Get a Thrill in Edinburgh

The sun goes down while the cold creeps around your neck. The wind blows strongly and a woman is screaming so loud that her voice puts your teeth on edge. Be glad that you are not alone, because now it is time for a Ghost Tour in Edinburgh. The conditions couldn’t be better, could they? […]

The sun goes down while the cold creeps around your neck. The wind blows strongly and a woman is screaming so loud that her voice puts your teeth on edge. Be glad that you are not alone, because now it is time for a Ghost Tour in Edinburgh. The conditions couldn’t be better, could they?

When the church bell stops ringing our tour guide Han­nah stops screaming. With her dark hair, pale face, lop­sided teeth and the black, dirty coat, she is perfect for her role.
Torture, hangings, mur­ders, body snatchers and ghosts. This is what the tour will be about. It’s cer­tainly not about fairy tales! Hannah mentions that the stories are based on his­torical facts. Moreover, the tour doesn’t take place in a nice room. We have to walk through dark alleys and the vaults of Edinburgh.
Our tour starts at the Mer­cat Cross on the Royal Mile where Hannah is tell­ing cruel stories. At first most people are smirking or laughing, because some of the participants have to play act. For instance, Han­nah uses one woman to show how hangings were done. So the tour is a mix­ture of horri­ble facts and creepy sto­rytelling on the one hand and funny moments on the other.
H o w e v e r , when we enter the dark vaults and smell this old, mouldy air, my heart starts beating faster and faster. And to add to this, Han­nah warned that the vaults are like a labyrinth and no­body can escape without her help. So we have to stick to the group. The only light comes from some candles, adding to the atmosphere. It’s good to know that there isn´t any wind that can blow them out. All at once, the air becomes colder and colder. It wasn’t just in my imagination. Everybody felt it.
Every room we get to is the home of another ghost. We get to know the watcher who is very evil and hates to meet people in his vaults or Johnny, a little boy who is searching for his mother. For this reason he grabs the hands of blond women with his ice-cold fingers. You will definitely feel afraid when you feel something like this.
Fortunately, I didn’t see a ghost on the tour, but there is a woman who took a ran­dom photo of a ghost. Some weeks earlier, our guide saw a spir­it as well: «This was an unu­sual expe­rience for me. The p r o b l e m is: when I panic everybody panics! I have to be very calm.»
It is okay to be sceptical but even if you don´t be­lieve in spirits the tour will be blood-curdling. Maybe there are things that don´t happen in reality, but in your imagination every­thing can appear to be quite real.
Standing in an empty vault in a dark corner next to the wall made me shiver. It is this unpleasant feeling that there is something behind you, but when you turn around there isn’t anything. At least nothing you can see with your eyes.
In my opinion, the whole tour is like an experiment with people’s thoughts. You have to get into it. Let your imagination run wild. Then you will definitely enjoy the tour.
It’s not surprising that the ghost tours in Edinburgh are so popular. «It is the nature of the city. It is fan­tastical and mysterious and don’t forget that Edinburgh is the most haunted place in the world. The tours are very entertaining and it is what people want to hear», says Hannah. Edinburgh has the reputation for the paranormal.
by Kassandra Puderbach

Team Edinburgh March 2012

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