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Visiting Scotland: Edinburgh's ghosts

Updated on September 13, 2014

Visting Edinburgh's Ghosts

If you are a visitor to Edinburgh, you also want to visit with their ghosts. A whole industry has sprung up around them: there are books, movies, vidoes and even tours so you can meet them. Here I bring together some sites and information about Edinburgh's ghosts that may intrigue or amuse you including details of THE ultimate visit for Halloween - an all night special at Mary King's Close underneath Edinburgh's Royal Mile

St Mary's Close

Mary King's close Edinburgh
Mary King's close Edinburgh | Source

Mary King's Close

When you are walking Edinburgh's Royal Mile you probably have no idea there is a whole other city under your feet. There exists a labyrinth of narrow streets called 'closes' or 'wynds' in Scotland. When they were first built, these houses showed the usual Edinburgh hierarchy with those who could afford to pay most, living at the top of a seven storey building. The higher you were, the further you were away from the smell of the common sewage and waste. Remember this is way before modern sanitation.

In the 1750s the Edinburgh Burgh Council agreed to demolish the originals to build new City Council Chambers but they left the lowest levels.

After the discovery of these houses and an archeological dig by the Continuam Group it was decided to open the closes to the public. This is a unique opportunity for us to visit and see exactly what it was like to live here in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th century Scotland. These are the people whose history is often forgotten.

Who knows, you may meet some of the originals but there are actors playing the part of inhabitants as they may have been in the 16th century.

Here you can visit the home of a grave-digger and even find out the secrets of how the Burgh Council chose to deal with a huge plague epidemic in 1644-46.

On your visit you can move up a century to the 17th century and witness how little things had improved for the lower classes and see a 19th workshop.

On your visit you are walking the streets that are over 300 year old - imagine that. and there are guides to help you get the most out of your visit.

Edinburgh's ghosts on Amazon

Edinburgh After Dark: Ghosts, Vampires and Witches of the Old Town
Edinburgh After Dark: Ghosts, Vampires and Witches of the Old Town

Edinburgh has the reputation of being the haunted capital of the world.

The author takes a very personal viewpoint and includes a selection of research from his own perspective.


Do you believe in ghosts?

See results
edinburgh ghost
edinburgh ghost

Halloween Close Encounter at Mary King's Close

If you dare - you can join a night-time trip to Mary King's Close - they call it an investigation but it is just plain spooky. On Halloween you can visit the site with a team of investigators to see if they can uncover any paranormal activity. After all Halloween is the night when the veil is thinest - so why not.

What REALLY lies beneath the Royal Mile - join us on this UNMISSABLE night and you may just find out!

You will need to dress warmly and wear flat shoes - the team will provide refreshments and any equipment needed.

TO MAKE YOUR BOOKING CALL 0131 225 0678 between the hours of 9.30pm - 5pm, Monday to Friday or email and a member of our events team will get back to you. Online booking will be available soon.

edinburgh mausoleum
edinburgh mausoleum | Source

The Mausoleum: Edinburgh's Ghost and Graveyards

Edinburgh is one of the oldest settlements in the world - there have been people living on the spot for thousands of years. So it is no surprise that there are enough ghosts visiting and plenty of ghost stories to keep us all entertained.

On the site you can catch up with some of those stories. The visit is fascinating whether you believe in ghosts or not - the graveyard provides fascinating glimpses into days gone by.

mary kings close edinburgh
mary kings close edinburgh

The ghost of Annie in Mary King's Close

reported in the Scotsman 05/05/2005

If you are looking for a spooky atmosphere you need to visit The Real Mary King's close in Edinburgh. These dark and narrow streets are homes to lot of ghost and lots of ghost stories. Some say, these 16th/17th century homes were sealed up following a plague epidemic and believe there closes are haunted.

One of the most famous ghostly inhabitants is annie - a young girl who supposedly has appeared to many people including a Japanese psychic in 1992 as reported in the Scotsman. The woman claims she felt ill, hungry and cold in one of the rooms and felt the girl touch her leg.

The story has gained enough momentum that the spot is now known as Annie's Room and some people even go so far as to bring little gifts for a little girl abandoned to die all those years ago. Affection or appeasing the spirit? We haven't moved on all that far from the superstitions of the past.

Edinburgh's ghosts on YouTube - aye right!

Another ghost tour

What do you think? Would you like to visit these ghosts?

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    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      4 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      My son would be thrilled to visit some castles and ghosts in Edinburgh. Scotland is on our must see list, I always liked anything to do with Scotland

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      If I were living in an Edinburgh wynd a few centuries back, hopefully I'd be up on the 7th floor. But think of those stairs!

    • savateuse profile image


      4 years ago

      I've visited Edinburgh several times, but haven't been ghost-hunting... Next time!

    • jballs6 profile image


      6 years ago

      We are off up to Scotland in a couple of weeks with a stop over in Edinburgh, I might get the chance to visit one of these places!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      7 years ago from UK

      Edinburgh is a perfect place to go ghost hunting! Those closes are spooky even in the daytime, not sure I'd dare wander there at night, but the tours do sound good.

    • annieangel1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @sheilamarie78: thanks sheilamarie - Happy Halloween to you

    • sheilamarie78 profile image


      8 years ago from British Columbia

      Ooooooo! Spooky!

      Great idea for a lens, Ann!

    • annieangel1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @capriliz lm: thanks for visiting

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 

      8 years ago

      Sounds very eerie, and I would visit first chance I had!

    • annieangel1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @desilegend: thanks so much x

    • desilegend profile image


      8 years ago

      Hello from Ireland. I will add you lens to my Spooky lens as well.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      This is brilliant, there is nothing scarier than the ghost walk in Edinburgh, I got goosbumps thinking about it!

    • annieangel1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @retta719: You'll love it x

    • annieangel1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @annieangel1: can't find your lens :(

    • retta719 profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      One day far away when my kids are grown and off on their own the hubby and I would like to take a trip to Scotland (we never had a honeymoon) and I totally want to visit Edinbuburgh.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Thanks for adding my Top Ten Caps. I would love to visit this place. Very scary!

    • annieangel1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      @TreasuresBrenda: thanks Brenda - I'll lensroll yours here too

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Great lens, we just visited Edinburgh this summer where we visited the Edinburgh dungeon and also had a small guided tour. Lensrolling your lens to mine about the dungeon.


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