Ever wanted to join a ghost tour in Edinburgh? This iconic Scottish town offers almost every traveler a wide variety of attractions. It has an intriguing history, but the most exciting part is the ghostly past of this old city. We took part in one of the many ghost tours in Edinburgh.

Choosing a Tour Organizer for Your Edinburgh Ghost Tour

There are many operators for ghost tours in Edinburgh, but not all of them have access to the best haunted places. You can check some reviews of the best Edinburgh ghost tours here.

We had booked the “all in one package” -ghost tour from the City Of The Dead -tours, including 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 worldwide.

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 they hold the sole access to two of the world’s most haunted locations—Damnation Alley in Edinburgh’s legendary ‘Underground City’ and the Covenanter’s Prison in Greyfriars Graveyard. You can also book your Edinburgh ghost tour here.

Most tours go underground, so you cannot take many photographs without excellent flash gear. However, we’d suggest concentrating on the stories rather than taking photos. The stories are the core of these tours, after all.

Listening to the tour guide’s engaging stories is the thrill that’ll set you in just the right mood for the grim places you’ll visit. Luckily, we had one of the best guides, I think. At least she had excellent storytelling abilities, including some nice acting skills that added to the experience!

In the Haunted South Bridge Vaults in Edinburgh

First, you will descend underground to the South Bridge Vaults.

Some of the less fortunate residents once lived here, and it’s an essential part of the Haunted History of Edinburgh. These included criminals, thieves, murderers, you name it—all those who didn’t have a place in society above ground. Life was harder and more cruel than you could ever imagine in the South Bridge Vaults.

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 died.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that these Vaults are said to be so haunted. Many unfortunate souls ended their lives here, so it’s not a big surprise either that many of those souls may have left here. We felt lots of residual haunting here.

Walking 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 when you’re alone in a room, your back facing the open door, and suddenly someone walks in. You don’t see them immediately, but you feel their presence.

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

In the South Bridge Vaults, there’s one place that is said to be exceptionally haunted, in particular by a little girl in a white dress.

On our Edinburgh ghost tour, we spent many minutes standing in one spot in the Vaults with all of our flashlights off and in complete silence. Our guide tried to summon the girl to come and show herself to us. Such 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 wish I could see a white figure somewhere, but I didn’t. I guess the ghosts don’t appear when asked like that.

However, the general atmosphere everywhere in the Vaults was suppressing. The darkness, the strong smell of mold, the lack of oxygen there underground – it all adds up to an interesting experience.

Concentrate on listening to the stories, and you’ll have a great adventure. Try also to have an open mind, and maybe somewhere in the shadows, you’ll see something that others won’t. This place has such a 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 and Frightening Ghosts

I wish we could have toured more of the South Bridge Vaults, but since we had another place to go, we continued our way to the equally—if not even more—famous Greyfriars’ Graveyard.

Covenanters’ Prison is located in one of the most paranormally active areas in the world. And we could also somehow feel it, deep inside our bones, when we stepped inside its perimeter. Something gradually shifted in the atmosphere around us.

In Greyfriars’ Graveyard, there is also the home of one of the most active and well-known poltergeist spirits – the MacKenzie Poltergeist.

This poltergeist has caused physical harm to people who have visited the Mausoleum grave. There have been scratches, bite- and slapping marks on peoples’ bodies, to name a few injuries. These are things that those people just weren’t able to do for themselves by their own hands.

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 actual physical harm, so you’ll go at your own riskThere are also pictures of the damages that it presumably has done. Even if you are a hard skeptic, these ones will arouse your imagination, won’t they?

Many paranormal researchers have been conducting intensive investigations here, and they’ve also found many haunting results. If you’d like to study them more, it’s pretty easy to find some of them on the web.

The Black Mausoleum of MacKenzie is a really eerie-looking building by itself. It feels like it’s surrounded by a repulsive energy, at least. It is a place that you don’t want to approach.

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

The mausoleum of the MacKenzie poltergeist was maybe the scariest place I’ve ever been, and I wouldn’t want to go there again. However, it was a highlight of our ghost tour in Edinburgh.

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 MacKenzie Poltergeist was a homeless man who, in December 1998, broke into the mausoleum when looking for 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.

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 a worse place to break into. It’s believed that he unleashed something very evil and genuine, witnessed nowadays by hundreds of people who have had unpleasant visits to the mausoleum and its surroundings.

Of course, it’s always your personal matter whether you believe in ghosts. I think there has to be more than meets the eye. Even though I am a pretty objective person, there are still some things that cannot always be explained rationally or by pure science alone.

Don’t Miss a Ghost Tour in Edinburg

When you visit these beautiful Scottish sceneries, don’t miss a ghost tour in Edinburgh. It’s an intriguing experience, and you will learn a lot about the city’s colorful history.

I didn’t get hurt or see anything that special when visiting these two very haunted sights of Edinburgh, and maybe it was better this way.

But I did experience very strange feelings throughout 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.

The world is full of haunted places (or at least that is what the stories tell). One such place is the Forbidden City in Beijing, China.

Whatever you choose to do, stay safe. If you experience something strange, please tell me about it. I’d also love to hear about your experiences on a ghost tour in Edinburgh!

You May Also Like to Read:

Courtyard inside the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

The Forbidden City – a Nest of Ghost Stories

The Forbidden City ghost stories are lesser known, but with its history of over 600 years, it's said to be one of the scariest places in China.

Read More

Patarei prison gate, Patarei prison, Patarei prison Tallinn

Exploring the Abandoned Patarei Prison in Tallinn

The old Patarei prison and sea fortress in Tallinn, Estonia is one of the best remnants of a Soviet-era prison, left mostly untouched. And it's haunted.

Read More

Privacy Preference Center