Mysterious & Haunted Artefacts

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Mysterious objects

There are thousands of weird and haunted artefacts all over the world. In recent years there has also been a trend for selling similar items on the internet - especially Ebay. However, be warned. The vast majority of alleged ‘haunted’ items are found to be faked.

Having said this, there are still many items that seem to have strange properties and even paranormal forces attached to them.

Let’s take a look at some these objects.

The mysterious small coffins found on Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh.
The mysterious small coffins found on Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh. | Source

The Mysterious Coffins of Arthur's Seat

It was just an ordinary day in June 1836 when a group of young boys played on the hill called Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.

Unexpectedly, they found a cave on the north-eastern slope. Hidden under slates on a series of natural rock ledges, they found a total of seventeen miniature coffins. Boys being boys, they started to joke around throwing the miniature coffins at each other and so inevitably some were broken.

However, enough survived to be collected and preserved. When they were inspected they were described as having the following attributes:

  • The coffins are made of pine wood.
  • They were placed on rocky ledges in three tiers - two groups of eight coffins and one coffin on it's own above the others.
  • Each coffin was 95mm in length and 23mm wide.
  • Inside each was a figure. The figures were carved to a high degree of craftsmanship.
  • Each figure was also unique, having individual sets of clothes made for each and boots painted on their feet.

They are now preserved and on display in the National Museum for Scotland. A number of theories have been put forward over the years, but in reality the reason for the coffins or who made them is still a mystery.

Some of the theories are as follows:

  • On first being discovered 'The Scotsman' newspaper made a suggestion that perhaps the coffins and dolls were used in some kind of magical ritual. There is no evidence to suggest that the cave or the artefacts were ever used in any kind of ritual - at least not in the location they were found.
  • Another theory was the artefacts were talismans used by sailors to protect against death. I can't imagine sailors climbing all the way up Arthur's Seat to hide some miniature coffins. In addition the nearest ports, Leith and River Forth, are some distance from the area. Another suggestion was that they were at first kept by sailors and then for some reason were removed to Arthur's Seat. This seems even less likely than the first.
  • One of the most interesting theories - but like the rest certainly not proved - is that each of the coffins and their figures is a representation of the victims of Burke and Hare the body snatchers. Many believe that the number of coffins and the victim count are the same. However, there are disagreements about this and it doesn't take into account the likely, additional victims of Burke & Hare. You also have to try to figure out why the coffins and effigies were made? Who made them? Why did they get hidden in a secluded cave on Arthur's Seat? All these questions have never been answered and may never be.
  • The theory that the coffins may be some form of curse has also been put forward. However, who the curse was aimed at and for what reason remains unknown.

Today the miniature coffins are preserved in glass, just as secretive as they were when first discovered over a century ago.

Haunted Painting - Bombardment of Algiers

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Falkirk, Scotland

Falkirk where one unfortunate local seemed to have bought a haunted painting.
Falkirk where one unfortunate local seemed to have bought a haunted painting. | Source

Heale House - the home of Mrs Bell

Heale House where the spirit of Mrs Bell is said to have roamed looking for her portrait.
Heale House where the spirit of Mrs Bell is said to have roamed looking for her portrait. | Source

Haunted paintings

Falkirk Scotland – Painting ‘The Bombardment of Algiers’.

The original work was by British Artist, Thomas Luny - 1820. The alleged haunted painting was a reproduction bought by a local man in Falkirk. He took it home and placed it on his sitting room wall.

It wasn't long before the owner and numerous other people began to feel something was not quite right. Faces of people that were unknown to the family appeared within the painting.

The witnesses claimed that the faces were quite distinct from the images within the artwork. Shortly after the 'spirit' faces, things took a more sinister turn. The owner and others claimed that demonic faces were taking the place of the human ones. No other paranormal activity was encountered within the home. The owner did have some psychic ability and started to see other faces in photographs and drawings on his sitting room wall. It was never explained what had caused the faces to appear or who or what they were.

The Ghost Who Wanted Her Portrait Back!

An Edwardian lady by the name of Mrs Bell was said to have haunted her former home Heale Hall. She was often seen by the present family sitting at the piano and other areas of the house. Interestingly this elegant spirit was also accompanied by the music of Chopin.

The spirit was always cloaked in a blue haze of light. The top half of her body could be seen very clearly, including facial features. But her legs were not usually visible.

However, it was a complete mystery to the family why this lady should be haunting her former home. It wasn’t until an unexpected encounter seemed to solve the issue.

A local owner of a junk shop handed back an old portrait that had previously belonged to the house. The portrait showed a graceful Edwardian lady sitting at a piano. The family recognised her features and dress immediately and now had a name for the lady - Mrs Bell. The family also carried out some research and found that sadly Mrs Bell had lost her home and possessions due to bankruptcy. She had also been forced to sell the portrait of herself.

