All over Edinburgh, well the tourist parts, there are signs for doing ghost tours and scary history tours and underground tours. It was the underground part that caught my attention. So, I decided to do one of the tours, the Double Dead tour with the City of the Dead tour company. The Double Dead tour was for an underground tour and a cemetery tour all rolled into one ‘scary’ package. I decided to do the 8 pm tour, because I was pretty sure that the 10 pm tour would give me nightmares. The tour was … interesting. On one had there was some pretty interesting history about Edinburgh and on the other hand there was some really lame discussion of all the ‘sightings’ and ‘paranomal events’ that have happened on other tours.
First we had a bit of an introduction to why Edinburgh has any underground – they were a walled city and ran out of room on top so they decided to build down. I think this is the most disappointing part of the tour because this was not the underground part that we were going to see. There is a second underground city in the archways, or vaults, of an old, massive bridge that used to span the city. Some of the archways are still used as bridges and the rest are hidden inside buildings.
This ‘underground’ part was where slums used to be in the city. Homeless people and the destitute were forced to live in these vaults to get them off the streets. Admittedly the vaults were spooky. They were dark and damp and had drips that fell from the ceiling and scared people. But do I believe for one second that there are ghosts – no, not really. The tour guide, Katie, did about half history and half ‘oh this is what has happened on other tours’. I know, I’m a skeptic, but I don’t believe that the ghostly figure of a man walked back and forth in the vault while she was doing a tour for a bunch of girl guides. It was probably a shadow from the candle she was using. The inside vaults were separated into different levels, so the pictures show an entire vault but the ‘underground’ ones were split up into little rooms. I didn’t take any pictures inside because it was just too dark and a flash would have blinded everyone. Most of the vaults are privately owned and the tour companies rent the rights to one vault. The vault next to the one we visited appeared to be a nightclub or venue for private functions. I think it was called The Cave. There were people in fancy outfits going in and out. Awesome.
Then it was off to the cemetery. I like cemeteries – they are peaceful and usually have grass and trees and are not scary at all. This one was built on top of an old plague pit so it was on a bit of a mound. There was also a rather horrible massacre here over some sort of religious freedom issue some hundreds of years ago. Katie said that in times of excessive rain bits of bone ‘float’ up through the dirt to the surface. Eeeeww. That is rather gross. The part of the tour that I found the most hokey was the claims that the ‘tomb’ we were going to visit was haunted by a poltergeist. I put tomb in quotes because it was one of those above ground mausoleums but it was empty and if there was an underground crypt it was covered over. Katie warned us several times that the poltergeist had caused bruising and bite marks on people who had taken the tour before. She refused to stand in the vault with us and hovered in the doorway. Nothing of note happened during our tour. They did have a guy jump out and scare us while we were in the tomb, but there was no paranormal activity.
So, was it worth it to do the tour. Yes. It was an entertaining hour and a half and I got a student rate – don’t know how that happened but it was awesome. One of the other tour goers said that each company goes into different vaults and does different tours, and that he and his friend were going to do at least one other tour, maybe another. That is quite the dedication to scary tours. If I could have figured out whether the actually underground part was open anywhere I would have made an effort to do that, but overall it was a fun evening.