for them.
So put on your woollies and comfortable walking shoes, dress up warmly and come along with us on some of Edinburgh’s Ghost Tours.
City of the Dead Tours
This one takes you through the City of the Dead, involving a trip through Edinburgh’s underground streets. Damnation Alley has an ancient curse upon it while Greyfriars Kirkyard is said to be haunted, in particular the gloomy section called Covenanters Prison. The most famous of the ghosts is Mackenzie Poltergeist who seems to concentrate his spiritual attacks around the Black Mausoleum.
The guides seem to have a great patter in the humorous telling of awful events. Despite that the walk can still be unnerving.
Auld Reekie Tour
In Victorian times, when the Edinburgh air was thick with smoke and smog, cloaking buildings and turning streets into veritable haunts, the locals referred to the city as ‘Auld Reekie.’
The tour, which takes you through the Wynds and Closes of the Royal Mile and the Haunted Underground, is reputed to be the scariest! Travel under the South Bridge and the damp, dim, haunted vaulted chambers of Blair Street. Each one has its own bloody horror story and maybe you will have a chilling encounter of your own, to add to the long list. Then there is the visit to the Torture Museum.
Maybe you will meet the ‘Southbridge Poltegeist,’ a violent, scratching entity! To soothe your frayed nerves you could then quaff a drink or two in the Banshee Labyrinth – one of the most haunted pubs in the land.
Murder and Mystery Walking Tour
This is a slightly (very slightly) different tour. You get to experience and visit the scenes of tortures and murders; tales of witches and ghostly and ghastly events while walking down dank, dim alleys and spine-shivering parts of Edinburgh’s Old Town. Once again, the guides dole out chunks of humour that somehow emphasise the creepy, horrific nature of the tales they recount rather than alleviate them. They also throw in plenty of local history and facts.
Mary King’s Close
The ancient streets of Mary King’s Close are located under the present day buildings of Edinburgh’s Old Town. This spooky area is entered from Warriston’s Close and Writer’s Court. There have been reports of hauntings at the Close (Scots for alleyways) since the 17th century. The perfectly preserved homes and shops are touted as the most haunted site in all Scotland. Among the many shadowy apparitions is that of Annie, a young girl, whose family died in the plague. Visitors, over the years, have built a shrine to her, composed of dolls.
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