Ever wanted to join a ghost tour in Edinburgh? In this iconic Scottish town, there is a vast variety of attractions to almost every traveler. It has an intriguing history, but the most interesting part is the ghostly past of this old city. We took part in one of the many ghosts walks in Edinburgh.

Choosing a Tour Organizer for Your Ghost Tour

There are many operators for a ghost tour in Edinburgh, but not all of them hold the access to all the best, haunted places. We had booked ourselves the “all in one package” -ghost tour from the City Of The Dead -tours, which included the famous South Bridge Vaults and the Greyfriars’ Graveyard with the Covenanters’ Prison. These are known as some of the most haunted places in Edinburgh and probably of the whole world.

This is why there is a fair chance to see or feel some paranormal activity during the tour. Our particular tour was called The Double Dead Tour. This ghost tour operator is one of the best, as it holds the access to the Kirkfriar’s graveyard and the Covenanter’s Prison almost exclusively. They are also very highly ranked on TripAdvisor. You can read some reviews from here >> This Double Dead tour costs £13.00, but it’s worth every penny. Most of the tour goes underground so you cannot take much of photographs unless you have an excellent flash gear.

But nevermind, the best thrill of the trip is going to be listening to the engaging stories of the tour guide that’ll set you in just the right mood for the grim places you’ll visit. We had luckily one of the best guides, I think. At least she had especially good story telling abilities, including some nice acting skills that just added to the experience!

In the Haunted South Bridge Vaults

First, you will descend underground to the South Bridge Vaults. Down here once lived some of the less fortunate residents and it’s an essential part of the Haunted history of Edinburgh. Including criminals, thieves, murderers, you name it. All those who didn’t have a place in the society above ground. In the South Bridge Vaults, life was harder and more cruel than you could ever imagine.

Also, if you were permanently sick, you often found yourself living here, underground, with the rest of the people which the upper-class citizens didn’t want to see. Because of the type of its residents, a vast number of people also died in the South Bridge Vaults, and the majority of them did not die for natural reasons. Most of them were killed, in one way or the other. Under the ground, it was a society of its own. There you either survived, or you died.

Therefore it’s not such a surprise that these Vaults are said to be so haunted. Many unfortunate souls ended their life here, so it’s not a big surprise either that many of those souls may have left in here. Either by their will or by forced. When you walk in those grim vaults, you can feel that ”something” is there. It’s a feeling that you cannot quite explain to another person. It’s like that feeling you get when you’re alone in a room, your back is facing the open door, and suddenly someone walks in. Before you can see or hear him/her, you will feel the presence of someone.

Edinburgh castle, city views Edinburgh
Views from the Edinburgh Castle.

In the South Bridge Vaults, there’s one place which is said to be exceptionally haunted. In particular by a little girl in a white dress. On our tour, we spent many minutes just standing there with all of our flashlights off, in complete silence, and our guide tried to summon the girl to come and show herself to us. Such a silence in a big crowd creates a particular kind of atmosphere (referring maybe to how a group panic is created). If someone scares something, everyone else scares, too. Except me.

I wished to see a white figure somewhere, but I didn’t. I guess the ghosts don’t appear when asked. The general atmosphere everywhere in the Vaults was suppressing. The darkness, the smell of mold, the lack of oxygen here underground – it all adds up to the experience. Concentrate on listening to the stories and you’ll get a great adventure for yourself. Try also to have an open mind and maybe somewhere in the shadows, you’ll see something that others won’t see. This place has such wide history that you could write extensively about it, but if you want, you can read more from here.

MacKenzie Mausoleum, Kirkfriar's graveyard, MazKenzie poltergeist, ghost tour in Edinburgh
The MacKenzie Mausoleum in Kirkfriar's graveyard, Edinburgh. Also known as the "black mausoleum."

The MacKenzie Poltergeist – One of the World’s Most Famous Ghosts

I wish we could have toured more in the South Bridge Vaults, but since we had another place to go to, we continued our way to the equally – if not even more – famous place; the Greyfriars’ Graveyard. There is the Covenanters’ Prison where is located one of the most paranormally active areas of the whole world.

There is also the home of one of the most active and well-known poltergeist spirits – the MacKenzie poltergeist. It’s said to have caused some real, physical harm to people who have visited the grave. There have been scratches, bite- and slapping marks on peoples’ bodies, just to name few injuries. Things of which those people just weren’t able to do for themselves by their own hands. Curious, isn’t it?

On the web pages of the City Of The Dead –tours there’s even a warning that this spirit (or whatever it is) can cause real physical harm, so you’ll go at your own riskThere are also pictures of the damages that it presumably has done.

Lots of paranormal researchers have been doing their investigations here, and they’ve also had lots of results. It’s pretty easy to find some of them on the web if you’d like to study them more. The Black Mausoleum of MacKenzie is an eerie looking building by itself, and it feels like it’s surrounded by an energy that is repulsive, at least.

The poltergeist is believed to be the evil spirit of a 17th-century Scottish advocate, George MacKenzie, who gained a very nasty reputation during his lifetime and also earned a nickname ”Bloody MacKenzie.”  He gained this grim nickname for locking up the 1200 Covenanter’s into a field near the Kirkfriar’s Graveyard. Many of them were later executed, and hundreds died of hunger.

Covenanters prison, Kirkfriars graveyard, ghost tour in Edinburgh
Covenanters prison, Kirkfriars graveyard in Edinburgh.

Where the hauntings began and what is believed to have wakened the poltergeist, was a homeless man who in December 1998 broke into the mausoleum when looking for a shelter from the rain. The story goes that he broke into a chamber of coffins and began to try to open them (searching for something valuable to steal). While doing this, he fell through the floor into a third, previously unknown chamber full of corpses that had died centuries ago of plague.

All the mysterious and disturbing activity is reported to have begun almost immediately after this interference with the mausoleum’s contents. The homeless man couldn’t have chosen the worst place to broke into. It’s believed that he unsleashed something very evil and very real, witnessed nowadays by hundreds of people who have had unpleasant visits to the mausoleum and its surroundings.

Of course, it’s always a matter of your own whether you believe in ghosts or not. I think that there just has to be more than meets the eye in this world. Even though I am a pretty objective person, on the whole, there are still some things that cannot always be explained rationally nor by pure science alone.

When you’re visiting in these beautiful Scottish sceneries, don’t miss a ghost tour in Edinburgh. I didn’t get hurt, nor I saw anything that special when visiting these two very haunted sights of Edinburgh, and maybe it was better this way. But what I did experience was very strange feelings through the whole tour. There is something over there; I can tell you that. To decide what it is – or is it nothing at all – you have to go and visit there by yourself. Whatever you choose to do, stay safe. And if you do experience something odd or strange, please tell me about it. I’d love to hear your experiences of a ghost tour in Edinburgh, too!

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