Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle – one of the world’s most haunted places

(VOVWORLD) - Edinburgh Castle is the most iconic of all Scottish landmarks, where more than 14 million people attend the Royal Military Tattoo every year.  The castle, one of Scotland’s leading tourist attractions, is also thought to be one of the most haunted places in the world. Let’s hear more from Ray McRobbie, who has previously talked to us about the Loch Ness monster, in this week’s edition of Culture Rendezvous.

Hello Ray! Welcome back to VOV24/7’s Culture Rendezvous. Scotland is a popular tourist destination with some beautiful scenery and thousands of historic sites. Can you name some?

People come to Scotland to visit all the castles, to do a tour of all the distilleries where we make whisky, and to play golf if you really like golf. We are also famous for the Haggis, our national food. Of course we have the Loch Ness monster. Edinburgh is such a nice place, an amazing city. Everyone goes there every year. I don’t know the numbers but it’s very popular.

I’ve heard about ghost tours of the castle.

Edinburgh is thought to be one of the most haunted cities in the entire world. Well, it comes as no surprise that Edinburgh Castle, one of the city’s oldest buildings, has plenty of spooky stories to tell. There have been hundreds of reports of paranormal activity in Edinburgh Castle over the years. Visitors to the castle have reported a drummer with no head, the spirits of French prisoners from the Seven Years War and colonial prisoners from the American Revolutionary War - and even the ghost of a dog wandering in the grounds' dog cemetery.

Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle – one of the world’s most haunted places - ảnh 1

Very few places in the world are quite as haunted as Scotland’s Edinburgh Vaults, where the ghosts of thieves and murderers continue frighten visitors (Photo:

What was the castle used for in the past?

It was first used as a settlement around 850 AD, then becoming a royal residence in the 12th century, and a military barracks in the 17th century. The castle has seen its fair share of death, battles, torture and executions over the years. Today, people report witnessing apparitions, feeling unwelcome presences, seeing shadowy figures, being touched by non-human forces, and experiencing sudden temperature changes in and around the castle.

Tell me some ghost stories about the castle.

One of Edinburgh Castle’s most famous ghost stories concerns a young bagpiper who disappeared without a trace. Several hundred years ago, some secret tunnels were found beneath Edinburgh Castle, leading towards Holyrood House at the bottom of the Royal Mile. As the opening to the tunnel was so small, a young boy was sent down with his bagpipes to investigate.

What happened?

He played the pipes loudly as he walked through the tunnel, so people above ground could work out where the tunnel went. The pipes stopped abruptly when they reached the Tron Kirk and, although search parties were sent to find the boy, he was never seen again.

That’s so scary. Aren’t there also rumors about witches at the castle?

There have also been stories of a hollow knocking sound heard at night, attributed to ghostly workmen building the platform on which she was burnt. People have even claimed to see shadowy figures and ghostly orbs in the dungeon where people like witch Lady Janet’s servants as well as prisoners of war and enemy spies were tortured and left to die.

Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle – one of the world’s most haunted places - ảnh 2Royal Military Tattoo is taken place in Edinburgh annually in August (Photo:

Is there any scientific explanation for those stories?

In 2001, as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, Dr Richard Wiseman conducted an experiment with 240 volunteers over a 10-day period. He wanted to find out if there was any truth behind the ghost stories. The volunteers were visitors from around the world, carefully chosen so they had no prior knowledge of Edinburgh Castle’s alleged hauntings. They were led through the castle vaults, cellars and dungeons in small groups – some rooms had previous reports of ghostly goings on, while others were red herrings which were not associated with legendary tales.

What was the result of the experiment?

Volunteers reported sudden drops in temperature, seeing shadowy figures, a feeling of being watched, a burning sensation on the skin, an unseen presence touching the face, and a feeling of someone tugging at their clothes.

How did Dr. Wiseman explain these statements?

Dr Wiseman, who doesn’t think ghosts exist, argued that many of the experiences could be attributed to common psychological reactions to being left in an unfamiliar, unnerving environment. He did, however, admit that it was very intriguing that most people reported paranormal experiences in the rooms which had reputations for being haunted, despite none of the volunteers having any prior knowledge of this. Although the results of the study were inconclusive, they seem to suggest that Edinburgh Castle’s ghostly stories could be more than just fiction.

Have you visited Edinburgh Castle? Do you think it’s haunted as the rumors say?

I have been to the castle 3 or 4 times. Well, I don’t know if it’s haunted, but I feel a history there. The entire city has such a rich history with dozens and dozens of stories about the past. And very often it does involve deaths and battles. I would say if you go to any kind of castle or building when people have died in the past, you will feel a bit shivering. I’ve been to a building in America. I traveled to New Orleans and stayed at a hostel. They called it a haunted hostel because a hundred years ago, the hostel was used as a hospital for kids that had yellow fever. The place did feel spooky, but they made it even spookier by putting weird pictures on the walls. And that always gives you a bit of a shiver. You know, the castle are always old and make you think about the past and battles that people had, a lot of deaths, a lot of spooky stories and gore.

I wish I had a chance to go there. I’m a fan of ghost stories and movies. Thank you, Ray, for joining us today! Catch you next time!

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