Edinburgh – Vault Ghosts (Start Here)

Edinburgh Castle windowSpecial note from Fiona: Many people talk about their encounters with the ghost of a murdered little girl who haunts Edinburgh’s underground vaults and passageways. The following complete account has been online since mid-1996 as the original encounter with the child’s ghost from the vaults beneath the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland.

I personally guided many of the staff of Mercat Tours through the vaults shortly after they opened for tours in mid-1996. And, I provided them with the information about the ghost of the little girl.

She’s probably not the only little girl ghost beneath Edinburgh’s streets.  However, she’s the one that I encountered in the vaults, and I was among the very first people through that part of Edinburgh’s dark and ghostly underground.

The little girl ghost’s story is just one of many I shared that evening in May 1996. What follows is a summary of my experiences during that tour, and the informal ghost investigation that followed it.  Everything in this story is true.  Nothing is made-up or changed from what actually happened.

On May 6th, 1996, my family and I visited Edinburgh, Scotland, my husband’s ancestral home. For entertainment, friends said that we must take one of Edinburgh’s “ghost tours.” We chose the Mercat Tour because it was near the restaurant where we’d had dinner. We expected a light-hearted evening. Our tour guide, Judith I. Mann, provided exactly that. Her theatrical skills made the evening a delightful experience filled with mock melodrama and hilarity. I’d recommend this tour to anyone, though our evening took a surprising turn.

Most of the tour was above ground. We saw places where people had been hung, sites where people were buried beneath the pavement, and so on. Standard fare, and great fun as Ms. Mann told clearly exaggerated tales.

However, our last stop was “the vaults,” an underground area which had once provided housing and workplaces for some of Edinburgh’s poor. Our tour was among the first to explore these dark rooms and corridors, which had been closed for over a century.


From the moment I looked around the grim setting, I felt that we were not alone. Oh, we had about a dozen other tourists with us, but it was more than that. The room held a lingering sense of immense sorrow and hardship.

The sensations in the rooms became more sinister as the tour continued. I could see the outline of figures, and the rooms threatened to transform into something dark and tragic.

I was troubled and intrigued, but it was still a jovial tour so I didn’t say anything.

At the conclusion of the tour, we returned to the street level, and entered a comfortable pub where we sat around and chatted happily about the different sights we’d seen that night.

A few of the tourists left for their respective lodgings, and then the conversation turned serious as we discussed “real” ghosts. I offered to return to the underground area and see if I could “pick up” any extra information, since I have seen ghosts in the past.

Not all of the patrons were eager to return underground, but many did follow our guide Ms. Mann as she led us back underground. We were accompanied by several tour guides-in-training, who’d joined us at the pub.

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