Ghostly Side of Greyfriars Kirkyard

One of the well known kirkyard’s in Edinburgh, Greyfriars Kirkyard is known for Bobby, the dog, inspiring J.K. Rowling, and having its own set of haunting tales. The most influential haunting is Mackenzie’s Poltergeist.

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Mackenzie’s Poltergeist

You can find Mackenzie’s mausoleum on the back left side of the kirk as you enter from the gates near Greyfriars Bobby. Reports have claimed to hear a man yelling, things moving around the mausoleum, or people seeing someone inside. Other, more drastic reports, have occurred too. People have claimed to be scratched, felt a cold chill, or even be pushed.

It wasn’t until 1999, that a convict broke into the mausoleum seeking refuge and cover from the constable. The search party scoured the kirkyard, but never found him. It’s said that upon entering Mackenzie’s mausoleum, the convict was frightened by a ghost and fell through the floor.

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After the convicts fall, reports of activity have increased. People believe Mackenzie himself is now walking the grounds of Greyfriars kirkyard scaring the old and young alike.

Another ghostly tale of Greyfriars kirkyard, is maybe not so much about ghosts, but of the dead coming alive…

Grave Robbing and Body Snatching

In the early 1800’s, grave robbing and body snatching were serious issues. Families would rotate watch shifts over loved ones recently buried. Graves now had fences with spikes to prevent robbers, and others had cages baring anyone from entering.

At the time, the famous Burke and Hare were at large for body snatching people for medical use. Medical facilities and universities paid well for recently deceased bodies. They used these to study and further medical advancements, but obtaining the bodies seemed to become harder and harder. The facilities offered decent pay to anyone who could provide a recently deceased body in good condition.

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Needless to say, quite a few jumped on this opportunity for some extra cash.

One night, two body snatchers went into Greyfrairs Kirkyard and excavated a recently deceased body. It was an old woman adorned with rich jewelry and fine clothes. Seeing the jewelry, they decided to steal the fine pieces first before selling her body. One by one, they took her jewelry off and slipped it into their pockets. One of her rings was stuck, and the two yanked harder and harder trying to get it off before anyone saw. It was then, that the woman started to stir and wake up.

The two were praised as heroes in the local newspaper for saving a woman buried alive. If they knew the real reason the two men were there, they wouldn’t be hailed as such.

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