The family were delighted to bring the portrait back into the house and placed it in a prominent area in the drawing room. Since the portrait has been returned the spirit of Mrs Bell seems to have vanished. The family have tried various attempts to contact her again - including a ouija board session - but all to no avail. Perhaps at last Mrs Bell is now at peace.

Haunted skull stories are numerous throughout the world.
Haunted skull stories are numerous throughout the world. | Source
Blackpool Pleasure Beach where Ripleys Odditorium is located.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach where Ripleys Odditorium is located. | Source

Moyses Hall Museum - Bury St. Edmunds, England

This 800 year old building was a former jail that held the murderer William Corder.
This 800 year old building was a former jail that held the murderer William Corder. | Source

Drawing of William Corder before his trial

The newspaper report on William Corder's confession and execution.
The newspaper report on William Corder's confession and execution. | Source

Haunted & Screaming Skulls

The number of stories involving haunted skulls would fill volumes. They have been reported to scream, talk, sing and laugh.

The following snippets will give you a flavour from the thousands of allegedly haunted skulls.


The Woman in Black. Ripley's Odditorium, Blackpool. England.

Ripley's Odditorium was famous for housing weird and wonderful artefacts. The skull in question was that of a young girl and had the reputation for being cursed.

It was given on loan to the Ripley museum in the early 1970s. It wasn't long before staff and visitors felt a sense of unease when in the vicinity of the skull. In addition, many people started to sense cold spots around the area where the item was placed.

Then witnesses started describing the figure of a young girl in a long black dress standing near the skull. It wasn’t long either before the owner himself started to feel nervous and uneasy.

The skull was promptly removed and paranormal activity is alleged to have stopped. One week later however, staff were horrified to hear that the owner had died suddenly.

This is a wonderful story and can be relied on to have brought the tourists flocking in. Was this then a story created for the summer season? Or does this account speak the truth about this sinister skull?


Screaming Skull. Moyse's Hall Museum, Bury St. Edmunds, England.

Moyse's hall was formerly the local prison for the area and housed many dangerous criminals.

One such person was William Corder, known as the 'Red Barn Murderer'. Corder was tried and found guilty for the murder of his lover, Maria Marten. After his execution his skull was stored in the prison. However, over many years staff had reported hearing screaming sounds and also seeing various ghost-like images around the area where the skull had been stored.

It was genuinely believed that this artefact was possessed by evil and people refused to go near it or even pass it.

The activity eventually became so bad that the skull was removed from the prison and buried in an unknown grave.


The Howling Skull - Chilton Cantelo Village, Higher Farm, Somerset, England.

The skull of Theophilu Brome - who died in 1670 - has been kept in the house at the farm for centuries at his own request before he died.

Having deserted the Royalist cause during the English Civil War, Theophilu was concerned that when he died, his body would be exhumed by Royalists and his head placed on a spike as a trophy for all to see. Therefore, he made his sister promise that his head would be taken away from his body and kept in the house so that it would not be stolen.

Over the centuries many different families have lived at the farm and most have experienced weird happenings in relation to the skull. Despite various attempts to remove it permanently from the house, witnesses claim that strange activity would start almost immediately.

Wailing and howling noises seem to be most prevalent. These noises are said to continue until the skull is replaced safely back in the house.

Higher Farm - Chilton Cantelo village

Higher Farm - home to a screaming skull.
Higher Farm - home to a screaming skull. | Source

The Edinburgh Coffins Poll

What theory do you feel is the closest to why the coffins were made?

See results without voting

Conclusions

There's a strong case for objects having the ability to store the life essence of people who have been in contact with them. However, what is it that actually activates the experiences? Is it the object itself that releases the energy periodically? Does it require a trigger such as psychic or environmental conditions?

We may never find the answer to these questions, but paranormal research continues to try and unravel the mysteries of haunted and mysterious artefacts.

© 2012 Helen Murphy Howell

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Comments 38 comments

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting hub Seeker7 and I like the story of the Fairy Flag the best. These are great accounts of some spooky objects.


old albion profile image

old albion 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

Absolutely first class hub. Brilliantly informative, photographs are excellent. My compliments.

voted up/awesome. SHARED.


Lilleyth profile image

Lilleyth 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

Fascinating information, really enjoyed this hub.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi CMHypno - many thanks for stopping by. I love the story of the Fairy Flag - maybe because it's sad and romantic as well. There is another legend to the flag that says, it is part of the Fairy Princess's dress, that was torn when her husband tried to keep hold of her as she was drawn back into the fairy land! I don't know what story is the most sad but they do add to the msytique of the flag.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hello to you old albion and many thanks for the lovely comment! I'm glad that you enjoyed the hub - I have to say, I did have a lot of fun writing this one!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Lilleyth, many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub!


