Haunted Bri­tain: Ed­in­burgh Vaults

Each month, co­me­dian Barry Dodds and his side­kick Re­becca Kirk spend a night in a dif­fer­ent haunted lo­ca­tion.

Chat It's Fate - - Contents -

Kirk’s Para­nor­mal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Re­port:

9pm: The night air is fresh as we meet Clau­dia from Mer­cat Tours at Ed­in­burgh’s old mar­ket square. After a short walk to the ten­e­ment-flanked South Bridge, she un­locks the heavy door into the vaults, re­veal­ing a stone stair­case wind­ing down into ut­ter dark­ness.

Dodds chooses this ex­act mo­ment to qui­etly ad­mit, ‘I’ve had a para­nor­mal ex­pe­ri­ence down here be­fore.’

As white as a sheet, I turn my gaze from the dark­ened abyss to him and mut­ter, ‘Per­haps wait un­til we get out of here to tell me about that one.’

9.35pm: We be­gin our slow de­scent into the op­pres­sive vaults. Good­bye starry sky! Good­bye fresh air! Good­bye nor­mal­ity!

So much his­tory

9.40pm: The peaty, damp cor­ri­dor floors are un­even, the stone ceil­ings low. We pass sev­eral small cham­bers as we edge down the hall by can­dle­light.

‘Just imag­ine what these walls have seen,’ Dodds muses.

I place my hand on a wall and shut my eyes. His­tory feels close, as if the walls are

yearn­ing to talk. 10pm: We en­ter the first big cham­ber, the Dou­ble Height Room, and hear bang­ing be­hind us from the cor­ri­dor we’ve just passed through. I quickly point my cam­era in that di­rec­tion and take a se­ries of pho­tographs. In­cred­i­bly, there are two small green wisps of light at leg-level on one of them. ‘Could it be a lens flair?’ I won­der.

‘Peo­ple of­ten think we’ve set up light pro­jec­tions in this

There was bang­ing be­hind us

area,’ Clau­dia tells us. ‘An il­lu­mi­nated man is seen in this top cor­ner, another in this door­way. We have never set any­thing up –the Vaults speak for them­selves.’ Hmm… per­haps my own cap­tured il­lu­mi­na­tions are the walls talk­ing to us after all?

Se­cret pub

10.25pm: ‘This is the Se­cond Tav­ern Room,’ Clau­dia tells us as we move into the next cham­ber. ‘A no­ble­man has been of­ten spot­ted here over the years, which is thought to have been an il­licit tav­ern due to the oys­ter shells and bro­ken bot­tles found here when the rub­ble was cleared out.’ Strange smells, drag­ging sounds, cold spots and the tug­ging of clothes are of­ten also re­ported. We spend some time mon­i­tor­ing our equip­ment in this room. Dodds’ legs be­come freez­ing cold, while my tem­per­a­ture goes un­changed.

11.05pm: We walk to the much friend­lier Cobbler’s Room, said to be haunted by a mid­dle-aged man and a child. Medi­ums say this is a ‘safe room’. While the man likes to in­ter­act with chil­dren and check out visi­tors’ shoes, the neatly-dressed child spirit is of­ten seen in the cor­ner where a de­liv­ery chute is thought to have been.

We call out into the dark­ness but our only re­sponse is the oc­ca­sional drip of wa­ter hit­ting the ground near our feet.

Flick­er­ing flame

Mid­night: Dodds and I stake out the White Room, where a ter­ri­fy­ing ghost known as ‘The Watcher’ is said to re­side. He is de­scribed as tall with a blurry face, wear­ing a dirty blue jacket and heavy leather boots.

‘Peo­ple have been bruised, scratched and pushed in this room,’ Clau­dia mur­murs. ‘He blows out can­dles and whis­pers ‘get out.’ ‘You could blow out the can­dle if you want us to leave,’ Dodds sug­gests to the spirit. The flame wa­vers and I ex­pe­ri­ence a full body shud­der. ‘I-I don’t think we need to wait for the whis­per,’ Dodds de­cides. We do not ar­gue!

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