Edinburgh, hauntingly beautiful. Who wants to go ghost hunting?


Moving out of the Schengen zone, Kev and I started our United Kingdom part of our trip in Edinburgh, Scotland.

We arrived around 8pm by plane and I was amused to hear our native tongue being spoken around us. It was welcoming not having to worry about communicating with others. We quickly hopped on to the bus to head into the city centre where we had booked our accommodation.

Driving through Edinburgh at night on the bus didn’t really show us much of the city. But once we stepped off the double decker at Waverley train station, it was as if I had stepped into some eerie, gothic mystery. The buildings were dark, damp, almost black in colour. They had the dim, yellow glow of lights, which Kev pointed out, did not illuminate the city, but shone upwards and into the buildings themselves, creating shadows in the dark corners of the streets. It was by far one of the most intriguing, thrilling and spine tingling feeling I’ve ever experienced from just walking down a street. I couldn’t help but be both confused and excited about my reaction.

Beautiful, but eerie Golden Mile
Beautiful, but eerie golden mile

 

Victoria Street at twilight
Victoria Street at twilight

Our apartment was in the city centre, and like the rest of the buildings in Edinburgh, it was a beautiful, old building with the ‘original’ fixtures, walls, ceilings etc. Our hosts, Brett and Jenna had set up the apartment so it was fresh, clean and modern but it maintained that wonderful ‘old soul’ feeling. We were greeted and welcomed by Jenna as Brett was away at a Lacrosse competition for the first few days of our stay.

I don't have a photo of our exact apartment, but it is in the building complex behind Mr Sherlock Holmes here.
I don’t have a photo of our exact apartment, but it is in the building complex behind Mr Sherlock Holmes here. Our bedroom was on the third row of windows looking out to Mr Holmes’ statute (we didn’t realise he was there until a good 4 days into our stay!).

So we got ourselves settled in and soon we were both exhausted and ready for sleep. We turned off the lights and snuggled into the bed. As I got comfortable and started to dose off, I was surprised to feel a gentle sensation brush across the left side of my forehead and face. I opened my eyes in the dark and felt Kev’s arm move to touch his face.

Did you feel that?‘ I asked.

Kev said ‘yes’ and rolled off to sleep. I asked myself, ‘Was that a spider? No. My hair? No.’ No, it didn’t feel like any of that. I started to feel panic rise up in my stomach. I told myself to sleep and stop creeping myself out. I had a hard time convincing myself to do so.

At breakfast, I was joking with Kev about the ‘paranormal’ experience we had. We were laughing and I was playfully trying to convince him that it wasn’t my hair has Kev had thought. Jenna walked into the kitchen and asked us what was up, and I said we were laughing about our ‘experience’ that night. Jenna looked amused and curious at the same time and asked me to explain what happened. Once I had finished with my story, she didn’t laugh. Jenna then went on to explain that we were not the first guests to have had an experience like that in her apartment. I stopped laughing. So, I wasn’t just being paranoid and silly as I had told myself?

Apparently, two other guests had experienced the ‘friendly spirits’ in the apartment as Brett so casually called them when we eventually met him. The first instance was when a guest woke up to go to the toilet in the early hours of the morning and saw a dark figure (and assumed it was Jenna) standing at the bookshelf. When she returned to her room, she looked across to the bookshelf and saw that ‘Jenna’ was no longer there. When she asked Jenna the next morning, Jenna was baffled because she and Brett were definitely not up looking at books in the dark that morning. *Shudder!*

Second experience was when another guest was playing a guitar in the living room. She heard and saw someone walk down the hallway and called out to them, but there was no answer. A few hours later she saw Jenna and said ‘Oh! I called out to you earlier on.’ Jenna had no clue what she was talking about as she had just arrived home and Brett was still at work. *Gasp!*

Jenna concluded ‘Well that’s what you get when you live in the most haunted city in the world.’

Jaw dropped. Eyes bulging out. I must have been the silliest goldfish in pjs. I was mystified that I had not heard or at least stumbled across Edinburgh’s haunted reputation, but it made a lot of sense why it was labelled that. Jenna informed us that it is so haunted, that a lot of the tours in Edinburgh are ghost and haunted tours. Gah! On hearing that, I felt the heebee-geebees crawl up my spine. These stories made the fresh and lively apartment that we were staying in a lot more spookier and to be honest, made the rest of my week there very difficult for me to sleep.

