Ghostly 'skull' spotted during Edinburgh vaults tour - can you see it?

Another spooky sighting in the Edinburgh vaults...

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 3:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 4:03 pm

This picture appears to show a ghostly 'skull' during an Edinburgh vaults tour - but can you see it?

Kim McAllister, who was on the Ghosts and Ghouls tour with Mercat Tours, saw the spooky image as she flicked through her photographs on Monday night.

She said: "There is such an eerie feeling down in the vaults - especially when you hear all the gruesome stories about the people who lived there.

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The ghostly 'skull' was spotted while flicking through pictures after the tour. Pic: Kim McAllister.

"The tour was very atmospheric - so it was easy for your mind to play tricks on you. This picture proves there is some very weird stuff going on under Edinburgh!"

History of the vaults

The network of vaults - storage areas constructed in the late 18th century - are hidden from view deep beneath Edinburgh's bustling South Bridge. When South Bridge was completed in 1788, it had been intended for the city’s oldest resident to make the first official crossing. Unfortunately, she died immediately prior to the opening and her coffin was the first thing to cross the bridge instead. A superstition arose that the bridge was cursed as a result and many Edinburghers refused to cross it.

At their inception, the vaults were intended to be used as store rooms and also housed taverns, cobblers, a distillery and other trades. The businesses soon abandoned the vaults, though, due to their lack of light, being damp and insanitary.

Can you see a skull?

This did not deter Edinburgh’s poorest residents, however, and the vaults soon became home to the most desperate in society. The vaults also became a den of vice and nefarious practices.

In some vaults, there would be up to 15 people residing there in the damp, with scant access to light and ventilation. It is estimated that dozens of men, women and children succumbed to disease in the vaults and met their end while attempting to live within its harsh environs.

In the early 19th century some claim the vaults were frequented by Burke and Hare, who would prowl the dark chambers in the search for fresh bodies to pinch.

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Lost Edinburgh: The South Bridge vaults

Spooky goings on

Dark, cramped and ancient, the vaults are certainly spooky-looking, of that there is no argument and there have been literally hundreds of alleged ghost sightings and paranormal happenings down there over the years - some of them during conducted tours.

In 2006, the eerie vaults attracted the attention of hit TV show Most Haunted. Other TV shows, such as Ghost Adventures and Joe Swash Believes in Ghosts, have taken an interest too.

In 2015, tourist Emma Surgenor was petrified after visiting the vaults, when a photograph appeared to show The Watcher standing behind her. The story was picked up by the UK national press, with experts unable to explain the phenomena that appeared in the image.