We took a ghost tour with Witchery tours. They have an “Adam Lyle” tour. It’s usually a young man who is dressed up as a dead guy and takes you through the “haunted” streets of Edinburgh. I’d give the tour a 7 out of 10. It was good for kids – it’s not too scary – and it involves some random moments of “surprise” from characters that “pop up” on the tour. But I think I wanted a scarier, more nerdy historical tour so maybe next time I’d go for a “more serious” guide. But overall, I still saw a lot of scary places Edinburgh has.
We saw a number of closes. “Closes,” are alleys in Edinburgh. They are called closes, because historically you could hold your hand out of your window and touch the hand of your neighbor’s from their window across the alleyway. These are very narrow, and have been made wider with construction through the centuries.
Each close is names after someone or something significant that was once there. Like, “Fishmarket’s Close” or “Mary King’s Close.” Of list of those along the Royal Mile can be found here. Mary King’s close is supposedly one of the most haunted closes in Edinburgh.
During our tour we learned about one story in particular that was quite sinister from Edinburgh’s past. What now stands as the backdoor of a night club is where two notorious body snatchers reigned over Edinburgh for almost a year, collecting 16 bodies. But unlike traditional body snatchers, their victims were …. alive.
In 1828, Edinburgh was known as a place for surgeons to study. The city was known for its anatomy schools. Attending anatomy school was necessary to become an adequate surgeon. So, the schools in Edinburgh would use cadavers when teaching. Most of the dead bodies belonged to prisoners, suicide victims, and orphans.
A serious problem began when attendance at the Anatomy school rose, so did the need for dead bodies to practice on.
Two Edinburgh men owned a lodging house and one morning made the unfortunate discovery of their dead guest. The guest had died in the middle of the night and they did not know what to do with the body. They decided to sell the body to a local Anatomist teacher and doctor, Dr. Robert Knox. After having a taste of the money this got them, the two men – William Burke and William Hare – decided to lure more people into their lodging house each night. They would give the guest alcohol until they were good and drunk and then during the night, they would murder their victims by strangulation or suffocation. The pair committed murder 16 times between November 1827 to 31 October 1828.
When they were caught William Hare gave all the details to the police and William Burke was hung for the murders. Dr. Robert Knox was never charged. After Hare was released, he took off to England and no one saw him ever again. To hear more, listen to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts about this sinister tale here: http://www.lorepodcast.com/episodes/43
After our ghost tour Paul and I had MEXICAN food in SCOTLAND. I didn’t want to, but a week into our trip Paul was missing his favorite type of food. Needless to say it wasn’t the same. lol. But we had a good dinner out.