As someone who has always had a sick fascination with horror and ghost stories, I was keen to give this tour a try. I wouldn’t say I believe in the paranormal but whether you’re believer or not, this tour has something for everyone. For those interested in history, it offers an insight into the cruel, filthy streets of the Old Town. For those wanting entertainment, the guide offers cheeky humour typical of a traditional Scot. And for those who love a good jump scare this is certainly the tour for you.
We start our tour outside the stunning St Giles’ Cathedral and meet our guide, Kev. Dressed in a long black leather coat and a warm smile, Kev starts the tour with a loud booming voice and a warning. A warning that three thousand visitors (or victims) of this tour have experienced something of the paranormal. This tour stands out from the huge number of grisly Edinburgh tours, because this one holds the key to the Covenanters’ Prison, allowing us to get up close and personal with its poltergeist. Kev tells us that we cannot sue but eighteen have tried, raising our expectations considerably.
The walk is short and the main focus is Greyfriar’s Kirkyard; where we hear about George Mackenzie, William McGonagall, the poor Covenanters and even little Greyfriars Bobby. Kev is good enough to admit that Bobby is merely a fable, something that I appreciated as this kept the integrity of the tour.
It was lacking in audience participation, which meant some minds did wander. It would have been nice to have felt more involved and to have more questions brought our way, especially in the more history-heavy moments.
The end section made up for this however as Kev unlocked the gates of the most haunted area of the graveyard. He really ramped up the tension, which went on slightly too long. I grew impatient to go inside. But in the darkened crypt, Kev’s face lit up by torch light, I couldn’t help but get carried away. And yes I’ll admit, I let out a proper scream!
It turns out Kev wasn’t exaggerating the three thousand paranormal experiences. They hold a book full of guest’s sworn testimonies inside their little store you can visit at the end. Kev is very accommodating and stays around to answer any questions and tell even more tales about the haunted items of the shop. If you don’t like dolls I would avoid this extra.
Kev creates a fun and enjoyable atmosphere, and although slightly over-the-top at times, is a great choice for an interesting night out.
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