Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars (or GreyFEARS, as I choose to call it, because it’s easier to say with my corny norwegian accent) is a cemetery that was established around 1561-1562. It should be on everybody’s checklist while visiting Edinburgh.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars is known for being one of the “best” documented haunted places in Scotland. Several paranormal investigators have been there, including for example Ghost Adventures from Travel Channel. People often claim that they have gotten scratches during their visit, disembodied voices have been heard, there are supposedly “cold spots”, strange smells, feeling of extreme unease, people have been passing out, and a lot of the typical stuff a “demonic landmark” is supposed to be able to do to you. There’s even been performed two exorcisms at this place.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

The cemetery is said to be haunted by Sir George Mackenzie who is buried in Scotland’s most expensive mausoleum, and a bunch of covenanters who is buried in the locked area called Covenanter’s Prison. As I have mentioned before in  my first Q&A round, I’m not entirely convinced there are such a thing as “ghosts” (I’ve actually gotten more and more sceptic about the whole thing over the years, even though I still find the stories and myths to be inspiring and exciting). However, despite this I’m not so sure I’d be willing to stick around in that area for too long…

Here are two stories from the cemetery: The first one occured one rainy night in 1999, and is about a homeless man who broke into Mackenzie’s mausoleum to seek shelter. After breaking in, he found the chamber where the coffin of Mackenzie was contained. Like the mindset of any homeless hobo, he believed the coffin would be filled with treasure and valuables and decided to break into it. It was pitch black inside, and things escalated when he stumbled and fell into a pit filled with bones from plague victims. The man ran out of the mausoleum, terrified and screaming according to one witness.

The other story occured in 2004, when two teenagers broke into the Mackenzie mausoleum. Poor dude never gets to rest in peace! However, considering what he did to the covenanters, which rightfully earned him the nickname “Bluidy Mackenzie” (Bloody Mackenzie”) it might be easier to not feel that much pity for him. Anyway: they broke into his coffin and cut his corpse’s head off. They took it out of the tomb and placed it on the steps at the giftshop next to the graveyard gates. An archeologist from the National Museum had to come and return it. Article archive from 2004: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/apr/24/ukcrime.scotland

 

George Mackenzie’s mausoleum.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

By zooming in you can see the stairs that leads to the tomb where those teenagers broke in. Looking closely, you can also see a skullhead decoration (Memento Mori) on what to seems to be his coffin.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

Some latin letters on the wall.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

Let’s take a look at the cemetery from the start. Here we have Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar, and to the left is the gates to the cemetery.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

Greyfriars Bobby Memorial Statue on the sidewalk across the Bar.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

The cemetery gates.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

And who is this dog named Bobby, you may ask? Why does he have his own statue and a Bar named after him? Well, he has nothing to do with the paranormal aspects of the cemetery, his connection to the place is something different. It’s quite sad, but a somewhat bittersweet story.

Bobby was a Skye Terrier, born a hundred and fifty years ago. He belonged to a Edinburgh policeman named John Gray. Bobby and John were best friends and inseparable, quite literally. One winter, John fell into a terrible fever. Bobby tried to keep him warm by snuggling close to him, but John eventually died. Bobby refused to leave his dead master, and followed the funeral procession to Greyfriars Cemetery. And over 14 years he’s said to have guarded John’s grave. James Brown, the gardener, took care of Bobby who’s also buried in Greyfriars.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

When Bobby died, he was buried in a flowerpot in the cemetery. At Huntly House Museum in Edinburgh you’ll see his collar, his bowl and a real photo of him.

 

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

The closed gate to the Covenanter’s Prison.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

The closed area seen from the gate. This is the section where most of the paranormal stuff takes place, such as scratchmarks and people fainting. This section also contains the “Black Mausoleum”, where dead animals can sometimes be found in front of. The area has been exorcised twice, and is only allowed to be entered during the City of the Dead tour.

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

I get some carbonite vibes over this one..

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard

 

See also:

To be continued…

Leave a Reply

*