The Paranormal Database

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

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Lothian Ghosts, Folklore and Forteana

Pale Lady

Location: East Linton - Hailes Castle
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2000s?
Further Comments: Locals have reported strange banging sounds coming from the castle, as well as the occasional glimpse of a phantom woman in white.

Grey Lady

Location: East Saltoun - Saltoun Hall
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This shadowy female form reportedly haunts the rooms of this hall - some believe the entity to be a former owner who lost her pearls, and she now spends her time searching for the elusive jewellery.

Mr Swan

Location: Edinburgh - 12 Ann Street - private residence
Type: Crisis Manifestation
Date / Time: Late nineteenth century
Further Comments: As he drowned at sea hundreds of miles away, Mr Swan appeared to his family at the house and took the opportunity to wave goodbye before disappearing into thin air. Some report that he still returns once every few years to have a quick look in.

Young Boy

Location: Edinburgh - Canongate area, Queensberry House (no longer standing)
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This building was said to be haunted by the ghost of a young boy who was murdered (and partially eaten) at the site.

Resting Giant

Location: Edinburgh - Arthur's Seat
Type: Legend
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The rocky outcrop known as Arthur's Seat was once used as a resting place for a passing giant. In 1836 a group of schoolboys discovered seventeen tiny coffins hidden in the area, each containing a small carved figure inside. Their purpose is unknown.

Mrs Guthrie

Location: Edinburgh - Bell's Wynd - building no longer stands
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Eighteenth Century
Further Comments: The body of Mrs Guthrie lay undiscovered in a room along this wynd for 21 years. Her ghost manifested itself to a locksmith who broke in, curious to know why the flat was not being used. Guthrie's ghost appeared along the Wynd for many years after her body was removed.

Naval Officer

Location: Edinburgh - Unknown building, Buckingham Terrace
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Nineteenth century
Further Comments: This former sea captain took his own life after murdering a baby whilst drunk. His scruffy form was seen racing around the building.


Location: Edinburgh - Calton Hill
Type: Fairy
Date / Time: Seventeenth century
Further Comments: According to one story, dating back to the Seventeenth Century, a magical fairy gateway leading to France, Holland, and the fairy kingdom opened on the hill, thought which though only those with second sight could see and use the mythical entrance. A young lad claimed to have access to the gate and would act as a drummer to the many fairies who used the portal. The lad claimed to be needed on a certain date by the little people, and despite all physical efforts to force him to miss the meeting, the lad slipped away from his wardens and was never seen again.

Figure in Black

Location: Edinburgh - Canongate
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1980s
Further Comments: Standing tall, this figure in black was spotted by a witness as they walked towards each other. It vanished when they reached touching distance.

Deacon Brodie

Location: Edinburgh - Castle Hill and Royal Mile
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Brodie is reputed to walk this area, carrying a lantern. A coach pulled by a team of black horses (which sometimes breath fire) s also said to start its journey here before travelling along the royal mile. The coach is filled with people in black garb. Another phantom, General Dalzell, rides the same route, but this time on a white horse.

Invisible Energy

Location: Edinburgh - Chalmers Close
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: 02 March 2006, around 20:30h
Further Comments: An invisible force of energy hit a mother and son in the chest before rushing past them at the top of Chalmers Close - both were shaken by the event. A few seconds prior to this, the pair had seen a red headed girl running towards them - they stopped to let her pass, but she turned off.


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!'.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


Location: Edinburgh - Last Drop Tavern, Grassmarket
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 2007
Further Comments: Identified by visiting psychics, Maria is believed to have been murdered in the eighteenth century. The phantom girl now makes her presence known by poltergeist-like antics; cups move and items fall from shelves, though nothing is ever broken.

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