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5 Things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

5 Things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

Edinburgh In May | The Edinburgh Collection

5 things to do in Edinburgh in May 2017

Our picks of family friendly activities to do in the capital this month

With flowers in bloom and the sun creeping out, it would be easy to just walk around Edinburgh without ever noticing all the other events taking place. While that would be great, you would miss out on quite a lot as May promises to be an exciting month in Edinburgh, packed with plenty of family-friendly events. From cunning foxes to LEGO bricks, we have narrowed the many May happenings into 5 must-dos.

Fantastic Mr Fox
(15th – 20th May   |   Kings Theatre)

Edinburgh In May | Fantastic Mr Fox

The Roald Dahl classic has been a family favourite ever since it was published in 1970 and the 2009 Wes Anderson film captured the essence of the book and was a worthy adaption of the novel. Now, the classic story of a smart and witty fox is being adapted for the stage. This show promises to be family friendly fun at it’s finest, After all, this is Roald Dahl. So can it be anything less than fantastic?


The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial
(31st March – 3rd September   |   National Museum of Scotland)

Edinburgh In May | Egyptian Burial

Ancient Egypt has always played host to some of the most fascinating history. The Tomb is no exception. It was built in around 1290BC and was reused for over 1000 years!

The Tomb was constructed shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun, in the great city of Thebes. It was built for the Chief of Police and his wife. As you can imagine, with it being an Egyptian tomb, It was looted and reused several times. However, left behind was a collection of beautiful objects from various eras spanning those 100 years of the tomb. These objects will be displayed alongside objects found in nearby tombs, giving a sense of how burial in ancient Egypt changed over time.

Objects from this tomb and nearby tombs will be on display at the exhibition to give a sense of how Egyptian burial changed over time. It is often that the words education and fun are thrown into the same sentence, but this exhibit does promise to be a fun and educational day out for not just children but adults alike.


EdinBrick: LEGO Model Show
(20th May   |   Summerhall)

Edinburgh In May | LEGO

An event that celebrates the joys of LEGO, both creators and collectors will showcase the models of which they are most proud. There will also be areas for people to play with and experiment with LEGO.  The best part about this is not the fun of playing with LEGO, or the chance to see some fantasbrick displays. No, the best part is that all the profits go to Fairy Bricks, a charity that is brightening the lives of sick children through LEGO.


Festival Of Museums
(19th – 21st May   |   Numerous Locations)

Edinburgh In May | Festival of Museums

The festival of museums is, well, just that. It is a series of events taking place during both day and night. Including workshops, exhibits and even fashion shows. The events are hosted in museums, not just in Edinburgh, but all over Scotland.

However, Edinburgh museums specifically have announced a couple of their themes. On Saturday 19th May the City Art Centre will plan a day of creative workshops around the theme of ‘The Enchanted Garden’, whilst on Sunday 20th May the Museum of Edinburgh will hold an afternoon celebrating the music, food and costume of the 18th century.


Fair Trade Fiesta
(13th May   |   Royal Mile and Princes Street Gardens)

Edinburgh in May | Fair Trade

Fair Trade Fiesta is not for just select people, it is for people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds. The fiestas reason for being is to raise more awareness of World Fair Trade Day and, also, Scotlands recent renewal of Fair Trade Nation status and of the  Fair Trade Movement. It supports and makes others aware of its cause through a delightfully vivid Carnival Parade and an entertaining (and free) five-hour Concert with the renowned Red Hot Chilli Pipers headlining the event and a further 200+ performers.



Whisky Month

Edinburgh in May | Whisky Month

Whisky is Scotland’s national drink, and we love it so much that each year we dedicate a whole month to it! May is officially Whisky Month, with World Whisky Day on 20th May.

Pop into one of our hotels for a wee dram of whisky.