Shawn May Scott profile image

Shawn May Scott 4 years ago

Loved the folklore!!! The coffins are very unique, but the screaming skulls gave me the chills!!! :)


Parks McCants profile image

Parks McCants 4 years ago from Eugene Oregon U.S.A.

Well done Seeker7. Yet another reason for a visit to the land of this Highlanders Klan.

Thank you. Voted up!


femmeflashpoint 4 years ago

Seeker,

You never fail to have me riveted to the page from start to finish!

Every time I read your articles, I'm reminded of the movie series, "The Librarian."

I don't watch many movies, but "The Librarian" series is one of my favorites. They should have consulted you when they put it together, lol.

femme


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

Absolutely love this hub of mysteries and legends. My favorite one is the story of the spirit of Mrs. Bell. That one was so captivating. The skulls that scream and howl really freaked me out. I love reading these type of hubs and thank you for the good scare tonite. Thank goodness I'm not home alone right now.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Wow a fascinating hub. Voted up and interesting. These are places I simply must see. Passing this on.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Shawn May - lovely to hear from you and many thanks for leaving a comment! Skulls do give me the creeps as well. It's maybe because they always seem to be grinning at you! I think if I heard one screaming I would freak out!!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Parks, lovely to hear from you again and glad that you enjoyed the hub! Hope one day you will visit the land of the Higlanders Klan.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi femme - as always it's a pleasure to hear from you and glad that you enjoyed the hub! I thought it was a bit long so that's great that you stuck with it from start to finish.

Now, I've never seen 'The Librarian' but I've heard of it. I don't think they show it on UK tv, but will look this up on the internet, it sounds fascinating!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi MT - it's always great to hear from you and glad that you enjoyed the hub! I was saying earlier that skulls freak me out as well. It's the fact that they always seem to have an insane grin on their faces that does it! But if they were to howl or scream - yikes!!! That would scare me!

LOL! Glad to that you weren't alone at home - I tend to write a lot of this stuff - well the skulls part - during day light hours! LOL!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Gypsy, lovely to hear from you and glad that you enjoyed the hub! Many thanks as well for passing this on - much appreciated my friend, thank you!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Will the paranormal wonders from Scotland ever cease, not that i want them to Seeker, oh no. Absolutely great article. The baffling coffin people. Gotta admit that one is not only intriguing but a bit creepy and enigmatic. Any kind of dating on it Seeker? My best guess would lean towards black magic but am far from sure. Algiers painting reminds of those floor faces in the house that was over a cemetery in Spain, remember that one. Fairy Flag is a sort of charming one and you won't catch me laughing. Very cool read Seeker, liked them all much. The coffins and their placement are most unique and mysterious.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

Nice hub. I really enjoyed reading this even though it gave goosebumps! So glad I didn't read it at night.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Alastar as always a pleasure to hear from you.

I have to admit that the coffins are the ones that I like best probably because the mystery is as yet unsolved. As far as I can tell, the dating of the artifacts, within a few years either side, are fairly contemporary with the date they were found by the young boys. What is known is that they are not older than 19th century. For me, the only time I've heard about coffins and effigys was indeed to practice something not that nice! I haven't for example seen or heard coffins with effigys used in earth magic or Wicca. There's something sinister and very creepy - maybe even evil? - that went on with these coffins. I'm not saying that anything happened physically as a result of the coffins, but the malign thoughts and intentions must have been present and that is a very dark and unpleasant thought!

Wow! Yes the Spanish floor I haven't heard that mentioned for quite a while now but that was a very weird and creepy case. I know sceptics put the Spanish floor and would no doubt do the same with the Falkirk painting as Pareidolia (spelling?) seeing faces in patterns and so on. But the Spanish floor case was a lot more bizarre than seeing faces, it really creeped me out that one!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Om Paramapoonya - many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub, but sorry about the goosebumps! I have to say that the bits that creep me out the most, I write them up during daylight hours and not at nightitme! LOL!


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Some skeptics would tell you there mothers never existed if it would advance their nay-saying. Anyone true to themselves and others that seriously and rationally researches that Spainsh case can only come to the conclusion of a supernormal event with it. Paredolia it definitely wasn't as the ever changing faces were extensivly photographed and studied. On further reflection I'm beginning to lean towards a dark arts practitioner with a grudge against a captain, ship or company. What would really be exciting is if the figures could ever be matched up with such and it's/there fate.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Another great hub Seeker.

