Greyfriars Bobby and Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard as Edinburgh's peaceful spot

During the day, Greyfriars is one of the most peaceful places in Edinburgh. People love coming here to have lunch, spend time with their thoughts or even do some work. Today, its mysterious history is left alone and people prefer to think of Greyfriars as the home of Greyfriars Bobby.

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You can spend hours in the kirkyard trying to decipher the engraving on the gravestones. Many of them are very old, dating back to the 13th century and many of the engravings are written in Latin.

Greyfriars Kirkyard is the resting place of many famous Edinburgh characters. Reading the engagements can unveil a series of stories that include people from the 13th to the early 20th century as well as historic events. However, many of the older gravestones are worn out by the wind and rain.

Sir Walter Scott's father is buried in Greyfriars. Many other important 18th-19th century public figures are buried in Greyfriars, including the founder of Edinburgh University.

In Greyfriars were buried not only rich people but poorer people as well. However, the difference between the two types of graves is striking.

Not only is the quality of the stone better -- proved by the fact some of them wear out quicker than others -- but because of the location, fanciness of the engraving etc. On the sides of Greyfriars Kirkyard there are family vaults protected by key.

Greyfriars legends that live today

While Greyfriars is home to the cute Greyfriars Bobby, it is also said to be home to one of the most documented cases of poltergeists and paranormal activities in Scotland -- the 'Bloody Mackenzie' story.

Ironically, George MacKenzie, a lord advocate who enthusiastically imprisoned many Covenanters, is buried in a vault just outside the Covenanters Prison in Greyfriars Kirkyard.

His vault was disturbed when it was broken into and the MacKenzie Poltergeist is said to haunt the cemetery restlessly. 'Attacks' on visitors have been reported on many occasions and many investigations have taken place there.

I've been to Greyfriars many times and was always surprised how peaceful and welcoming it felt -- for a cemetery. On one occasion, however, while trying to read the engravings on the grave stones in Greyfriars, a sense of unexplained fear came over me.

I don't believe in ghosts and have since come to the conclusion that the feeling was caused by the sudden realisation of being in a cemetery... but then again, who knows.

Greyfriars is a wonderful mix of legends, history and stories of famous and ordinary people alike and is well worth a visit.

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