Edinburgh Castle looms over the city, filled with paranormal activity. That’s not surprising, given that this is where many witches were burned at the stake. In 1440, the castle was also the site of the so-called “Black Dinner,” a brutal mass beheading that helped to inspire the infamous “Red Wedding” on “Game of Thrones.” Oh, and once upon a time, prisoners of war were blinded with hot irons here as well.
No wonder visitors regularly report creepy occurrences at the castle, including encountering the ghosts of military soldiers, a phantom piper and a headless drummer. An invisible specter also likes to tug on tourists’ hair.
The Niddry Street Vaults offer an equally frightening experience. First opened in the 18th century, the vaults were a place for taverns and cobblers to set up shop, but extensive flooding caused a mass exodus. After years of abandonment, the site became a home for seedy brothels and the city’s poor, who were targeted by serial killers William Burke and William Hare. The duo murdered lodgers and sold their bodies to the local anatomy school. Today, there’s reports of extensive poltergeist activity here: Lightbulbs explode, forcing visitors to stay in the dark, and one can hear the sound of bodies being dragged through the vaults.
Or perhaps you'd rather visit Mary King’s Close, where the bubonic plague spelled disaster for hundreds of people. Many have reported seeing one victim of the plague, a young girl named Annie, roaming the site, and left sweets for her to eat. After-dark tours led by costumed character guides provide historic context and maximum chills.
And then there’s West Bow, the former home of Thomas Weir. Weir was a model citizen who served in the army and went to church, but toward the end of his life in 1960, he confessed to a secret life of bestiality, witchcraft and devil worship. At first, authorities refused to believe him, but he was eventually put on trial and sentenced to death. His house was torn down and became a Quaker Meeting House. During quiet times, house staff report seeing the presence of an old man and hearing demonic voices.