The damp, dark, and chilling chambers and tunnels of the Edinburgh Vaults.

Body Snatchers and Tortured Spirits: The Dark History of the South Bridge Vaults of Edinburgh

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Ghostly Residents Remain and Draw in New Visitors

With the unnerving atmosphere, and the eerie accounts of the vault history, it’s no wonder that paranormal events have been reported concerning the shadowy halls, damp chambers, and tight spaces. Certainly, the chilling reports of Burke and Hare’s murdered victims in the vaults are creepy enough, but there are several different specters who are said to now haunt the chambers as well.

The spooky atmosphere inside the vaults.

The spooky atmosphere inside the vaults. ( CC BY 2.5 )

A ghostly child named “Jack” is said to grab visitors’ hands, and the more menacing “Mr. Boots”, described as “a nasty piece of work,” throws rocks at people, it is claimed. Some who visit the vaults say they can hear his heeled boots stomping across the cobblestone, and his voice echoing through the tunnels.

Despite (or more likely due to) this, tours into the Edinburgh vaults are very popular, and businesses have been set up to host private events, weddings, and live music. Several high-profile television shows and documentaries have been done on the ghostly voices and supernatural happenings.  

Today there are many who risk traveling down beneath the ancient city to experience what life might have been like for those that dwelled in the South Bridge Vaults.

Featured image: The damp, dark, and chilling chambers and tunnels of the Edinburgh Vaults. ( CC BY-ND 2.0 )

By Liz Leafloor     


Johnson, Ben, 2015. “Edinburgh Vaults”. Historic UK [Online] Available here.

Travel Channel 2015. “Edinburgh Vaults' Haunted History”. [Online] Available here.

City of the Dead Tours , 2015. “Underground City of the Dead Ghost Tour”. [Online] Available at:

Montreal Paranormal Investigations, 2012. “Edinburgh Underground Haunted Vaults”. [Online] Available at:

The Scotsman, 2002. "Vault visitors set to enjoy a new look at old haunt”.   [Online] Available here.


Nice, I had the chance to visit 6 years ago, unfortunately for Joe Public most of it is not accessible, like the Paris catacombs where 90% is off limits. Fortunately for me, I had a good buddy that worked for Historic Scotland and he arranged for a private tour for our wives and ourselves. Nothing left to discover in there, but it is quite an interesting place. Our "guide" had been in there for years, said the ghosts stories are just folklore. Nothing ever happened to him or any other people who have regular access.

rbflooringinstall's picture

There's probably tons more things to discover in those vaults. I bet its awesome in there

Peace and Love,


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