I'm going to be honest here; I'm not too big on travelling. There's a reason the 'travel' tag is severely underused on this blog. But every now and then, given the right destination and the right time, I will enjoy a small citytrip. As it happens, I've already visited both Dublin and Edinburgh this year; I'd already been to both cities in the past and although I love both, Edinburgh's the city that has truly stolen my heart.
One aspect of my trip in April has really stuck with me, and that is Greyfriar's Kirkyard, allegedly 'the most haunted graveyard in the world'. During our trip, we decided to properly explore the graveyard with a little help from the City of the Dead tours, which I can wholeheartedly recommend.
Legend has it that Greyfriar's Kirkyard is the home of the ghost of the ruthless George MacKenzie, often nicknamed 'Bluidy MacKenzie'. His legacy consists mostly of his merciless persecution of the Covenanters, a group of people who refused to pledge allegiance to King Charles II, who denied the people of Scotland the right to practice their Presbytarian beliefs. MacKenzie was responsible for the torture and murder of thousands of Covenanters; many of them ended up in the so-called Covenanters' Prison. Right next to the prison is MacKenzie's own very imposing tomb.
Nowadays, the gate to the Covenanters' Prison is secured with a heavy padlock. Our tour guide told us that this was a safety measure taken because of the strange events occurring in and around the prison ever since a homeless man's unfortunate encounter with MacKenzie's final resting place in 1998. The man's attempt to open MacKenzie's casket seems to have triggered the poltergeist attacks; visitors of the graveyard have reported a cold presence in that specific area of the graveyard; some felt like they were being pushed away and others even dragged onto the ground. Many people experienced these sensations despite never even having heard of the legends of Bluidy MacKenzie.
Lucky for us, City of the Dead Tours had exclusive access Covenanters' Prison and allowed us in, and even into the black mausoleum, the alleged center of spiritual activity. Especially at night, the atmosphere was uncanny and it was not hard to believe that something ethereal was actually present there.
Greyfriar's Kirkyard may well be the most haunted graveyard in the world, making it an attraction for ghost hunters and adrenalin junkies alike, but during the day it's really just a beautiful, peaceful graveyard where you can waste hours just strolling around, studying the graves or simply enjoying the peace and quiet. If you ever find yourself in Edinburgh, don't skip this beautiful cemetery, and if you're not too easily scared and in for a different kind of history lesson, definitely tag along on one of the City of the Dead tours.
Do you believe in haunted places and have you ever visited any? What were your experiences? I love a good ghost story, so feel free to flesh it out (pun totally intended).