Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008

Edinburgh Castle

With some 900 years of history behind it, it would almost be a surprise if Edinburgh Castle wasn't one of Scotland's most haunted sites. Since its construction as a military fortress in the early 12th century, the castle has witnessed surprise attacks, executions, and even a brief capture by the English. Reincarnated as a tourist attraction, Edinburgh Castle now offers haunted tours of its dungeons, which once hosted the likes of Duke Alexander Stewart of Albany (who escaped, stabbing his guards to death and then burning their bodies), Lady Janet Douglas of Glamis (accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake), and an unnamed piper who once wandered down one of the castle's underground passages and never returned.

In 2001, Edinburgh Castle became the site of the one of the largest paranormal investigations in history. A team of nine researchers and over 200 members of the public explored the castle's forgotten chambers and secret passages for signs of ghostly happenings. The public was not told which areas of the castle were rumored to be haunted and which were not. 51% of participants in haunted areas reported paranormal experiences, while only 35% did so in the non-haunted areas. Shadowy figures, sudden drops in temperature and the feeling of something tugging on your clothes are all everyday experiences in Edinburgh.

If the castle's paranormal activity isn't enough, Edinburgh also boasts the Mary Kings Close, an underground area of the city in which victims of the Black Plague were quarantined and left to die.