The Edinburgh Vaults
Edinburgh, Scotland is claimed to be one of the most haunted cities in the United Kingdom. A beautiful place, lined with busy streets, but lying just beneath this glorious façade is a series of dark chambers with a brutal history dating back hundreds of years, known as the vaults.
The Edinburgh Vaults were constructed in the late 1700s underneath the city’s South Bridge, which was built to connect different areas and increase accessibility within Edinburgh. 120 chambers were created beneath the bridge, to be used as storage and house businesses such as cobblers, stores and taverns.
Due to the porous rock used to make these vaults and issues with flooding, it didn’t take long for the vaults to become inhospitable and many of these businesses decided to move on, leaving the vaults abandoned. Although initially intended as a means to support business and connect the city above, it didn’t take long for the vaults to draw in the city’s underbelly once empty.
The Vaults eventually became a place where many homeless people sought refuge, but also where criminals lurked. Illegal gambling dens, prostitution rings, un-regulated distilleries and even the storing of illegally obtained corpses occurred here before they were sold for medical purposes. With the cramped, cold, wet conditions came disease and many deaths within the Edinburgh Vaults, leaving many to believe that they remain haunted to this day.
Ghosts of the Edinburgh Vaults
Many to enter the Edinburgh Vaults have claimed to encounter paranormal entities and a number of ghosts to roam there are quite famed. The best known spirit is commonly referred to as Mr. Boots or sometimes the Watcher. He is thought to have been a City Guard who patrolled the vaults in life and remains, trapped, in death. He reportedly wears heavy, black boots (hence his nickname) and a large pointed hat. Countless people have claimed to sight him, capture his image in photographs or hear his footsteps echoing through the tunnel system.
Another well known spirit is that of Jack, a young boy who perished within the vaults when he was working for illegal smugglers. He is said to be in search of a new parental figure and many claim to feel a slight tug on their clothing, hair or even a cold little ghost hand grasp onto their own. This is believed to be Jack and he typically interacts with women and other children most.
Another spirit is said to linger around a stone circle in one of the Vaults, which is of a darker nature. Allegedly, this vault was selected by a Witches Coven to practice their magic. This Vault, however, always felt a little off to them and as though it contained a dark and hateful energy. The coven ended up moving to a new vault, where they formed a protective circle and always felt welcomed. They supposedly turned their original stone circle into the opposite of a protective circle, making it a space that attracts and then traps evil energy. It is said that many people who enter this stone circle will obtain mysterious scratches onto their body, days after their visit.
Though darkness exists in the original Witches Circle, the vault where their new protective circle was formed can also be active with the paranormal, though not of a negative nature.
A number of other spirits, including that of a wailing Banshee are thought to have taken up residence in the Edinburgh Vaults, though not all of them have names. Countless reports of sighting shadow figures, hearing voices and even seeing orbs of light exist in this very haunted location.
Visiting the Haunted Edinburgh Vaults
The Edinburgh Vaults can be visited via tours run by Auld Reekie. They are a fascinating place to visit with many grim stories of death and ghosts to share, though they are also eerily beautiful.
If you enjoyed this article you may also be interested to learn of the haunted Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, just down the road from the Edinburgh Vaults.
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