If you’re reading this out loud to the children stop right now! This is for grown-ups only (it’s not rude, sorry!)
Back in 2005 before marriage, children and sensible career decisions I went to Edinburgh for a weekend to celebrate my housemate turning 30. I went with my lovely boyfriend at the time, now the father of my children! On the Sunday evening, I organised for the group to do a ghost walk. It was lead by an actress and for the first 45 mins was fabulous entertainment.
The tour finished in the Greyfriars Kirk, a very old church in the centre of Edinburgh with a gruesome history. We heard all about Graves so full that when it rained bodies came to the surface, a little dog who lived in the graveyard for this reason and all sorts of grave robbing in the name of medical science. The final part of the tour took us into the black mausoleum which is in a gated area called the Covenanters prison. The history for this piece of land is gruesome.
Many moons ago the Scottish Presbytarians, unhappy with the way that Charles I was running the show, had an uprising against the English. This uprising was ruthlessly quashed and those who did survive were sent to the Covenanters prison. There they were forced to lie face down on the floor all day and night until they came up for trial. There is no shelter in the Covenanters prison, so these people were open to the elements. If they stood up they were shot and I’m sure lying down didn’t prevent the odd kick in the ribs.
The person responsible for this persecution was a chap called Bloody MacKenzie. He was a total sod and thoroughly enjoyed torturing the Presbytarians. When he finally carked it he was buried just outside the prison area where he’d carried out so much of his work.
In 1999 his grave was disturbed by a homeless drunk looking for a dry sheltered place to sleep. When I say disturbed, he actually fell through the bottom of the tomb into an illegal body dump and was discovered by the caretaker climbing out of this hole covered in slime and bones (Caretaker crapped himself as you can imagine!!)
Ever since then, there has been poltergeist activity within the Covenanters prison in the Black Mausoleum.
This paranormal activity includes people being pushed, hit, scratched, burnt and knocked out. Some people have felt an invisible thing bonk them on the head. Next thing they know, they’re coming round outside. There are all of the usual cold spots etc, but the cold spots are so severe that if you don’t move you pass out.
There have been loads of investigations into this poltergeist and both dramatic changes in temperature and fluctuations in EMF readings have been taken at this site. Whether or not it’s a poltergeist can’t be conclusively proven but something funny is certainly going on.
Shortly after the poltergeist activity started Edinburgh council closed the site to the public. The man who runs the tours saw an opportunity and asked them to re-open it for his tours. He then used these tours for experimental purposes! The guides were instructed to tell people on the tour some of the symptoms of being attacked by a poltergeist but not all of them. That way he could establish whether it was a psychological effect or real phenomena.
Back to me!!!
As we walked through the gates of the Covenanters prison towards the black mausoleum (pictured above) I felt a little dread but it was also exciting. I was with my relatively new boyfriend and it kind of romantic in a horror movie type way. When we went inside the Black Mausoleum I was mildly disappointed to find it was just a room. I was expecting a large coffin with bones and blood everywhere. I stayed by the door regardless so as to ensure I didn’t feel claustrophobic (I’d never been claustrophobic previously but you never know!!)
For the first few minutes I was absolutely fine. After about 4-5 mins I started to feel a crushing sensation in my chest. I thought it might be because I was gripping the boyfriend too tightly so I loosened my grip. The pains continued. I then started to feel nauseous and my legs started to go weak. I was desperately trying to ignore the feelings as I didn’t want to miss out on seeing some-one being attacked by a poltergeist!!
It got to the point where I thought I may actually be sick. I’ve been taught from a young age it’s wrong to throw up in graveyards so I made boyfriend take me outside. Once I was standing outside the mausoleum the nausea got worse and I started having pains in my stomach. By this point I felt really weak, light headed and was bent double.
Finally, that part of the tour finished, we started to exit the prison area (me leading the way!!). As I walked away the nausea became worse and I started to wretch, as if I was going to throw up. It was a real battle to stay upright. As I got closer to the gates the wretching was really bad and I started to feel a crushing sensation in my hips which started sending spasms of pain up my back. It really hurt. Think sciatica. Once I got through the gates it all stopped – like something lifted.
So what happened to me? I told my companions what I’d experienced and they laughed their arses off. They didn’t believe me but I was shaken. The guide hadn’t mentioned the symptoms I’d experienced. We banded around theories of anxiety attack, panic attack, heart attack and claustrophobia. I was unconvinced so the following day I went into a local book shop and, low and behold, in a book on haunted Edinburgh there were a load of testimonials from people who had experienced exactly what I’d been through.
I had been attacked by a Poltergeist.
I bought the book and marched into the all you could eat pizza restaurant to meet them armed with my conclusive proof. More laughing. What kind of friends are these!
Back in London I was still really disturbed by what had happened to me so I wrote to the chap who had set up the ghost tours to tell him of my experience in the Black Mausoleum. After a few days he wrote back to me thanking me for taking the time to write to him. He then went on to offer me complementary places on the tour should I ever be in Edinburgh again. Apparently if you’ve been attacked once it’s highly likely you’ll be attacked again. I politely declined.
After a few weeks I put the incident into perspective and it became a fantastic story for dinner parties. One Saturday I was retelling a different group of friends how I’d been attacked by a Poltergeist when drunk boyfriend came out with “The only thing that I can’t explain about the whole incident is the scratches that were on your back.”
The night I’d been attacked by a Poltergeist he’d discovered some scratches on my back. When he’d pointed them out I’d started to freak out slightly so he quickly changed his story to say they were just marks from my bra. However, after 2 and a half bottles of wine on a Saturday night he changed his story.
So what made the scratches? Neither my hand nor boyfriends hand are big enough to have made the scratches. I’m not sure we’ll ever know…
PS This is not my back! I googled it but look what the Poltergeist did to her!!!!