Friday, July 12, 2013

UK Trip #15: Greyfriars Kirkyard Cemetery and a Vicious Ghost

   While touring Edinburgh, we kept seeing post cards with pictures of a dog statue in the local shops. Of course with us being dog lovers, our curiosity was piqued to find out what the story behind the statue was all about. So we queried one of the locals about the statue and learned that the little dog, dubbed "Greyfriars Bobby," was well loved by the city's residents and buried in Greyfriars Cemetery. Wanting to know more, we located the cemetery on a map and decided to go there. More on Greyfriars Bobby in the next blog.
 Greyfriars Kirkyard and Edinburgh Castle
   Greyfriars Kirkyard, or cemetery, is located at the southern edge of the Old Town. Burials have been taking place on the site since the late 16th century. The name "Greyfriars" originates from the Franciscan friary once located on the site, but dissolved in 1559. The graveyard was founded in 1561-2, to replace the cemetery at St Giles, which had been filled.

  From the book "The Ghost That Haunted Itself" by Jan-Andrew Henderson, we learned that the cemetery inspired an amazing array of famous authors to write their classic horror novels.
  A CHRISTMAS CAROL - In 1841, Charles Dickens visited the cemetery and mis-read the engraving on the tombstone of "Scroggie", which led to the naming of "Ebenezer Scrooge" in his famous story.
  DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE - Robert Louis Stevenson visited the cemetery often, which accounts for the inspiration of many of his stories, including "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
  DRACULA - Bram Stoker visited the cemetery during the writing of his famous novel about the famous vampire.
  FRANKENSTEIN - Mary Shelley was on her honeymoon in Edinburgh during the time when corpses were being stolen from city's graveyards and being delivered to the local medical schools and universities for practice autopsies. Soon after her visit she penned her famous novel "Frankenstein."

    I'm reading "The Ghost That Haunted Itself" and it's about a famous ghost they call the "McKenzie Poltergiest" that haunts that graveyard (although it's a ghost, not a poltergeist). McKenzie's ghost was re-awakened in 1999 when a homeless man invaded George McKenzie's crypt (buried in 1691) to find shelter. Since then McKenzie's ghost has caused many people on tours to black out, scratched them, blackened one of their eyes, brushed against them, pulled hair and more.       
      McKenzie was responsible for more than 1,800 deaths of people who were Presbyterian and wanted to keep their religion. Just before he died, the new king allowed for the people of Scotland to keep their Presbyterian faith and McKenzie was furious. Everything he murdered people for was now for nothing (he was trying to keep Scotland Catholic).
    Now his ghost haunts part of Greyfriars Cemetery and has been chained off so people can't get attacked by him anymore. We didn't know about it when we were there, and I wouldn't have ventured over. 
   The book says that 27 people fainted after feeling icy cold and being almost suffocated. Others walked away with bruises, black and blue marks or scratches on their bodies. A priest that did an exorcism in 2000 died not more than 2 months later, after reporting he was exhausted from the experience. Not a place to mess with. 
  THE BOOK SUMMARY: Greyfriar’s Cemetery in Edinburgh has a centuries-old reputation for being haunted. Its gruesome history includes witchcraft, body-snatching, desecration, corpse dumping, and live burial. In 1998, something new and inexplicable began occurring in the graveyard. Visitors encountered “cold spots,” strange smells, and banging noises. They found themselves overcome by nausea, or cut and bruised by something they couldn’t see. Over a period of two years, 24 people were knocked unconscious. Homes next to the graveyard were plagued by smashing crockery, moving objects, and unidentified laughter. Witnesses to these incidents ran into the hundreds. The section of Greyfriars where the attacks occurred is now chained shut, but the poltergeist still grows stronger.
 To order:


Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next