Also, don’t forget the following events this May;

Imaginate Children’s Festival – 27 May – 4 June:

European Rugby Challenge Cup Final – 13 May, Murrayfield:

Edinburgh Marathon Festival – 27-28 May:

The Ingliston Revival Festival – 13-14 May:

Edinburgh Craft Beer Festival – 26-28 May:

The Black Mausoleum: The MacKenzie Poltergeist

The Black Mausoleum: The MacKenzie Poltergeist


Disclaimer: This blog post contains graphic information about paranormal activity concerning the famous MacKenzie Poltergeist.

The MacKenzie Poltergeist | Greyfriars

Greyfriars Kirkyard. A collection of creepy graves containing even creepier history.


The MacKenzie Poltergeist is one of the most famous poltergeists in the world and his home The Black Mausoleum is often referred to as the scariest place on earth.

However, the vast majority of tourists who gather around it’s striking gates each year. Greyfriars Kirkyard is the happy place where a little Skye terrier showed it’s heartbreaking loyalty to its owner, staying by his grave every night.
To many more it is the final resting place to none other than – Thomas Riddell, who gave his name to the Dark Lord Voldemort in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books.
However, this famous Kirkyard is also the eerie location where the barbaric MacKenzie Poltergeist resides. Honored as “the world’s most recorded poltergeist”.

MacKenzie Poltergeist | The Black MausoleumThe Black Mausoleum. The Homeless Mans Bedroom. The Home of the MacKenzie Poltergeist


On a cold, rainy night in 1999 a homeless man entered the famous Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh looking for a sheltered place to sleep. A supposedly haunted graveyard wouldn’t have been my first choice for a good night sleep. But when you’re cold, homeless and down on your luck. Anything will do. He wandered through the eerie yard, stumbling over graves. Until he found himself in-front of the far-from-welcoming ‘Black Mausoleum’ (pictured above. Cosy, right?).
He figured this was big enough to accommodate him for the night in relative comfort. It was spacious enough for him to sleep in and more importantly. It was dry. So with a dry nights sleep in reach, he broke in and entered the pitch black building. He lit a match/lighter/torch/light source (records aren’t clear) and explored. In the center of the time ages floor was a metal grate, not too dissimilar to that of drain you would see on the streets. To add to his list of good decisions, he lifted the grate and walked down the spiral staircase to a darker, spookier lower level. A level that housed four wooden coffins.

Surely he turned tail and ran? No.

These coffins were old so the man thought they probably contained lots of valuables. So furthering his night of great decision after great decision he tried to open them, which didn’t work. So the clever man he is, he decided to smash them open. He stopped and took a cautious step back. He must have put all his weight in the right place. The floorboards creaked, groaned and finally gave way. The homeless man fell backwards down into a long forgotten pit. An even lower, an even darker and an even older level to this haunted Mausoleum. History suggests that this pit was used during the outbreak of the plague to illegally dump bodies in 1645. What we do know is that the pit was sealed very well. It was actually sealed so well that when this man fell onto this pile of centuries old corpses, they weren’t skeletal like you would expect. They were still decomposing.
 George MacKenzies CoffinThe disturbed coffin of George MacKenzie. (image source: UK Paranormal)

It Only Gets Stranger…

The man climbed out from the slimy, hair tangled corpse pit and ran out of the Mausoleum (his first genuinely smart move). As he ran out of the building he ran past a patrol guard who was walking his dog. Maybe it was the blood that dotted the homeless man or the coating of pale dust that covered him from head to toe. Maybe it was just the sight of a man running and screaming breaking out from a crypt. Whatever the reason, when the patrol guard saw the man emerge from the tomb. His first thought was ‘ZOMBIE’. So he turned around and ran as fast as he could back to the city (I would assume he took his dog too).
Shockingly. This is only the beginning. The homeless man’s break-in of the Mausoleum set in motion a chain of horrifying inexpiable events. The crypt belongs to a man named Sir George MacKenzie who died in 1690. As well as a renowned lawyer and Lord Advocate to the crown of scotland he was also responsible for sending hundreds of people to their death. Giving him the suitable nickname Bloody MacKenzie. This invasion of his final resting place set of a series of events that can only be explained by one angry spirit. The Mackenzie Poltergeist.

