Edinburgh has been around for quite some time now since before the 7th century, as well as being granted city status in 1633. With so many people having lived within the Scottish capital, there is bound to be some hauntings, as the city is considered one of the most haunted cities in the world. So, as autumn is a season of Halloween and all things spooky, we thought we’d look into the haunted places in Edinburgh, some with a truly dark past.
Edinburgh Old Town is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site that marvels the world. It is also abundant with stories, myths and mysteries surrounding murders, ghosts and even plague victims. Mary King’s Close is one of the most haunted spots in the UK that was also featured on multiple shows and TV Channels worldwide. Located beneath Edinburgh City Chambers, the close has had many hauntings reported since the 17th century, and was closed to the public for a long time since the 28th century. While sceptics were saying some gases escaping into Mary King’s Close could have caused people to hallucinate, as it was close to Nor Loch (now Princes Street Gardens), where they used to dump bodies. However, visitors can now find out for themselves as the Close is a popular tourist attraction, offering ghost tours.
2. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Scotland. As an active military base and the most popular tourist attraction in the city, many people have reported paranormal activity during their visits. There’s a ghost with a foul smell which tries to push people off, a young bagpiper boy trying to find his way out of the dungeon, a headless drummer, as well as Janet Douglas, who was accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake in the castle. There have even been sightings of a large black dog ghost!
3. Edinburgh Vaults
Edinburgh Vaults is an extensive underground system located under the Old Town. Once the North Bridge was built, the vaults were abandoned by businesses, leading to the place being the place for the poorest in society, as well as illegal businesses and crime. We’re talking about a pitch-black place filled with filth, gambling, assault, murder, disease and all the horrible things. To no one’s surprise, plenty of paranormal activity has been spotted there, and there are quite a few resident ghosts reported. There’s The Watcher (or Mr. Boots), who has been captured in a picture, The Aristocrat, a sinister presence, The Cobbler and Jack the Child.
4. Greyfriars Kirkyard
While Greyfriars Kirkyard is home to some very famous headstones that were used as inspiration for some names in Harry Potter such as Sirius Black and Thomas Riddle, the graveyard is also considered an extremely haunted place and possibly the most haunted cemetery in the world. More than 500 recorded poltergeist sightings have been recorded within Greyfriars Kirkyard, making it deserving of its title. From bruises to bite marks, the reports do not seem too fun, to be honest.
5. The Banshee Labyrinth
The Banshee Labyrinth is a bar many of us have been to, especially during the Edinburgh Fringe to see some shows. However, the bar is said to be super haunted, as part of it is actually the Edinburgh Vaults. The bar’s name comes from its resident ghost, The Banshee, which is the spirit of a woman who is usually crying or making howling noises. I have never encountered her in person over the years, but who knows what really goes on in there after closing, eh! Plus, The Banshee Labyrinth also has shows for the Edinburgh Horror Festival during spooky season.
6. Edinburgh Playhouse
Our favourite theatre for musicals in Edinburgh also has a resident ghost, making it one of the most haunted places in the city. Many have reported seeing the ghost of Albert, a former stage door manager at the theatre who died on the job. In 1940, the police were called to the theatre for a possible break-in. When they got there, the door was already open. After entering, they were met by a man who introduced himself as Albert and told the police everything was fine. After phoning Edinburgh Playhouse the next day, they found out Albert actually died a few years ago. Ever since, people have reported shadow figures, weird noises, touching sensations, flickering lights and more on level 6 of the Playhouse.