I am visiting Sue Vincent‘s fascinating blog, Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo, with a post about my family’s visit to the Edinburgh vaults. It was quite a hair raising experience.
Thank you, Sue, for having me over.
The South Bridge Vaults in Edinburgh, are hidden beneath one of the city’s busiest street, and can be accessed by the public through guided tours of a few of its subterranean chambers. The vaults comprise of a series of approximately one hundred chambers which were built in the nineteen arches of the bridged in 1788.
The vaults were originally used by local businesses as workshops and for storage but they were abandoned when the chambers began to flood. Subsequent to the businesses moving out, the vaults developed into a slum area, inhabited by people needing a place to stay. Unfortunately, the slums also attracted a number of human predators. Crime quickly became rife and the vaults are purported to have become a hunting ground for the infamous body snatchers, Burke and Hare, who murdered people and sold their bodies to Robert Knox, a Scottish anatomist, zoologist, ethologist, physician and lecturer on anatomy in Edinburgh, who used them for dissection at his anatomy lectures.
During our recent visit to Edinburgh, we decided to go on a day ghost tour of the Edinburgh vaults. Our guide pointed out some sights on the bridge and shared some interesting information about them and then took us down into the vaults beneath it.
Entering the famous vaults, we found ourselves in a wide and cold tunnel with three rooms built into its left hand side. I went over and looked into the first chamber. It was a museum which had been used by a group of local Wiccans for their rituals up until fairly recently when the leader of the Wiccan group died. The group had taken responsibility for freeing the vaults from the disturbing presences of the various ghosts a poltergeists that resided in the chambers. The museum featured a pentagram and wands hung from the walls. There was also a stone circle in the centre of the room.