A Super (Natural) Guide to Edinburgh

From grisly tales of bodysnatchers to wicked wizards and secret vaults, Edinburgh is definitely not short of a ghost story or two. In case you’re in any doubt, we recently captured a few of the city’s most frightening encounters on camera:

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Image via iStock: blisken

Greyfriars Kirkyard graveyard has been providing the final resting place for some of Edinburgh’s most well-known residents since 1562.  Some have refused to go quietly however. Legend has it that the graveyard is haunted by a vicious poltergeist, whose spirit was disturbed in the late 1990s when a homeless man broke into the tomb of Sir George Mackenzie.  Ever since then, shocking stories of unexplained events have been reported, including a number of incidents involving visitors leaving with scratches and bruises.


On a lighter note, the cemetery is just a short walk from the now famous Elephant House Cafe, where J.K. Rowling is said to have written much of the first Harry Potter novel. Incidentally, among the graves in Greyfriars Kirkyard you’ll see a headstone dedicated to “Thomas Riddell”.  It’s become a place of pilgrimage for Harry Potter fans who consider it something of a shrine to fictional villain Lord Voldemort.


Address: Greyfriars Kirkyard, Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QQ

The Vaults

Image via iStock: darkSideOfPink

Dating back to the 18th century, Edinburgh’s underground labyrinth of mysterious chambers only reopened to the public in 1996. In their time, the vaults bore witness to many of the city’s darkest episodes.  Some say bodysnatchers used them to store corpses for medical experiments.  There are tales of them playing host to illicit taverns and there’s evidence that they once provided hide-outs for vagrants, murderers and other unsavoury characters.


The tunnels of the Blair Street Underground Vaults are said to be one of the most haunted spaces in Edinburgh. Up for a thrill? Mercat Tours lead torch-lit visits to the closes and vaults in this area.  Along the way, cloaked guides brilliantly set the scene with hushed stories of things that may or may not go bump in the night.


For further information/to book a ghost tour, visit Mercat Tours

The Edinburgh Dungeon

Image via iStock: photomaru

Get to know more about the sinister side of Edinburgh’s history with this 80-minute interactive tour. Through theme park rides, special effects and chilling performances by specially trained actors, some of the city’s shadiest characters are brought back to life. On your journey through the dungeon you’ll discover the Caves of Galloway, the plague-riddled closes, a terrifying torture chamber and a dimly lit graveyard where the infamous bodysnatchers Burke and Hare might well be lying in wait. Certainly an entertaining alternative to museums and guidebooks.


For further information/to book, visit The Edinburgh Dungeon


Flights to Edinburgh


- Fiona Hilliard