One of the most common questions our guests ask us is “Will your guided tour of The Real Mary King’s Close be scary?”. We usually respond with a cheeky smile and emphasise that our standard tours are based on thorough research and not on the paranormal. They provide an insight into the social history of Edinburgh. We don’t run ghost tours!
Still, our historic site continues to get attention from paranormal enthusiasts from all corners of the world. For instance, the paranormal TV programme “Most Haunted” dedicated a full 45-minute episode to The Close in 2004.
Our most popular ‘ghostly’ resident is the little girl Annie, first encountered by a Japanese medium in the 90s.
On a day-to-day basis, ghostly encounters at The Real Mary Kings Close, however, are few and far between. Yet, our team who walks these history-laden spaces every day have seen and heard things which can not be explained by logic or rational thought.
With the help of some of our most experienced team members, let us share with you the mysterious and darker side of The Close – shining a light on stories that members of the public would not often get to hear.
Our first story comes from Kayleigh, a team member. At first glance, her account seems like a guest forgetting to turn off their mobile phone. Further investigation revealed, however, that this was not the case. Who knows, there may have been a wicked spirit at play, maybe even a young girl?
The second story we will share with you is from Paul, also one of our long-standing tour guides. Paul has plenty of knowledge and insight on The Close, which give his stories some real weight. This particular paranormal event took place around the time of Halloween. The Real Mary King’s Close was running special tours which shed light on the darker stories of Edinburgh’s past. Paul was not rota-ed in as a guide for these tours, but more as an accomplice to add an additional spooky element to the guest experience. To do that he had to remain in complete darkness in one of the best-preserved houses on The Close, Chesney’s House. This is where he experienced something genuinely terrifying.
The final encounter that to this day remains unexplained is told by experienced guide Victoria. The Real Mary King’s Close regularly welcomes paranormal investigation groups who hire the site for a night to see what they can find. Victoria’s exposure to the supernatural occurred during such a ghost hunt evening. The Spanish guide witnessed not only one but two occurrences that day, which left her with more questions than answers.
This Halloween, explore The Close in complete darkness, your way illuminated by the fickle light of a lantern. Join us on our lantern-led tours were we will delve into the Scottish capital’s hidden history. Besides your character guide, a former resident of The Close, meet a precarious character, who at his very sight would put fear into the hearts of the people of Edinburgh!
Blog post by Reece Thomson, F&B Team Member and International Tourism & Marketing student