Despite being freaked out for most of the week, we ended up taking a Sandemans’ The Dark Side night tour which was a lot of fun. Brett gave us two large bottles of beer from his Brewery to enjoy while on tour. Not a bad idea Brett. Not a bad idea at all – it was cold, but that was great so the beer never got warm; as an Australian, I would never pass up the opportunity for legal street drinking; and the alcohol helped settle my nerves and enjoy the tour instead of getting too spooked out.

A night stroll in Old Calton Burial Ground with the Sandeman's Night walking tour.
A night stroll in Old Calton Burial Ground with the Sandeman’s Night walking tour.
Despite it being dark and spooky, the stars were magnificent that night.
Despite it being dark and spooky, the stars were magnificent that night.
Kev and the apparently haunted castle/observatory on Cartlon Hill.
Kev and the apparently haunted castle/observatory on Carlton Hill.

The tour was a lot of fun and I won’t give away the things we saw, but the stories were all about old myths, stories of murders, body thieves and executions that happened in and around the city. I definitely recommend this tour for those who want a different kind of tour at night with some thrilling stories.

Sandemans wasn’t a real ‘ghost tour’ which I was grateful for. There were other ghost tours as listed on this site but given that we were spending a week in our own little haunted apartment, I was very, very, very happy with Sandemans tour.

Kev maintains that there were no friendly spirits in our apartment, even though he too was wired and freaked out that week. He remains adamant that the feeling of something grazing our faces on the first night was my hair (which I still don’t believe because my hair was cut so ridiculously short at that time that it couldn’t even reach his face at the same time that I felt it) and he continues to tell himself that the reason the kitchen door opened by itself when he was walking down the hallway one night, was due to ‘a change in air pressure‘ or ‘the floor boards pushed it open‘. Yea keep telling yourself that buddy, I’d like to know if ‘air pressure’ or the ‘floor boards’ also turned the door knob.

In meantime, here are some more spooky photos for your pleasure.

A nice stroll through Greyfriar's kirkyard. Because that's just what people in Edinburgh do ;)
A nice stroll through Greyfriar’s kirkyard. Because that’s just what people in Edinburgh do 😉
An eerie sunset in Greyfriar's kirkyard.
An eerie sunset in Greyfriar’s kirkyard.
Nice... wall facade. Very cheerful. Must have been in all the rage during that time.
Nice… wall facade. Very cheerful. Must have been in all the rage during that time.

 

Our footprints: http://spiked.it/SBagtB9

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I now write for ‘Kiss From the World’ Online Travel Magazine


Hello dear old friends!

It’s been a long, long while and I apologise. With inconsistent internet access and travel fatigue, the posts became quite hard to continue for the last leg of our trip. Also, as the trip progressed, Kev started to prefer reading our posts instead of writing them. Haha! So, if we are lucky, he may give us a surprise post in the future.

However, that’s the end of the bad news. Here’s where the exciting stuff comes!

Firstly, I can say that now that we’ve returned to Perth, I have all this free time to catch up on posts in detail instead of just a stream of photos with comments here and there. So stay tuned for Scotland… it’s going to be a hoot!

Secondly, you may or may not have noticed the shiny new badge on the side bar of this blog.  A week ago, I was lucky enough to be contacted by Domenico of the online travel magazine Kiss From the World. He messaged me on my Twitter account saying that he found the posts on kastepoutside interesting, and as such, offered me the opportunity to contribute to the magazine as a blogger!

A surprise message on Twitter
A surprise message on Twitter!

This was such an exciting and surprising little win as it revealed to me how important sharing my stories and photos from travel and being positively recognised for this work meant to me. I didn’t think much of my continuous blogging about life and travel (since 2007) on various blogs because it was more of a hobby, to keep friends and family in the loop and it was just something for me. However, ever since quitting my job and making traveling my prerogative for the past 7 months, travel writing became a more serious project for me, and as such, this break-chance-prospect from Kiss From the World has come at the perfect time. Especially when I started to doubt and question if I should continue to travel or not.

Actually, it almost feels The Alchemist – like. You know, the part where Paulo Coelho writes:

And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

So with this great opportunity for exposure and getting to write and post articles alongside other like minded people on Kiss From the World, I am so thrilled with these baby steps towards what may have been my ‘personal legend‘ after all, that I was always meant to ‘step outside‘ and perhaps one day I may become a ‘real’ travel writer.

My profile page on Kiss From the World can be found here. It’s still a work in progress. So bear with me!

Fingers crossed for the future; whatever is out there!

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