Browsed by
Tag: Scaredinburgh

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.

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.