4 Jul 2013


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

When I visited  Greyfriars Kirkyard, the famous graveyard of Edinburgh, it was a sunny day and therefore looked like a very pleasant spot. It boasts a fine view of nearby Edinburgh Castle; encloses a well-preserved section of the Flodden Wall; and is surrounded by ornate and impressive mausoleums.

Historical dates at the entrance

and the graveyard

It is a popular haunt for tourists on the trail of Greyfriars Bobby, the loyal Skye terrier who stood guard over his master John Gray’s grave until he himself died. It was impossible to take a picture of the grave because there were so many tourists standing around and I don't look like a ghost so that they would all have fainted to allow me to take a picture. 

Many of the monuments and mausoleums are engraved with horrid symbols of death and damnation: skeletons and skulls; crossbones and coffins; austere angels blowing judgement-trumpets; and ‘figures rising headless from the grave.’ Even the walls of the kirk are decorated with lurid symbols of mortality and decay.

The higgledy-piggledy old houses of Candlemaker Row border the east side of the churchyard. Many back directly onto Greyfriar’s gloomy mausoleums so that, only a few inches separate the living from the dead. Clearly, only those with very robust dispositions dare to live there. I personally wouldn't mind to live in such a cute house ! And what a nice place for my cats for mouse hunting !

Some of the graves were locked with iron bars, so that the "bodysnatchers" couldn't steal the body of the dead person. Our guide also told us that the family was watching over the grave of their beloved deads for 3 or 4 weeks to be sure that the body wasn't stolen. The deceased person had a little bell attached to a finger so that in case he would wake up he could ring the bell. Today we probably would use a mobile.

However, the kirkyard’s supernatural reputation is built not on ghostly tales of long-dead Covenanters, but instead on legends connected with their chief persecutor, Sir George Mackenzie.

An encounter with the poltergeist is the highlight of the tour, with hundreds of people claiming to have been attacked by the enitity. The MacKenzie Poltergeist is now regarded as the best documented supernatural case of all time and the tour has become equally famous.

And if you want to make a tour and be frightened to death you can buy your tickets at Ghost tour building. Unfortunately we had no time and the weather was not good either as it has to be misty and dark ! Ghosts don't like sunshine !

If you want to read more about the ghosts of Greyfriars it's here


A Lady's Life said...

Thats' so interesting. I think they also put a pipe down in case they wanted to breath.

Linens and Royals said...

That's one graveyard I would love to visit. You made it sound so interesting. Not surprised it is haunted with such a sad and gruesome past.

Life in a Small Town said...

Very interesting!

Andrew said...

Mortsafe is a new word to me. Very interesting post.

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

I can see that it would be a spooky place on a dark and misty day...
But quite a lovely little trek on a sunny one!

fredamans said...

I love touring graveyards, so much wonderful and historic things to see.

Jeanne Baney said...

Wonderful traveling via your blog! You zero in on the most interesting details!

jennyfreckles said...

Fascinating. I don't think I ever went there in all the times I've been to Edinburgh.

storybeader said...

what a neat tour! Thanks!
The buildings at the top of the post are so beautiful, but I could not live with a graveyard so close. Interesting stories! {:-Deb

Esther Joy said...

I think a sunny day is much better than a sunless cloudy dark day in a cemetery!

Anonymous said...

I love the old cemeteries, the monumental ones, I love just to walk through them and read the graves words....it's a world apart and an interesting one

Sue said...

I do love an old, picturesque cemetery with lots of history. This one has it all! Thanks for sharing.


Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I love old graveyards! The ones in New Orleans are spectacular.

GREAT post!

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I enjoy walking through old cemeteries. I always find them interesting, but I'm not sure about that one!

Splendid Little Stars said...

wonderful tour and so interesting!
I'm glad that now we have better ways of telling that a person is dead.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Great tour! You have the perfect mix of respect and humor in your post. My grandfather told me the tale of GrayFriar's Bobby when was just a little girl; I still remember it.

I wouldn't be afraid to live there...cemeteries can be beautiful and good birding places as well as full of history. (If they bury my cell phone with me, I hope it's charged!)

Jenny said...

Grand old cemeteries always intrique me.

The sense of history, pain and remembrance is so intense it gives me pause.

This is a place I would very much love to visit.

Thanks for giving us a hint of the grandeur in this glorious link to the letter "G".