The MacKenzie Poltergeist | George MacKenzie

A Portrait of Sir George MacKenzie. (image source: Wikipedia)


The after the break in a woman was taking a walk through the kirkyard. When she happened upon the impressive Mausoleum she decided to peer through one of the small square grates in the door. As she lent forward to peer through, a strong gust of cold wind blew out from the crypt. So powerful that the woman claimed it knocked her back off the stone steps and onto the ground.
A couple of days later another woman was found unconscious on the pavement by the Mausoleum. She claimed that two invisible hands had grabbed her around the throat and attempted to strangle her. When she pulled back the collar of her shirt, her neck had ringed bruises. Bruises you would expect to see on someone who had been strangled. A few more people has similar experiences.
For other though, the experiences were more physical and more lasting. Some people have discovered scratches on their arms, chest and even neck. Some have even discovered burn marks. The majority of these marks disappear as quickly and as strangely as they first appeared. However, some people claim to have been permanently scarred. In more extreme circumstances, people have had bones broken, hair pulled and been pushed and struck. All of this is carried out by an unseen force. People often feel nauseous and numb. Not just one or two. But hundreds. These experiences tend to happen to people who look through the grates but occasionally happen to those who just wander by. They can happen immediately or sometimes they occur later.


One story though, stands out more than the others. A former police officer reported participating in a tour of the cemetery a few years ago. After returning to his hotel room that night he picked up the information booklet he received on the tour which contained all the information about the haunting. As he read, he felt a sharp pain. As if someone was trying to burn him. When he went to check, he looked in the mirror and he noticed five deep cuts on his neck beneath his chin.
The following morning, the officer went to his mothers house to tell her what had happened. He also gave her the book as he couldn’t stand having it around him any longer. When he checked on her later to ask about the book he caught her in the bathroom. She was looking in the mirror examining five large scratches on her neck, below her chin.
In addition to this story. More than 500 people have claimed to have similar experiences after visiting the Mausoleum. More than 200 of those have passed out during a ghost tour and sometimes everyone on the tour will feel the exact same thing. Often, two complete strangers will report the exact same experiences.  It’s not just people who experience the wrath of the Mackenzie poltergeist. Dead animals have been found in the area and inexpiable fires have broken out in the buildings surrounding the area. Inexpiable electrical malfunctions have also occurred in the area.


Some brave ghost-busting people have gone in search of an explanation. The theories are just as varied as the attacks themselves. One prominent idea tries to connect the unlikely dots between Edinburgh Universities artificial intelligence unit which uses high voltage machinery and the ancient sandstone beneath the cemetery. The sandstone absorbs the energy and releases it later on, resulting in strange experiences. But this is a difficult theory to get behind. Especially considering the amount of people who have been physically assaulted by the MacKenzie poltergeist energised sandstone.
The company that conducts the tours through the graveyard have spent years collecting evidence. Photographs of injuries, first hand accounts, letters from witnesses and numerous other forms of documentation. However, all these documents were destroyed in a well timed and precise fire that broke out in the tour company offices. Only their office was destroyed though. The other offices in that building and all the buildings that were in the surrounding area remained untouched. The insurance company never found the cause.


In the years following the break in at the Black Mausoleum there have been two attempts of exorcism. The second took place in 2000 just a year after the event took place. Colin Grayer, a minister at a spiritualist church and a specialist exorcist was brought into Greyfriars cemetery. While standing in front of the Black Mausoleum he performed the ceremony. After a few moments he claimed to experience an overwhelming sense of oppression. That hundreds of tormented souls swirled around him trying to break through past the thin veil between their world and ours. He said he had feared for his life and he quickly left. Before finishing.
Colin Grayer was found dead a few weeks later.
Victim to a sudden heart-attack.

STAY IN SCAREDINBURGH: If you desire to come and peer through this haunted tomb. Stay at the Old Waverly Hotel – A close, scenic walk to Greyfriars.