Come with me and get muddy. Imagine a place that is gray, gloomy and wet almost always yet is strangely festive.
Perhaps it is from the abundance of whisky.
Greyfriars’ Kirkyard sits behind the base of Edinburgh Castle near an area called Grassmarket in Edinburgh Scotland. It is everything you imagine an ancient European graveyard to be. Graves with markers worn smooth from time. Giant crypts of past heads of state. A saintly chapel.
Greyfriars' Kirkyard - One of the most haunted cemeteries in the world
And MANY ghosts.
Not only is it a graveyard, it was also used as a prisoner of war camp where Scottish officials imprisoned their own fellow countrymen for not abiding by British Law.
The Ghastly History
In the 1600s, thousands of Scottish Presbyterian Covenanter were imprisoned in Greyfriars’ Kirkyard for not converting to the Church of England. George Mackenzie was the Lord Advocate to the King in Edinburgh.
Image of Sir George Mackenzie, king's advocate of Rosehaugh (1909)
It was his responsibility to punish the men, women, and children prisoners as he saw fit. It is said he personally enjoyed his work. The prisoners were tortured, left out in the elements during the winter, starved, and beheaded. During his time as Lord Advocate, he killed over 18,000 fellow Scots. His reign was known as “The Killing Time”.
The ground was often red and coppery smelling from the blood, gore, and bodies. Even today it is said that the soil is 10% human DNA.
Something to think about when you walk through the mud.
The dead prisoners were buried in mass, unmarked graves in the back of the lot near where they spent their last days suffering but dying for what they believed.
Unmarked Graves in Greyfriars' Kirkyard from tortured prisoners
Credit: Shutterstock and Daily Beast
Ironically, upon his death, George MacKenzie was buried just feet away from the site of his horrific war crimes. The grave also borders the mass graves of prisoners and plague victims.
The Tomb of Sir "Bluidy" George Mackenzie - Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh Scotland
For over 300 years the dead remained at rest, side by side, perhaps accepting that death conquers all.
Then one night a vagrant vandalized the tomb of George and his family. The coffins were opened and remains defiled. During the assault, the floor of the tomb collapsed and the man fell into a pit of buried plague victims. The man was killed by the fall or perhaps the sheer horror of falling into a pit of human remains.
Haunted Greyfriars Kirkyard and its many unmarked graves
Credit: Inked In Hell
The next morning a young woman found the vandalized tomb and the dead man in the pit. As she rushed to find authorities, she began to feel as if something was choking her and she did indeed pass out.
When she was found, there were finger marks on her neck.
The Curse of the Tomb
Since then many visitors have reported scratches, burns, and bruises. It is said that the spirit of George MacKenzie was awakened and vengeful, blaming the “common folk” for disrupting his peace. He has since become known as one of the most active poltergeists in the world. Thousands of visitors have documented scratches and marks while visiting Greyfriars.
I have never felt attacked around the MacKenzie tomb but I feel as if I am always watched. I have taken many photos of the tomb and the surrounding area.
As part of one investigation, I collected a soil sample from the tomb. I leave it in a protective container. Once when I had it out to be analyzed, my dog barked at the small vile and would then run away in fright.
Remnants of cages, bones and soiled drenched with death at the Greyfriar's Kirland
Credit: Alisha Marie Klapheke
At a vile of soil.
A vile of 10% human soil.
Below is a photo I took but then put through a filter.
Look at the 2 pictures below. The one on the right is part of the original photo. The one on the left is the same picture with lineart software. Notice the face that appeared at the far left. Notice the face that appears. Also I have had guests with me report a number of orbs and light streaks in the photos at night.
Credit: Darla Tours Photography
There is no doubt, due to the horrific history drenched with tortured souls on blood soiled grounds, the testimonies of poltergeist activity and the abundant evidence that has been collected through the years, this is one of the (if not) most haunted cemeteries in the world. This certainly deserves a visit from the most curious explorers of the haunted and mysteries of the unknown … if you dare.
About the Author
Darla is a weekly contributor to Haunted Journey's "Darla's Haunted Jaunts", featured every Tuesday. Darla is a special empath known as a hilhornic. She uses this gift to escort guests to paranormal sites around the world. Her tours can be found at Darla's Tours and on Facebook.