I went on a ghost tour drunk
Ghosts, high heels and gravestones
When walking down the Royal Mile you regularly see ghost tours meandering around, interrupting the basic flow of Scots and students going about their days. What do they do on these ghost tours? Where do they go? Are they as bad as they look? We’ve all been curious about these weird little ventures.
So I got drunk first. My reasoning was – I had a social later that night, and history is, let’s face it, pretty boring. It was also cold, so I thought alcohol would keep me warm.
This wasn’t the best idea that I have ever had.
After knocking back some vodka and orange squash I tottered down to the Royal Mile, where we met out tour guide. We were swiftly introduced to the rest of our tour group (I was the only Edinburgh resident). I went on the Double Dead Tour: it goes into the underground vaults and Grey Friars Kirkyard.
Our guide was called John and I spent most of the tour in fear that he would tell me off. He was a funny bloke but if anyone laughed or talked to loudly they got some harsh words. As a sober person this wouldn’t have phased me too much, but I wasn’t. I was desperately trying to take notes on my phone and spent most of the time selecting the tallest people to hide behind so I could do it in peace.
John was very Scottish – virtually every sentence was finished with “and then we can all go to the pub”. It added to the spooky effect and the whole touristy side of it. Every time that he regaled a story of how the Scottish did something for the rest of the world the group would be instructed to say “thank you”.
As there was a social that evening, I decided in my drunken haze that wearing heels and my clubbing outfit was a stroke of genius. I could cut out the crap of having to go back to my flat and get changed after. This was a huge mistake. This isn’t just because I was drunk but because it was very cold. Don’t wear clubbing clothes on a ghost tour. It’s a really stupid idea.
In truth the underground vaults weren’t underground. This was a bit of a godsend considering I was wearing heels. But at the the same time a little disappointing – they’re called ‘underground vaults’ for a reason. While John was spewing a large amount of interesting history and facts all I could focus on was how dark it was and that I really needed to pee. Standing around would have been a lot easier if I wasn’t drunk.
Darkness and alcohol made me feel very wobbly, and I began to convince myself that I was going to be one of the few that are possessed on the tours and (allegedly) run around screaming.
Once you have completed the underground vaults you are then escorted through Cowgate to the graveyard. This was my chance to use a loo. But there was a condition of me leaving the group: I had to get back to the group before he locked the gates to the graveyard behind him. Spooky. Challenge accepted, I toddled off to the nearest bar, and made it back just in time.
We were locked into the graveyard and the spooky stories started. John regaled us with stories of how 700-800 people who’ve done the tour have been knocked out by cold-spots in the Black Mausoleum. To be honest I was quite scared: the stories were spooky and what happened there was violent and horrendous, and led me to believe that it was possible. John (the tour guide) claimed that he was punched by a restless spirit when he was doing his training.
Which makes the question, “Where did you get that black eye from?” And the answer of a ghostly haymaker, quite a lot more interesting.
The main gripe about the tour is how it ended: stopping at Grey Friars Bobby’s grave stone. This irritated me to no end. In this graveyard for every tombstone there are over 1000 bodies. But one dog gets his own place of honour.
The tour cost £11(student price) and it’s quite an expensive way to learn things when Wikipedia has all of the same information, it’s cold, and you’re slowly losing your buzz. At least it was spooky.