Are you brave enough?
This is the leading question for the City of the Dead ghost tours in Edinburgh, Scotland. I don’t know about being brave, but I love ghost tours, so obviously I decided to go.
For those of you who have never been on one, ghost tours are pretty much exactly what they sound like. You go on a walking tour of the city you’re in, except at night, to all the supposedly-haunted places in it. Even if you’re a skeptic (I am!) they can be super fun; there’s comedy value in someone trying to scare you. It does help if you’re into history like I am, because good ghost tours have historical elements woven into them.
The Edinburgh ghost tour was easily the best one I’ve ever been on. We went to two of Edinburgh’s very haunted places, the Edinburgh Vaults and Greyfriars Cemetery. Our guide was ardently committed to spooking tour attendees as necessary and swooped around in a big black trenchcoat for the duration of the evening.
The Edinburgh Vaults are the former vaults underneath South Bridge in Edinburgh, which were a sort of red light district in the city in the late 1700s. The walls literally oozed with limestone decay. There was an atmospheric, fake skeleton under a staircase. Everything echoed. I had no ghostly encounters, but did nearly jump out of my own skin when the tour guide whispered to me from behind a door. Learning the history of the vaults, it was easy to see why people would consider them haunted; they were overcrowded, rife with disease and once burned down by the city council with people living inside.
According to the Daily Beast, Greyfriars is the most haunted graveyard in the world. Again, no ghost encounters, but we got to go into a crypt — which reaches up to 30 stories beneath the ground, like a parking garage. Greyfriars is an incredibly overcrowded cemetery and so full of the opportunity for ghost stories — just like the Edinburgh Vaults. Really, this ghost tour reflected a simple principle; sometimes things are spooky mostly because they are very old. Edinburgh is very old and so it has a lot of supposed ghosts.
Ultimately, I am not coming to you like Mulder in an episode of the X Files with The Truth, but instead saying this: ghost tours are really fun and very worth it, even if you don’t believe in them. In the dark, standing and listening to the stories, you might start to believe a little — at least until the next morning.