Loved the story of Mrs Bell, nice to hear a happy ending. The fairy flag was a sad but at the same time delightful story. The skulls were just plain creepy as with the paiting. As for the coffins they are indeed a mystery. Maybe lovingly carved by a man who lost his wife and 8 children, maybe they had moved around and maybe this was just his idea of a final resting place to keep them all together. Haha that's the romantic side of me showing :)

Voting up and awesome


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Wow! This is a fantastic hub. It is so interesting. It is good, that this is daytime not nighttime. Voted up!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

LOL! Hi Alastar! I love your jibe at the sceptics - and very true as well. Some of them will believe anything, no matter how improbable their own theories are, rather than admit that the paranormal does exist - how unscientific is that? I know one guy who I got to know through the internet very well. He had a startling UFO encounter way back in the 1970s. There were other witnesses but they were 3 or 4 miles away from Jame's location. Anyway, sceptics dismissed his case and put it down as solved! The solution? The UFO was no more than 'a floater in the eye'! I respect healthy scepticism but some of them are just dumb and pathetic!

The Spanish case is 100% paranormal and one of the best and most intriguing cases I had ever read - I'll need to look that case up again, it's a while since I read it.

I hope as well that a painting, photograph, drawing or whatever can be found that would resemble the figures. Research is continuing by historians as well as other professions. It might well be one of those cases that, when we least expect it, something startling comes to light that gives the full story or at least more of a clue as to what might have been going on. The coffins are dark, no matter who or what created them. It was certainly not to benefit anyone. The interesting thing is, is that there wasn't any sign of rituals. But that really doesn't mean anything. I would think a ritual could easily have taken place elsewhere and the figures removed in and hidden in case they were discovered. Arthur's Seat is as good a place as any.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Rosemay - lovely to hear from you! What a lovely story that is about the coffins! It's certainly more uplifting than all the dark stuff that may have happened. Who knows Rosemay! Your suggestion is just as good, if not better, than any of the others put forward!

Glad that you enjoyed the hub and many thanks for vote up!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hello Michele, many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub!

I don't blame you for not reading this at night and if it's any consulation, I tend to write most of the creepy stuff during the day! LOL! Many thanks for the vote up!


Nicole S profile image

Nicole S 4 years ago from Minnesota

Very interesting stuff here! I can tell you put a lot of work into this hub. Well done!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hello Nicole S,

Lovely to hear from you and glad that you enjoyed the hub - thank you for the lovely comment!


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Up and all across but funny from me Seeker7. What a GREAT article! I commend you on your hard work and research. You hit this one out the park and then some. What a very interesting hub. Makes you wonder for sure. As you know, I am a believer. Could they be haunted? Absolutely. Is something weird going on? Perhaps. Has to be reason behind the coffins. Even for that time, it is weird. Great set of events Seeker7. I am puzzled? There is only one answer in my mind.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi LW - as always a pleasure to hear from you! Glad that you enjoyed the hub! I have to say that the items in this hub have really intrigued me a lot. And yes I defiantely believe that objects have attachments to them - usually people! The coffins are weird no mistaking. I can't help but thinking though that they were made to represent anything good! I could be wrong of course since the real reason has never been found. But I can't see how anyone would make minature coffins and dressed figures for a positive cause? I also wonder as well, if the intentions for making the coffins worked? That we will probably never know!


festersporling1 profile image

festersporling1 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

What a great hub full of mystery with this Haunted Artifacts.Keep it up Seeker7.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Many thanks for the great comment festersporling1 and glad that you enjoyed the hub!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi Seeker, Ooh another great story to spook us out! lol! I love the coffins, but the fairy flag is a wonderful story. I have got to get myself up to Scotland! My son has been up there in Edinburgh and my friend comes from the Shetlands and is always telling me to come with her so I am off ghost hunting! rated up and shared! nell


Jenna Pope profile image

Jenna Pope 4 years ago from Southern California

This was so fascinating! I have goosebumps!!!

Voted up.


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

Ths hub is really interesting and has a lot of information, but all the pictures means it does not feel long. I loved reading and learning about these objects and place! Voted up and interesting.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Nell, lovely of you to stop by. The Shetlands!! That is one place I would love to visit. Not just for the scenery, but the history is awesome!

I loved the fairy flag story as well - makes a refreshing change from the usual artifacts that can be a bit gloomy. The coffins are defiantely weird - I really hope one day there is a solution.


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hello Jenna Pope - many thanks for stopping by and glad that you enjoyed the hub. Hope your goosebumps have gone!! But some of the artifacts do seem to have that affect on most of us. In particular the creepy wee coffins!!


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 4 years ago from Fife, Scotland Author

Hi Natashalh, many thanks for visiting the hub and glad that you enjoyed reading it. Thank you as well for the vote up - greatly appreciated!!

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