Haunted underground vaults in Edinburgh
In the 18th century, with the Old Town of Edinburgh becoming barely habitable due to overcrowding, the local council began development of the New Town. The access from the Old Town to the New Town was made possible with the building of the North Bridge and access to the city was then improved when the South Bridge was built. There are 2 vaults tours available: Edinburgh Underground Night Walking Tour.
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The South Bridge consisted of 19 arches built over the Cowgate ravine, back in the late 18th century. At the time when the bridge was built the land under it had been excavated to make chambers and both large and small rooms -- The Edinburgh Vaults.
The vaults were used mostly by merchants and craftsmen that had businesses on South Bridge for storing wine, dairy and other products and were guarded by underground caretakers. Families also lived in some of the rooms of these vaults but with no sunlight or ventilation and with the issue of waste disposal, these vaults were barely habitable.
Some local legends suggest that the vaults could have been used for something else other than storing goods. Burke and Hare, the notorious body snatchers could have brought their victims underground before selling them to the nearby hospital but no evidence has been found.
The vaults in Old Town Edinburgh were not properly waterproofed and soon became uninhabitable. They were then filled and their existence erased from public records.
Two hundred years later they were discovered and excavations started to bring light to these long forgotten chambers. Soon after, the Edinburgh Vaults opened for tourists and many of today's local ghost tours companies regularly include them in their tours.
Explanations of ghost sightings in the Edinburgh Vaults
Tourist accountings of strange sightings and sensations while inside the vaults have become numerous and have sparked interest for paranormal investigations.
One scientific explanation for some of the underground experiences is linked to the fact that South Bridge is a heavy traffic route to the City. The traffic flow above creates vibrations which in turn create spectra that could be associated with sensations people experience while on ghost tours in these underground vaults.
Other investigations have reported unusual energy readings and photographs taken by tourists reveal orbs or white markings.
Haunted or not, the underground vaults reveal a fascinating account of life in an overcrowded 18th century Edinburgh before the major civic improvements transformed Scotland's capital in late 18th century.