There’s nothing like a good chilling tale, and Edinburgh is filled with frightful ones that will make you want to read them with the lights turned on.
[Image credit: City of the Dead Tour Facebook]
Greyfriar's Kirkyard is a fitting setting for the odd ghost story or two. Located in the Old Town, it is steeped in history, with many religious persecutions being carried out here in the 17th century. The Black Mausoleum which can be seen in the kirkyard is the final resting place of Sir George Mackenzie, a former Lord Advocate. It is here that there have been more than 500 recorded incidents of the poltergeist attacking people since it was disturbed by a homeless man looking for shelter. Today there are tours are take you to the kirkyard such as the City of Dead tours, so head along and take a look - if you are brave enough.
Burke and Hare
[Image credit: The Burke and Hare Murder Tour Facebook]
Between 1827 and 1829, Edinburgh was home to two of the most famous body snatchers, William Burke and William Hare. During this time the need for corpses grew to meet with anatomy and physiognomy research taking place in Edinburgh.
In order to meet the demand, the black market of body snatchers had a roaring trade buying and selling stolen human bodies. This provided the perfect platform for friends Burke and Hare to sell their 16 victim corpses to Doctor Robert Knox at the University of Edinburgh for use towards his anatomy lectures.
However the crimes soon caught up with them and in 1829 Burke was executed following Hare’s confession providing evidence against him. Burke’s skeleton was donated to the Anatomy Museum in the University of Edinburgh, where it hangs to this day. It remains unknown what became of Hare.
The Real Mary Kings Close
[Image credit: The Real Mary King's Close Facebook]
2 Warriston's Close, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1PG
Open Monday to Thursday: 9.30 to 16.30 and Friday, Saturday & Sunday: 09:30-18.00. Please note, opening and closing times vary seasonally.
Adult: £17.95; Child: £11.25; Senior or Student: £15.95; Family: £49.00
Explore Edinburgh life before the 1800's at one of the city’s famous underground close with the Real Mary Kings Close Tours, the ancient alleys that run beneath the Royal Mile. The tours last for one hour and are through the uniquely preserved streets and spaces. Your experience will be brought to life by one of their costumed character guides. Based on a one time resident or regular of Mary King’s Close, theses guides will regale you with the fascinating tales of plague, pestilence, murder and intrigue.
The Edinburgh Dungeons
31 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DF
Opens daily from 10:00 - 17:00.
Adult: 15.95; Child: £12.75 (pre-booked on-line prices).
Fear can be a funny thing. Get up close and personal with Edinburgh's grizzly past at the Edinburgh Dungeons. This tour consists of 11 unique shows featuring state of the art special effects and talent actors who really bring Edinburgh's horrifying history to life. Be put on trial for your crimes in the Old Town courtroom, learn the tricks of the trade from the sadistic torturer and try to escape the cannibal clutches of Sawny Bean and his family. Get through the journey unscathed and you will be rewarded with a turn on the Drop Dead Ride, where you'll learn exactly what it is like to be hung for your sins in front of the crowds of the Grassmarket.
The Blair Street Vaults
Mercat House, 28 Blair St, Edinburgh EH1 1QR
To uncover Edinburgh's deepest darkest secrets, you'll need to head underground. You can explore the Blair Street Vaults with Mercat Tours, whose expert guides will tell you chilling tales guaranteed to spook you down to the bone. Make sure to stay close to your group and be aware of any figures lurking in the shadows...
The Ghost Bus Tours
Departing from the Lawnmarket, outside Heritage of Scotland, EH1 2NT.
Adult: £17.50; Child: £12.50; Senior or Student: £15.00; Family: £48.00
Lasting approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, step aboard the UK’s only comedy-horror theatre experience on wheels and haunted history bus tour in Edinburgh.
You will encounter all of the top attractions of Edinburgh, including: Edinburgh Castle, The New Town, Grassmarket, Greyfriar’s Kirk, The Old Town, Holyrood Palace and The Royal Mile. Prepare to be surprised as you learn about the haunted history of Edinburgh’s most famous and best loved tourist attractions.
1 Fountainbridge Square, Edinburgh, EH3 9QB.
Escape Reality’s movie-inspired escape room games challenge you to channel your inner hero, overcome challenges and forge your way to victory.
They offer a variety of games, but if you and your teammates are looking for some horror-filled entertainment, Nosferatu challenges you to escape the clutches of a vampire; while The Asylum dares you to find our way out of haunted asylum!