Tuesday, July 2, 2013

UK TRIP #5: Adventures in Underground Vaults and a Ghost!

Anne Marie from Across the Pond Vacations pre-booked us on an amazing tour that took us under the streets of Edinburgh and showed us a different world where people lived and thrived, before conditions got bad. Then this underground city became a place where the darker side of living moved in. The tour was historic, fascinating, and had some ghosts, too. It's the "Ghost Tour" from Mercat Tours (http://www.mercattours.com/home.asp). We had a great guide, too, The guide's name is Craig and he was informative, personable, and scared the heck out of people on purpose a couple of times in fun. More on our adventures after giving you a history.

Descending into the vaults
WHAT ARE THE BLAIR STREET UNDERGROUND VAULTS?-  Beneath the South Street Bridge stood 19 enormous arches which supported the bridge. In the arches are vaulted chambers, linked by a honeycomb of passages. The vaults were originally used in the 1780s to house shops and merchants. When it was discovered that the vaults leaked during rainstorms and whenever buckets of waste were tossed out (every night at 10 p.m., per the city ordinance at the time). The dampness and the waste was enough to drive merchants out. When the merchants left, homeless people, thieves and brothels moved in. The vaults were a maze of tunnels under the city.
  Grave robbers stored corpses in the vaults before selling them to medical schools so students could practice on them. Others stored wine in the cold, damp vaults. There were a lot of uses for that miserable space! 
   The vaults were closed down in the 1800s and filled up only to be re-discovered in the 1980s by former international rugby player Norrie Rowan, who was  developing his property on Blair Street. That's when he developed part of the medieval street built in the 1530s that led into the vaults. He arranged for the vaults to be cleared out and organized tours through them. 

The first room
The room where the "Watcher" attacks women
GHOSTS OF THE VAULTS!!     Back to our adventure:  During the telling of several stories of ghosts, death and horrible conditions, Craig, the guide would shout out in the middle of his story and startle everyone on the tour!  One time he was talking and stamped down hard on a wooden plank, scaring everyone! Craig said that since the tours started several people reported ghostly interactions. Some have seen a cobbler in one room, who is kind, quiet and appears to be comforting. Others have reported an evil "watcher" who has caused women to faint, brushed or scratched them.

Women scrambling out of the "Watcher's room!"

The hallway where we BOTH saw a shadow man cross

Left to right: A ghost's orb, Tour guide Craig, Tom

Edinburgh at 10:30 p.m. - the sun sets at 1 am!

Twilight at 10:30 p.m.

OUR GHOSTLY ENCOUNTERS - In one room, Tom told me that he felt something brush his hair, and there is no wind in the vaults. The brushing of hair is something Craig said others have reported. I felt uncomfortable in the vaults - of course, it was dark, (one light in each room), damp, cool and smelled somewhat nasty.  I kept imagining a "white light of protection" around us and I sensed evil. Apparently, I was sensing the "Watcher."
   Both Tom and I saw a dark entity cross a corridor in the next room, moving from right to left and blotting out light. There was no one in that room, and no other group in the vaults!!

   At the end of the tour we were in the last room before the stairway back to the current ground level. Everyone was crowded in the room and Craig said that a woman in the back of the room on a previous tour kept reporting a breeze, then ran out of the room yelling that someone was breathing on her neck! Once we got outside of that room into the hallway I took pictures.
  On my camera's viewfinder I suddenly saw a bright red orb (the most simple form a ghost can take) flight from right to left out of that room!  Chilling!!

ORB OUTSIDE - When we got home and looked at the photo of Tom with Craig the tour guide, there, standing on the other side of Craig was a ghostly orb! An orb is the most simple form a ghost can take.

 After the tour we needed to wind down, so a pot of tea and some scones at Martone's Italian restaurant was the perfect end to the day.

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