The Paranormal Database

Examining folkloric, paranormal & cryptozoological locations in the UK and beyond

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Edinburgh Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana


Location: Edinburgh - Charlotte Square
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late twentieth century
Further Comments: The tinkling of phantom ivories can sometimes be heard over the noise of traffic. In total, four apparitions have been reported from the Square - a coach, a woman in old fashioned clothing, a scruffy beggar, and a monk.

Veiled Woman

Location: Edinburgh - Chessel Court, Canongate
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1986
Further Comments: Wearing a black dress, this veiled woman is thought to be the ghost of a suicide which took place many years previous. One former occupant reported hearing heavy breathing just outside their bedroom door, while in 1986 a resident felt something climb over their bed as they lay in it. An older story relates to the original building which stood here, which was set on fire to conceal the murder of its beautiful owner. The plan worked, and several buildings were constructed as a replacement. However, when a fire broke out and devoured these newer premises, the murdered woman was seen in the flames, screaming 'Once burnt, twice burnt, the third times I'll scare you all!'.

Crying Infant

Location: Edinburgh - Corn Exchange public house, Leith
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twenty-first century
Further Comments: Heard by the staff, the spirit of the crying child also creates cold gusts of wind and flickers the lights. It is thought the child spend much of its short life locked away in a cupboard.

White Lady with Sword

Location: Edinburgh - Corstorphine Sycamore Tree (only the stump remains)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This lady, angry at being (once again) stood up by her secret lover, murdered him with his own sword. She now haunts the scene of the crime.


Location: Edinburgh - Cowgate area
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Lurking near the place he was executed, this ghost has the rope burns from the hangman's rope still visible around his neck.

Lord Francis Jeffrey

Location: Edinburgh - Craigcrook Castle, Blackhall
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 1970 (poltergeist), 2013/14 (footsteps)
Further Comments: A poltergeist in the building threw small metal items at staff, including paperclips and screws. Many years later, a member of staff reported hearing footsteps in an empty room above them and the following year two other people witnessed doors opening unaided. One story says that the castle is haunted by Lord Francis Jeffrey.

Breaking Glass

Location: Edinburgh - Cramond Inn, Cramond Glebe Road
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 2000s
Further Comments: Like so many other public houses, The Cramond suffers from a polt which is blamed when glasses break for no reason and small items moved around.

Lady Mary Douglas

Location: Edinburgh - Dalmahoy House
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Lady Mary, manifesting in the form of a white lady, is said to wander along the corridors, looking into the original rooms. Her presence is reported to be calming.

Johnny One Arm

Location: Edinburgh - Dalry area, in particular West End Place
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1979
Further Comments: John Chiesly's ghost haunted the area for 300 years, running around with a bloody stump where his arm should have been, screaming and cackling. When a one armed skeleton was found hidden under the floorboards of a local house and removed for burial in 1965, the entity was thought to have vanished forever; however more sightings were reported between 1976 and 1979, and poltergeist-like occurrences in the mid-1980s.


Location: Edinburgh - Deacon Brodie's Tavern and Brodie's Close
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The Deacon William Brodie, respected upstanding citizen by day, sly robber at night, was caught and hanged for his crimes in 1788. The novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was based (loosely) on his life. Brodie's ghost is now said to leave the tavern and quickly cross the road to the close which has also taken his name.

Viscount Dundee

Location: Edinburgh - Edinburgh Castle
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000s
Further Comments: Viscount Dundee was seen by Lord Balcarres while the lord was held in the castle. He later discovered that the Viscount had died at Killiecrankie around the time of the sighting. Note that Colinburgh Castle also claims this event for itself. A phantom drummer has been reported at the castle, said to forewarn of bad news. This ghost was blamed when the arms of a tunic on display apparently moved as if beating an invisible drum. Early in the twenty-first century, a group of workmen claimed to have photographed a glowing ball of light, though the image looks more like the reflection of the flash in glass.

The Magician

Location: Edinburgh - Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This tall, dark stranger who lurks in the shadows is thought to be part of a magic act which perished in a fire on the site.


Location: Edinburgh - Former council offices, St. Giles Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The offices were once thought haunted by a man who hanged himself on the site.

Basement Noises

Location: Edinburgh - Fraser Suites
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2010
Further Comments: Staff have reported hearing strange bangs in the basement, and a certain area down there has a cold spot which never grows any warmer, no matter the temperature outside.


Location: Edinburgh - George Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Early twentieth century
Further Comments: Jane once owned a shop along this street, which she sold on the recommendation of her friends. She regretted it almost immediately, though, and died soon after. She was seen several times post-mortem, heading along the street to her former property.

Rolling Barrel

Location: Edinburgh - Grange House (demolished 1936)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Pre-1936
Further Comments: The sounds of a barrel being rolled around the building have been reported - on investigation, no such item can be found.


Location: Edinburgh - Grassmarket
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The face of this lady, heavily scarred by fire, has been seen around the area of the Grassmarket - her and her brother were killed by the local authorities for sex crimes and black magic. Some people have also reported seeing her in a phantom coach being pulled by a team of six horses.

Cutting Ghost

Location: Edinburgh - Greyfriars cemetery
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Twenty-first century
Further Comments: The spirit, or spirits, here are said to be most upset about the way they were treated in life, and now extract revenge on the living by causing cuts and bruises on anyone who visits the graveyard. That is what the tour guides will tell you, anyway.


Location: Edinburgh - Heart of Midlothian
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Still present
Further Comments: Edinburgh's Heart of Midlothian, found in the centre of the City, marks the site of Old Tolbooth, a prison demolished in 1817. Local legend says if you spit upon it, luck shall befall you (and it's still spat upon today, so don't go too close).

Mary & Family

Location: Edinburgh - Holyrood House Palace
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Mary Queen of Scots, Lord Darnley and David Rizzio (Mary's private secretary) all haunt this building. Rizzio's death was most gruesome - he was stabbed 56 times by Lord Darnley and a group of Scottish lords. The outer door of the Queen's apartments is said to be still stained with Rizzio's blood which will not wash away. Meanwhile, in the garden, a naked ghost named Bald Agnes appears. Agnes was striped and tortured on the belief that she was a witch in 1592.


Location: Edinburgh - Hopetoun House
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000s
Further Comments: A few phantoms are said to have made their home at Hopetoun, including a former coachman seen in the restaurant (the former stables) and another figure spotted in the staff toilet.

Pale Woman

Location: Edinburgh - Hunter's Tryst Inn, Oxgangs Road
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1985
Further Comments: This white, spectral woman lurks around the one time coaching inn. One guest felt invisible lips kiss his cheek as he lay in bed.

Red Hat

Location: Edinburgh - Jamaica Street
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Late eighteenth / early nineteenth century
Further Comments: This area was haunted by a copper-coloured man in a red hat - a landlord took his tenant to court as it was believed the 'haunting' was created to control low rent prices.

Bluidy MacKenzie

Location: Edinburgh - Kirkyard, Coventanter's Prison
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 1996
Further Comments: While George MacKenzie has been blamed for the phantom attacks on sightseers at this locale, other people say it is the spirits of the prisoners. Either way, many visitors on the local 'ghost walks' have been pinched, pushed, pulled, and even cut while at this spooky site.

Elizabeth Elphinstone

Location: Edinburgh - Large house to the north of Balcarres Street, Morringside cross
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1720s
Further Comments: Elizabeth was stabbed through the heart by her husband after he found her in the arms of his son from a former marriage. The husband killed himself soon after the incident. Elizabeth's ghost took to haunting the house until the death of her stepson, when all spiritual activity ceased.

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