Grave Night Out In Edinburgh

Forget The Grassmarket – the Tour ‘The City of the Dead’ is the perfect night out. Dark, drizzly, deserted and I secretly want to laugh. Greeted by a mascaralidded man draped in something that resembles Tim Burton’s keenest fan gear, I engage boisterously with others waiting on Royal Mile in ghostbelieving banter and taunting our […]

Forget The Grassmarket – the Tour ‘The City of the Dead’ is the perfect night out. Dark, drizzly, deserted and I secretly want to laugh. Greeted by a mascaralidded man draped in something that resembles Tim Burton’s keenest fan gear, I engage boisterously with others waiting on Royal Mile in ghostbelieving banter and taunting our tour guide: ‘So, like, how many ghosts per night?’ By about quarter past ten, we were short two comrades. Bombarded with a board full of collaged newspaper clippings, without an internet café to rescue us and being practically on our way already, there is no time for secondary sourcing before setting off. These tabloid articles which name countless claims of attacks by poltergeist ‘Bluidy’ Mackenzie, namely the death of exorcist Colin Grant mean that the Tours’ forewarned ‘scratches, bruises, and burns’ become our night’s hard, cold facts. I secretly want to third-wheel our skedaddled couple.

Holding hands in Greyfriars Kirkyard, advertised by Tours as Edinburgh’s ‘most haunted’ graveyard, my choice for the ‘The City of the Dead’ session seems sensible or perhaps I mean stupid. Listening to tortuous tales of the Old City whilst trying not to step on graves and repeatedly losing our ‘guide’ quickly murders a romantic moonlight stroll. But these university-trained guides expertly know you do not want romance when their dramatic tricks very impressively add hype to already pressurized publicity. As does the recent death of exorcist Colin Grant ten years ago. ‘The City of the Dead’ mercilessly digs into the current sensationalism that surrounds the unexplained death, which reportedly occurred after a séance with Mackenzie in the Black Mausoleum. Inside the vault, we stand where we are told Grant had stood, waiting for the poltergeist attacks to start. The dim lights and tightly-packed travellers within the very confined, walled-in space works differently from a Grassmarket night club; it would have taken only an unsilenced mobile to send us all shooting out like party poppers. But I secretly want to turn mine on. After countless recounts of past tour members who have passed out, seen something, or heard something, sometimes you are left surprisingly disappointed when nothing does happen – indeed, as one backpacker said, ‘I wish he made up his mind.’ I guess some nights are better than others. Some nights someone passes out.

Though the discussion afterwards at Greyfriars Bobbys Bar avoids the question of whether the guide ‘believes in ghosts,’ the end offers a chance to recollect, yes, more freaky findings. Nobody returns home empty-handed; with a goody bag of the latest poltergeist happenings to take back, the night feels full. Never intended as a history tutorial, ‘The City of the Dead’ should neither be mistaken for a ghost ride. Thorough research into the latest local claims and media coverage offers a unique introduction to Edinburgh’s grizzly history, one that lets you see firsthand a city’s persistent preoccupation with its darker past, and even gives the chance to become part of the local hysteria. Even if we do return home as skeptics, we want to be thrilled and the Tours ‘The City of the Dead’ certainly knows this.

This is the perfect night out for anyone looking for an alternative to a Grassmarket clubbing marathon, and it promises cheap thrills at only eight pounds with a student card.
Text and Photos by Filiz Casey

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EIN KOMMENTAR ZUM FAKE

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