Standing at one end of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile (measured as a Scottish mile which is somewhat longer than the English one), the fortress of Edinburgh Castle has stood since the seventh century and has a violent history. Small wonder then that some of those who suffered as a result of this, have left their mark, and indeed their spirits.
The castle has been at the heart of many a siege and bloody battle for control and was re-fortified in the twelfth century. King Henry took it in 1174, Edward I captured it in 1296, followed by a successful recapture by the Earl of Moray in 1313. Then, in 1650, Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army stormed and took it. All these and many more battles resulted in a horrific cost in human lives.
Over the centuries, reports of ghostly and other paranormal activity are rife and not confined to the psychic or those with overactive imaginations. Soldiers guarding the castle are a pretty stoical lot but one, on seeing an apparition, passed out in a dead faint.
One of the most often seen is a headless sentry, although he is sometimes witnessed in his other persona as a drummer boy.
Another spirit, most frequently heard rather than seen is believed to be that of a piper sent down to investigate tunnels running from the castle down the Royal Mile. He descended the tunnel and played his bagpipes to let everyone know he was alive and well. Then the pipes stopped. He was never seen alive again but to this day, the mournful sound of his pipes is heard in the castle and along the Royal Mile.
With this and much more spirit activity, it is small wonder that the castle was crying out to be the scene of a major paranormal investigate and this happened eighteen years ago, in 2001. A ten day investigation involving a team of nine researchers and over 200 ordinary people wandered the castle’s forgotten chambers and secret passages – and Edinburgh Castle is a huge site with plenty of these on a variety of levels, being perched on top of the hill. No one briefed the members of the public on which areas were reputed to be haunted and which were not. The results were interesting. 51% of those who had been in the haunted areas reported inexplicable experiences there and only 35% reported similar occurrences in areas where no paranormal activity had been previously reported. The experiences most commonly included seeing shadowy figures, sudden drops in temperature and having their clothes tugged by unseen hands.
Edinburgh Castle has frequently acted as a military prison where men captured in battle from France, America, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Denmark and Poland existed in frightful dark, damp, dirty and insanitary conditions where disease was rife. Visitors have reported sightings of men who fitted that description – ghosts unable to leave their jail in death as they had been unable to in life.
Edinburgh Castle is a fascinating, atmospheric and massive place to visit. No trip to Scotland’s capital is complete without it and if you happen to encounter a ghost or two, send them my best wishes…
Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…
In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released. Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face? The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real.
The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.
The Haunting of Henderson Close is available from:
Barnes and Noble
Flame Tree Press
About the author:
Her novellas include Linden Manor, Cold Revenge, Miss Abigail’s Room, The Demons of Cambian Street, Dark Avenging Angel, The Devil Inside Her, and The Second Wife
She lives near Liverpool with her long-suffering husband, and a black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue.
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