Edinburgh is known as Britain’s ‘most haunted capital’ by some and with a dark history of sinister grave-robbers, savage monarchs and deadly plagues that saw piles of hundreds of thousands of bodies accrue… It’s no wonder as to why.
Regardless of whether or not you’re a believer in the paranormal, it never hurts to get into the ‘spirit’ of ghosts and ghouls especially around Halloween as this ancient festival was deeply traditional to Scotland even before being celebrated worldwide.
What’s more, there’s no better place to do this than Edinburgh as the Capital city holds a dark history that would send chills down your spine - and with ghost tours, occult spots and haunted buildings aplenty it’s the best place at the best time to explore its spooky underbelly. After all, locations like Greyfriars Kirkyard alone still contain at least half a million bodies packed beneath the thin crusts of its soil.
With all that said, here are ten of Edinburgh’s most haunted locations.
1. Lauriston Castle
Lauriston Castle is a 16th-century tower house that was destroyed by the "Rough wooing" raids of English troops in 1544 meaning it has seen its fair share of bloody history. In recent years, paranormal aficionados were shocked after a man shared a photo of a mysterious figure standing by one of the castle's windows - no individual in such an attire was reported to be at the castle that day, adding to the ghostly mystery. Photo: Submitted via Drew Mcadam
2. The South Bridge Vaults
Concealed beneath Blair Street, you can find the South Bridge Vaults which are a series of hundreds of creepy subterranean chambers that are closed off from the rest of the city. They opened in 1788 and were originally used for businesses or storage but were soon abandoned when the chambers began to flood. The vaults, however, would go on to become the site of slum houses for poor city residents and illicit brothels, crime became rife here and robbery and murder was common. Infamous grave-robbers Burke and Hare also reportedly hunted for victims in the vaults as they were said to target people that "no one would miss." Photo: David Cheskin
3. West Bow
West Bow, found between the Grassmarket and Victoria Street, was once home to one of Edinburgh's most disturbing houses, the home of Major Thomas Weir or the "Wizard of West Bow". Weir was executed in 1670 after committing a string of shocking offences including incest, bestiality and even communicating with the dead. Local legends report that even after his death, with the house uninhabited, lights would appear inside at night time and strange shadows would dart by the windows. There were even reports of a ghostly coach with six fiery horses that was spotted outside his home occasionally. Photo: Submitted via Greg Macvean
4. Greyfriars Kirkyard
This location may be better known as the home of the loyal dog Bobby, but it is also home to a far more sinister and violent presence; the Mackenzie Poltergeist. Stories of this entity began in the late 1990s, reportedly a homeless man disturbed the being as he broke into the Mackenzie mausoleum in search of shelter but in doing so prompted a series of reoccurring and violent ghostly attacks on people dwelling nearby. Between 1990 and 2006, over 350 people reported being attacked in this area of the graveyard, regardless ghost tours continue here to this day. Photo: theasis via Getty Images Signature