Edinburgh has a rich history dating back to the middle ages and is regularly listed as one of the most haunted places in the world. Here are some of the most famous Edinburgh ghost stories. There are hundreds more!
Mary King’s Close is an old street on the Royal Mile, which the town council closed off and built over in the 1750s. It was underground for 250 years before archaeologists eventually uncovered it again. It is now open to the public as a historical tourist attraction. One of its most well known ghost stories is that of a little girl named Annie. A Japanese psychic first sighted her in 1992. The psychic had an uneasy feeling about one of the rooms. There she discovered the spirit of a girl looking for a lost toy. She bought her a doll, which she left in ‘Annie’s Room’. This started a tradition of visitors bringing toys and gifts for the ghost (pictured above). The close receives so many that they regularly donate them to a local children’s charity, but the original doll bought by the psychic remains there.
Mr Boots’ heavy footsteps are said to be heard in the Edinburgh Vaults. These are underground chambers within the arches of South Bridge. Nearby businesses originally used them as storage in the late 18th century, but they soon became a hub for illegal activity and the authorities sealed them off. They reopened parts of them in the late 20th century, and now tour companies use them for ghost walks and historical tours. They say a spirit named Mr Boots inhabits one of the chambers. There have been reports of loud stomping sounds and yells of “get out”. There have even been claims of physical attacks on visitors, including pushing, scratching and biting.
Sir George MacKenzie was a 17th century Judge with a bloody reputation. He was involved in the Witch Trials and tortured and killed hundreds of prisoners during Charles II’s persecution of the Presbyterian Covenanters. After his death, he was buried in a chamber at Greyfrairs Kirkyard now known as the Black Mausoleum. In the late 1990s a homeless man broke into the mausoleum for shelter. Inside he found the bodies of the MacKenzie family and fell into a pit beneath filled with the rotting bodies of plague victims. He fled in terror and it is believed he awoke the angry spirit of ‘Bluidy MacKenzie’ with his screams. Since the incident, there have been hundreds of documented poltergeist attacks in the area.
Corstorphine is an area of Edinburgh to the west of the city centre. In the 1650s Corstorphine Castle, which no longer stands, was home to the Laird Forrester. He was a powerful man, known for his charm and loose morals. He had many mistresses and would often arrange to meet them by the castle’s dovecote. One day Forrester failed to turn up to meet his lover (and niece) Lady Christian Nimmo. She suspected he was at the local inn and sent a servant to fetch him. He came from the inn in a drunken state. The couple argued and Lady Nimmo killed Forrester with his own sword. She was executed for his murder. Ever since, there have been sightings of a lady in white by the old dovecote holding a sword dripping with blood.
Albert the Stagehand
Edinburgh Playhouse opened as a super-cinema in 1929 and is still in use today as one of Scotland’s most opulent theatres. Since the 1950s there have been stories of a resident ghost on level 6 in the north tower. He was first spotted by a policeman who was investigating strange noises coming from the building. Although the site was supposedly empty, he met an old man in grey named Albert, who had assured him that everything was fine. It is believed that Albert was a former Stagehand or Doorman who had died many years earlier. There have been many ghostly sights and sounds on level 6 since that day. He is a friendly ghost by all accounts and the theatre named its bar ‘Albert’s’ after him.