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Within The Walls of Edinburgh Castle and it’s Haunted Past

Within The Walls of Edinburgh Castle and it’s Haunted Past

Scaredinburgh | Edinburgh Caslte



Scotland has its fair share of old fortresses, but none quite like Edinburgh Castle. What makes Edinburgh Castle so different from the rest is that it is, almost, a living and breathing creature. While St. Mary’s chapel is the only remaining part of the 12th century structure, the other parts have been added throughout the centuries. Giving it that organic feeling to it. Which means, as you know, with life, also comes death – which is all too frequent in old time Edinburgh.

As with most castles. Edinburgh Castle was used as a prison for criminals and political enemies of The Crown. Lore has it that one desperate prisoner escaped into a wheelbarrow full of manure, hoping he would be taken through the front gates to his freedom. This did not happen. He was wheeled to the west port side where the contents of the wheelbarrow were tipped off the edge and he plummeted to the ground, where obviously, he died. To this day, people mention the strong unpleasant smell of manure when they are close to the area, and some even report the uneasy feeling of unseen hands pushing them.


Additionally, the castles lower levels, dungeons and dark tunnels have also played host to countless tales of unexplainable experiences. Heavy breathing, knocking, hammering and moans have all been reported in these lower terrains of the fortress. All are said to be connected to Lady Janet Douglas.

Scaredinburgh | Janet Douglas
Lady Janet Douglas (image from The Paranormal Guide)

In 1528, Janet Douglas was accused of Witchcraft and conspiracy by King James V. All of her family and servants were captured and imprisoned. They were then, one-by-one, brutally tortured in order to force confessions against Ms. Douglas. Who is rumoured to have been locked in a dark room for so long, that she actually turned blind. Throughout all this, carpenters in leather aprons would walk around, crafting the wooden platform from which she was to be burned alive.


In 2001, a British psychologist named Dr. Richard Wiseman wanted to get to the bottom of these storied and managed get over 200 participants for his, shall we say, unorthodox experiment. These volunteers were then screened. The screening process was in place to try and weed out anyone who may have knowledge of the stories regarding Edinburgh Castle and its haunted past.

After Dr Wiseman had verified all of his volunteers, they set to work. Wiseman and his assistants took small groups of the volunteers on tours of the castle. Now, i said this experiment was unorthodox, what I meant to say was, unethical. Some of the volunteers were actually shut and locked into dark dungeon rooms. Wiseman said this was there opportunity to make ‘personal observations’. No matter how safe it might have been, if you to image that getting locked into a castle dungeon would be pretty traumatic.

Scaredinburgh | Dungeon
The dungeons in Edinburgh castle (image from TripAdvisor)

One woman reported that her experience was filled with odd, unexplainable experiences. Heavy breathing, which moved closer and closer to her the longer she was in the room (traumatic, right?). Others hear voices and saw shadowy figures. One group unanimously said that they has seen a man walk slowly at the end of a tunnel. They said he was dressed in old fashioned clothing and wore something strange over his torso.

It was a leather carpenter’s apron.

In conclusion, there’s something about castles. Big strong structures capable of withholding even the darkest of secrets. Few castles were built to the same standards of the modern home. Whether it be a dark dungeon or the bricked up body of a victim. The strong walls of a castle can act like the dungeons many of them are famous for, holding in¬†years of suffering, tragedy and death.