From left to right: Greyfriars Kirkyard, The Covenanters’ Prison Sign, Bothwell Bridge Monument, George MacKenzie, Mackenzie Musoleum, Plague Doctor, St Giles Cathedral

Podcast:


Background:

Greyfriars Kirkyard is the graveyard surrounding Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located at the southern edge of the Old Town, adjacent to George Heriot’s School. Burials have been taking place since the late 16th century, and a number of notable Edinburgh residents are interred at Greyfriars. The Kirkyard is operated by City of Edinburgh Council in liaison with a charitable trust, which is linked to but separate from the church.

Legend:

Greyfriars Kirkyard is known as one of the most haunted cemeteries in the world with a violent poltergeist (George MacKenzie) harming late-night visitors and a history of stolen bodies. The Covenanters’ Prison is connected to Greyfriars Kirkyard by a stone gateway and locked metal grate near MacKenzie’s mausoleum. It was once home to an estimated 1200 unfortunate members of a failed anti-government revolution in 1679. Conditions at the prison were so brutal that only 257 of the prisoners came out alive (a portion of whom escaped or pledged loyalty to the crown) four months after their mass incarceration.

This episode is about the most well documented ongoing physical haunting in the world at the legendary Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Stories:

On Greyfriars Bobby:

Interesting Facts: Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872. The story continues to be well known in Edinburgh, through several books and films, and a prominent commemorative statue and nearby graves act as a tourist attraction.

On Covenanter’s Prison:

Interesting Facts: In November 1679 the remaining 257 men, who had been sentenced to transportation overseas, were taken to Leith and placed on board a ship bound for the American colonies; nearly all were drowned when this ship was wrecked in the Orkney islands (where there is a monument in their memory), but 48 of the prisoners survived.

On Bloody George Mackenzie:

Interesting Facts: Mackzenzie had several male children, but every single one of them died before they could father a child.

On The Black Mausoleum:

On The Battle of Bothwell Brig:

On St. Giles Kirk:

Interesting Facts: St Giles’ Cathedral, more properly termed the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is the principal place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh. Its distinctive crown steeple is a prominent feature of the city skyline, at about a third of the way down the Royal Mile which runs from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. The church has been one of Edinburgh’s religious focal points for approximately 900 years. The present church dates from the late 14th century, though it was extensively restored in the 19th century.

On Plague Masks:

On City of the Dead Tours:

Interesting Facts: Founded in 1999, Black Hart Entertainment runs the world famous City of the Dead walks in Edinburgh – The Haunted Graveyard Tour, Underground City of the Dead and Double Dead Tours. All the walks are written and researched by the historical author and award winning novelist, J A Henderson – who has written non-fiction books on the Underground City, The Mackenzie Poltergeist and Haunted Edinburgh.

Outstanding Book:

Credits:

Episode 003 – ‘Greyfriars Kirkyard Halloween Special’ Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess, Ryan McCullough Sound Design, Scott Philbrook Editing. Special guests ‘Marty’ & ‘Alice’ wish to remain anonymous. Copyright Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess 2014, All Rights Reserved.