As part of Edinburgh’s first ever Feast of Gothic Horror, a new four-day event from people behind The Edinburgh Horror Festival, paranormal illusionist Ash Pryce will recreate a series of underground ‘cabinet’ séances in The Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street, later this month.
Reputed to be among the most haunted locations in the world, the vaults and tunnels beneath South Bridge have long been popular with ghost hunters.
Pryce explains, “The cabinet is one of the more intriguing creations to come out of the Victorian Spiritualist movement.
“Essentially, you have your medium tied up, sealed in either a wooden cabinet or curtained area.
“Once sealed inside, other items left with them appear to come to life or be thrown around.”
Those witnessing this were convinced it was the work of the long departed and those attending Pryce’s recreations will find they have their part to play too.
“A lot of seances can be quite passive, but we wanted to bring the audience right into it,” he says, “So we will have people on stage and some will be able to try the Ouija Board for themselves.
“One lucky, or unlucky, individual will even get the chance to go into the cabinet,” he promises.”
The Underground Seance will be the highlight of this year’s Feast of Gothic Horror, which runs from 20-23 March.
The other shows playing nightly over the four days are a one-woman performance by Noni Townshend of H.P. Lovecraft’s Pickman’s Model, which tells the tale of a young woman drawn into the disturbed world of an artist’s madness.
Oliver Giggins, meanwhile, will be performing a theatrical reading of Oscar Wilde’s ghost story, The Canterville Ghost.
Drawing on the history of the vaults and their associated ghostly goings on, Pryce believes The Banshee Labyrinth is the ideal venue for spooky shows.
He hopes to draw on the energy and history of the space for the performances, especially the underground seance.
“Of course, as a magician I’d say what we’re doing is for entertainment purposes, though many do believe the area is genuinely haunted, so I’d suggest caution, after all, the spirits may not know its just a show.”
Should any ‘real’ spirits join in, the entertainer insists he is ready for them,
“Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s always useful to take precautions - I’ll have my trusty Ouija Board and know how to use it.
“However, more importantly, there will be well sign-posted emergency exits.
“If something really does come through, a swift exit can be as good a plan as an exorcist with a gallon of holy water.”
The Feast of Gothic Horror, The Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street, 20-23 March, from 7.15pm, £5 per show (Feast Pass £12), www.edhorrorfest.co.uk/shop