A tumultuous past of the Black Plague and barbaric executions are rumoured to still haunt present day Edinburgh, and the more daring visitors to the city can find out for themselves. If you take yourself on an alternative tour of the city – searching for ghosts instead of the usual sights – then who knows what you might find?
Edinburgh Castle is a landmark that is frequently associated with the city and is also one of the many buildings that has a darker side associated with it. Deep below the foundations of the castle a series of tunnels run to the Royal mile, Edinburgh’s High Street, and reportedly all the way down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace.
When the tunnels were initially discovered many years ago, a piper was sent down to investigate where they led to. The idea was for the piper to play his music as he walked along the underground tunnel, so those on the street above could track his progress and discover where the tunnels eventually ended.
Halfway along the tunnel the piper could no longer be heard, so a rescue party was sent down to investigate. It is reported the piper had vanished from sight, as there was no trace of him to be found; although it is alleged that to this day you can on occasion, hear his haunting tune as his ghost continues to walk along the tunnel.
Edinburgh Castle and The Royal Mile are found in the Old Town, the main area to concentrate on if spooky sightings are what you’re after. In the 18th century the Old Town became barely habitable due to overcrowding. As a result, the local council began development of the New Town which lies on the northerly side of the city.
Access between the Old Town and New Town was obviously important, therefore bridges were built to provide access; both of which still stand today and are appropriately named North Bridge and South Bridge.
The area beneath South Bridge was excavated when the bridge was built to make chambers and rooms, now known as The Edinburgh Vaults. The vaults were used mostly by local merchants and craftsmen to store their wares. Families also lived in some of the rooms but with no sunlight, ventilation or waste disposal the conditions were far from desirable and disease quickly spread.
The vaults were then blocked off and literally forgotten about until many years later. Fast forward two hundred years and excavations in the area uncovered these long forgotten vaults and the history that unfolded within them. Regarded as one of the most haunted areas of Edinburgh, the vaults should definitely be on your list of things to see – if you fancy a peek at the paranormal side of the city.
Guided tours and walks of the vaults are a popular attraction for tourists and residents alike and offer a rare glimpse of underground Edinburgh. And if you are unsure of where to start then many of the Edinburgh hotels should provide leaflets and further information on the tours and walks available.