RYAN O’NEILL explains how his paranormal investigations have revealed the dark side of Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, Scotland
As a visitor to Scotland’s capital city, and in particular the old Royal Mile which leads up to the imposing Edinburgh Castle which overshadows the bustling streets, you’d be forgiven for overlooking what was below your feet.
The cobbled streets of one of Europe’s biggest tourist destinations hide a deep dark secret which stretches back in time to the 17th century.
Once labelled as King’s Close or Alexander King’s Close, before the arrival of Mary in 1635, this high-rise busy street which housed many and provided workspace for others would enter history as one of the most haunted areas of the world.
Welcome to Mary Kings Close, In Edinburgh, Scotland.
This incredibly spooky location in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town is filled with experiences, stories and research data that would turn the most sceptical people into shocked observers.
In Edinburgh – and most likely others large towns within Scotland – Closes or Wynds were usually named after the most prominent members of society.
Mary King was one such prominent member of society and business in the 1630’s. She’s said to have traded in fabrics, perhaps sewing for a living, while also raising her four children.
To have a Close named after women in such times allows us to see how well established Mary King’s reputation was within the old town of Edinburgh.
From Close To Underground Mysterious Location
The Close was partially demolished and subsequently buried underground due to the construction of the Royal Exchange in the 18th century.
This, in turn, has left us the foundations we see today, a reduction from eight-story buildings to the current labyrinth of houses, workspace and animal sheds.
Today, you can take a tour around this time capsule preserved underground, and while most do for the historical aspect, a significant amount of tourists visit for the spirits that are said to reside here.
You see, to paranormal investigators, researchers and those who dig into the mysteries of Scotland, this site is well known for its strange activity, gripping stories and unexplainable activity which does not fit into reality as we’ve been taught.
Many inquiring minds – particularly academic – have attempted to bust the mystery surrounding this underground maze of deep dark rooms and corridors, but none have offered up anything remotely acceptable.
Open-minded sceptics who have spent countless hours investigating the ghostly goings-on in Mary Kings Close have walked away with more questions than answers.
Mysteries, myths and folklore surround this location, and it comes as no surprise that reported sightings of spirits & ghosts are prevalent, but is Mary King’s Close really haunted?
I’ve been fortunate with my research into Scotland’s most active locations, having had extensive access to Mary Kings Close between 2005 & 2008, and then a few revisits up till 2015 for various events held by the attraction.
This provided the perfect opportunity to work within the environment, personally test the claims, and make an informed conclusion about what was transpiring underground at Mary King’s Close.
Paranormal Activity at Mary King’s Close
The Real Mary King’s Close is cited as the most haunted location in Scotland. The first filed historical sighting that we have dates back to around the 1685 period and involves the Coltheart family.
The family moved into one of the properties within the Close after the last outbreak of the plague. It was shortly after this that Thomas and his wife experienced ‘apparitions and unknown phantom energies’ in the Close.
We also have reported incidences of a woman dressed in black who frequents the close, perhaps Mary King herself in spirit form.
In addition to the above, we have a worried looking man sighted, the famous little girl named ‘Annie’ who allegedly spoke to a famous Japanese psychic, sounds of a tavern in full swing, and scratching coming from inside a chimney, where a child sweep is said to have died.
Other unusual occurrences experienced by visitors and members of staff include stones being thrown, unexplained footsteps, and countless recordings of voices, alarms being set off, and physical activity.
As you can see, there truly is a mixed bag of strange activity and rather plentiful at that.
Have I experienced and recorded The Activity?
Mr Chesney’s house, at the bottom of Mary King’s Close, has been the subject of some quite intense Electronic Voice Phenomena and Echovox study over the past ten years, with some rather strange results.
Personally, I’ve witnessed alarms being set off by unseen forces, footsteps walk towards me over wooden floors in the lower levels also seen by a team of and researchers, and a woman’s voice call out “Hello” when the location was locked down after hours.
Cold spots, shadow figures moving around, and various bumps and knocks have also been common during the time spent underground.
All, may I add, out of hours and very late at night.
I’ve researched a plethora of locations over the last ten plus years, but never have I witnessed so much activity that I can personally verify as fact.
Not every place researched or looked into provides such data, personal experience, or leaves an impression on you as this site has with me or some of my close colleagues.
Is Mary Kings Close Haunted?
YES, I would be willing to put my neck on the line here and say overwhelmingly that it is, and I know such as I have had direct experience in this location.
I’ve read some of the research by those who have tried to debunk the activity, with fanciful hypothetical typings about Infrasound or hallucinations, but none of this cuts the mustard after spending so much time down there.
My preference in these circumstances is to get the hands dirty, put myself in the situation to fully immerse in the experience of such environments and then test from this position.
Only by truly doing the above, can you come to a properly informed decision about hauntings. All the academic rhetoric from afar cannot remotely explain what is going on, especially when those offering explanations have never been in the location.
The hard data suggests we have non-physical activity swirling throughout this underground historical attraction. We know we’ve had the temperature drops, movement in locked off rooms and strange voices caught on our audio devices.
We’ve backed up the stories by past tourists, staff members, researchers and tenants with our technology. The only thing we do not know is why are they still here earthbound.
So the next time you are in Edinburgh’s old town, think about the deep dark warren of rooms under your feet, and perhaps even take a journey down there and let us know what you uncover.
My top tip, concentrate on Cheney’s House and the lower parts of the close. You will not be disappointed.