Ghosts, Ghouls, & The Dead of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
As the ghosts of the old year bid adieu, I spent some time getting to know the spirits of Edinburgh, Scotland. Arriving with the desire to go on a ghost tour, I quickly discovered such was a commodity this place held in abundance. On one short block of the Royal Mile, there were at least five options advertised. Several tours actually left from an area adjacent to the Mercat Cross. Having some time to kill, I went on three of these tours.
|Mercat Tours in the Vault|
Although the overall subject matter was similar, each tour had its own drawing attraction. The City of the Dead tour spotlighted the apparent emergence of the MacKenzie Poltergeist in a tomb in Greyfriars Graveyard. The Ghost and Ghouls tour comes to rest in previously abandoned and possibly haunted vaults beneath the old city streets. While only having one location to visit, The Real Mary King’s Close is entirely built around the buried neighborhood itself. While there was some overlap of stories about old Edinburgh from one tour to the next, each was ultimately unique enough to justify going.
|Mercat Cross at Night|
Each group purported to have had various spiritual and psychic experts visit their sites and verify the haunting. I believe this to be the more modern approach to the telling of ghost stories. Not that long ago, the audience would have been content to hear the stories of sightings and, when known, the circumstances that brought about the apparition. Today, audiences have more belief when they hear about the scientific study that has taken place.
If ghosts or at least macabre history is your thing, be sure to try out the various ghost tours that Edinburgh has to offer. Based on this writer’s experience, it would be hard to leave any one of them disappointed. You will have the opportunity to hear tales of body snatchers, public torture, and executions. And when you least expect, your tour may include a jumper-ooter (the local term for someone who intends to scare the audience out of their collective cargo pants by appearing suddenly during the tour). I will not spoil it by telling you which tours use them – find out for yourself as I did!