Edinburgh: City of the Dead

The underground vaults are darker than they seem.
The underground vaults are darker than they seem.

On our first day in this historic city we decided to take a rather scary tour entitled the City of the Dead Tour. I had heard good things about these tours and really couldn’t wait to give one a go.

I am a big fan of horror movies and also a bit of a history and crime nerd so when I heard that these tours did an Underground City of the Dead Tour I jumped at the chance to take part.

The tour begins with a brief history of Edinburgh as you walk towards the vaults, the gruesome and disgusting part of past society is discussed in both a humorous and chilling way.

This tour ends in a section of the city’s legendary Underground City, where a population once lived in utter misery.

The vaults are pitch black, damp and cold with a fascinating  history to match. These vaults were forgotten for centuries and only recently unsealed.

This part of the South Bridge Vaults is known as Damnation Alley and from the tour I see it is named with good reason. Not only did people work and live in these cramped and vile conditions but they also died horrible and sometimes brutal deaths.

These dark tunnels are now believed to be stalked by a malevolent presence known as the South Bridge Entity. The vault in which this entity spends most of its time is decidedly colder than the others and strange activity has been reported there however nothing supernatural happened on our visit.

Looking back I’m a little disappointed that I did not experience any unexplained shivers or chills but at the time I was more than happy that everything was normal. We had an excellent tour guide (thanks Dave) who was skilled in the art of storytelling. He kept us entertained with his black comedy stylings.

Underground City of the Dead is researched and written by the award winning novelist and historical author, Jan-Andrew Henderson. The story of this hidden metropolis is told in his book “The Town Below the Ground: Edinburgh’s Legendary Underground City”.

This tour costs £10 for adults but there is a student discount and it is cheaper again for children. It lasts approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes and I would highly recommend it to those that like to be creeped out until they are seeing ghosts wherever they turn.



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