Monday, October 31, 2016

City of the Dead, Edinburgh, Scotland

City of the Dead - Double Dead Tour - was amazing!  I love stuff like this.  Anna found this tour while researching things to do.  She bought us tickets months ago (thanks Anna).  I'm so happy she did!  Here is the link to their page:

The tour we were on, Double Dead Walking Tour, included the South Bridge Vaults and the Covenanter's Prison in Greyfriar's Graveyard.  Yes, it was a full moon!  This added to the anticipation and intense stories we heard as we walked the streets and underground of Edinburgh, Scotland.

I'm not going to lie...I was afraid...I may or may not have grabbed several strangers while walking in the dark and screamed in their was everything the reviews say. 

"Most haunted place on earth"
"One of the best documented and most conclusive paranormal cases in history." 
"Best haunted tour in the UK" 

We were told that many have seen things, been grabbed, scratched, fainted (whole group), left with bruising and physically became sick during the tour.  Yet, we still went.

While underground, in the South Bridge Vaults, the guide told us the history of this horrible place.  The bridge vaults were built like the mid 1700's to store dry goods for the merchants above ground.  Well, Scotland is wet - underground was not a good place to store dry goods.  So the shop keepers moved their storage above ground and moved the poorest of the poor down below.  We were in a tiny room, maybe 10' x 12' and it is said 12-16 people lived in there.  The violence was horrible as no police would go underground.  Infant life expectancy was only 6 months.  Could you imagine being a young child down here - rape, molestation - I can't even think about it!  

It was with that history, our tour guide told us of a ghost that many on the tour saw.  It is a little boy, who happens to like her and often times is seen standing next to her.  Another was what the tour calls "The Watch Man" as stories are told of a man who would walk these valuts at night checking on and protecting the weak.  He still is doing this even as a ghost.  However, the scariest story and one that stopped the tour guide from even coming in one of the rooms we were in, was something she personally experienced.  When the tour first started, children were allowed to participate.  She however, tried to convince a mother NOT to take her young daughter on the tour.  The mother was insistent and she reluctantly took them.  As they came to the vault, we were in, her candle blew out.  As she fumbled to find a flashlight and match, the woman was talking to her daughter, "it's all right, yes, hang on to my hand...yes, tighter, that's o.k."  Well, when the candle was re lit, there was no one holding the mother's fact, her daughter was standing way in the corner of the room.  When they asked the little girl why she was over there...she said "someone pulled me over here."  They ended the tour.   I will admit, that room was the coldest by temperature and how I felt spiritually - it was scary.

This tour is the only one in Edinburgh with keys to the Covenanter's Prision.  This prison was placed in Greyfriar's Graveyard.  In 1679 over 1,000 supporters of National Covenant who were defeated by the government forces were housed here.  For over 4 cold months, these men were left without shelter and barely any food.  Many died, many shipped to America (most died in a ship wreck) and some were left here only to be executed by Sir. George Mackenzie.  He received the nickname was Bloody Mackenzie after his relentless and inhumane persecution of these covenanters.  Those that died here, ironically share their final resting place with Bloody George Mackenzie.  For 300 years, both victims and the tormentor rested just feet from each other.  

One dark stormy night in 1998, a homeless man, possibly seeking shelter or looking for something valuable to steal, broke into the "Black Mausoleum" of "Bloody Mackenzie."  Our guide said that as this homeless man ransacked the tomb, a large hole opened in the floor and he fell dropping into the chamber below.  This pit was filled with the remains of plague victims.  She told us that during the plague, mass graves/pits, were dug and now sit under the this graveyard.  Well, that's nice to fact, this is why Edinburgh is called "City of the Dead."  Since that night in 1998 and the actions of this homeless man, numerous accounts of activity have been reported.  The city actually closed the portion of the graveyard that has seen the most activity.  This is the area, our tour had the key to open.  As she stood outside the gate, she asked if anyone wanted to family did.  As we walked through the gate, she locked it behind us.  She told us to go into this mausoleum and began to tell us some of the actions of what is called "The Mackenzie Poltergeist."  At this point, she sets a timer for 10 minutes, as violent activity against tour goers have happened after that length of time.  She continues with numerous stories - at this point, I'm actually grabbing on to some was spooky!  

It was an excellent tour filled with anticipation and fear.  I actually learned so much about this city.  On our earlier day tour, we found out about this:

the very spot where many were hung or executed for being witches.  As we passed this spot, now a small park, Richard our guide, said he would never sit on one of those benches.  He too said that this area is full of paranormal activity.  This is just a block or so away from the graveyard.  

If you are a Harry Potter fan, the graveyard we were in, Greyfriar's, was where J.K. Rowling got the names of several characters in her books.  

Greyfriar's Graveyard also has the tomb of Greyfriar's Bobby.  This is the story of a little dog.  The dog's master died and is buried here as well.  The legend says that every day for 14 years, this little dog would go and lay on his dead master's burial site.  Walt Disney made a movie of it that I need to watch.  This monument is across the street from the execution site and just around the corner to the graveyard.

I actually loved this city.  It was full of amazing history, both good and bad.  As we were on our vacation - I did take some pictures of graves as I knew I wanted to do this Halloween post.  

Should you ever be able to go to Edinburgh, Scotland make sure to go on the City of the Dead tour, you won't be disappointed.  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.
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