Author Topic: My Photos - Haunted Underground Vaults of Scotland - taken during our visit  (Read 9809 times)

Offline Salt Breeze

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Here are some photos I took during our visit to the Haunted Underground Vaults beneath the city of Edinburgh in Scotland.   Just a bit of info about the place first, though:

While you're looking at these photos, remember that 100's of people lived and worked down there in that cramped dark maze of tunnels.  To access the Vaults you take a set of stairs that goes down under the main buildings and streets of Edinburgh. 

The atmosphere down in the Vaults is eerie, damp, musty, silent, and challenges the imagination as to how people could actually call the Vaults 'home'. 

Many people had shops and areas for their different professions in the Vaults - including the Body Snatchers.  They used to steal corpses from fresh graves or wherever else they found them and would store the corpses down in the Vaults.  They would then sell the corpses to the medical folk at the university for use in the medical school classes.  The Body Snatchers had a tunnel from the vaults to the university which they used to transport the corpses.  Of course they were paid a good price, and apparently it was one of the more lucrative businesses conducted in the Vaults.  (Not your average version of 'leaving your body to science' but it worked for them).

The rooms you can see in the photos were used for a variety of things, such as you would see in any town.  The Vaults were like a 'township' for the poor and destitute of Edinburgh.

In one of the larger rooms a bootmaker used to practice his craft.  His ghost still carries on the work today.  While we were standing in there, someone felt their ankle being touched.  The guide explained that this often happens, and apparently the shoemaker means no harm.  He's doing what he would have done when he was alive....measuring people's feet and ankles for boots.  The person felt his ankle being touched - before the guide had told us about the bootmaker.    The EMF metres also showed quite a bit of activity in that area. 

Even thought this would be a terrible place to live, by our standards, there's a feeling down there of a village atmosphere mixed with a certain amount of sadness and misery.  As well as living down there, the inhabitants died down there too.  It was their world.  They were not prisoners, but were simple the poverty striken folk of the city who had nowhere else to go.   

Enjoy the tour:

 
Entering the Underground Vaults



One of the many corridors/tunnels.



Standing inside a Vault 'room' looking out into the corridor



No 85 was a little shop.  The part where the number is, is about chest height.
Its about 2mts x 1 mtr in dimensions. 
Its now used to keep the first aid kit - which is what the little green sign has on it. 




Another corridor with rooms along each side.



This room is where a lot of activity takes place. 
People hear whispers, feel someone's
breath on their neck or ear, or have their clothing pulled.
The orb is just moisture, I believe.   
One woman rushed out of the room in a panic, when we were in there.




Yet another corridor leading up to a junction and more rooms.



A small boy haunts this area. 
He is often heard or a fleeting glimpse is seen of him.
The stone racks on the right were used for storage.   





Offline Christine

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I know a few people who have been here. I so wish to go.....
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
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Offline Salt Breeze

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It's much much better than those photos portray.  The feeling down in there is amazing.

Offline Alien88

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Thanks for posting it SB; the history is very interesting too.

We need to do a world tour of places like this..
Light, Love and wisdom

Offline Salt Breeze

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Better just to go for a few weeks at a time Alien.  Otherwise you get overloaded with cramming too much into a specific time frame.  2 -3 weeks twice is year is perfect.   


Offline mitzib

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Thanks for postng the pics Salt Breeze, it looks like a fascinating place to go

Offline catseyes

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I see face upon face when I see these pics........similica I guess.  Thanks for posting


Offline lotsakids

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fascinating place, thanks salty

One day my light went out, but was blown again into flame by an encounter with some wonderful people I call friends. I owe the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light...
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Offline mitzib

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i noticed that in pic number 6 but i put it down to the shape and colouring of the wall

Offline Salt Breeze

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When you're down in those rooms, you spend a lot of time in the semi-darkness. I forgot to mention that part.  The photos are all taken with flash, so you're seeing some of it quite a bit lighter than it actually is. 

In the dark, its a lot creepier.  Of course you don't walk around in the dark, because its like pitch down there with no daylight at all, but its only dimly lit by the lanterns.  Very creepy - much fun. 

CE without the flash you think you see faces everywhere in the dim light. 

I felt and smelled breath on me in one corridor.  Just over my shoulder to the right. Like the breath of someone who'd been drinking rum.  I only just remember that - would you believe. I forget which area it was in.   It starts to all look the same down there with all the corridors.  I remember I was standing with a small group of people and I was at the back. 

Offline JulieD

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Salty, who built it?

Look for the light in everyone you meet.
You may be the only person that ever sees it.

Offline Salt Breeze

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Julie..  the council built it.   

Back in the 18th century the Old Town of Edinburgh became barely habitable because of overcrowding.  The local council started developing the New Town.   The access from the Old Town to the New Town was via the North Bridge.  They then improved on that by building the South Bridge.   The South Bridge was built across what was the Cowgate ravine -this was in the late 18th century. 

While they were building the South Bridge, they excavated the land under it to make chambers and various size rooms.  This is the Edinburgh Vaults.

Apparently, back then, the vaults were used by merchants and craftsmen that originally had businesses on the South Bridge (they had bulidings on top of their bridges in the old days - like they do in Europe).   They stored their things in the vaults also, like wine and dairy produce.   Some of the rooms were used for families to live in, sometimes 7 to 10 to a room, but they had no ventilation or sunlight, or any kind of waste disposal, so it the conditions were horrible.


Offline Salt Breeze

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Also.....

Today the city of Edinburgh is simply built on top of the Vaults.  Same as its built literally over the top of Mary Kings Close.  Down in there, you are walking in normal old fashioned streets, with shops and so forth and a storey or two on top of the shops.  Its amazing.  When they built over it, they simply spanned across the top of the streets and built the city above, so the streets below (Mary King's Close etc) were just covered over and left forgotten below the city.

Sorry I don't have any photos of Mary's.  They don't allow any photos to be taken down there.  Not for any other reason, I suspect, than that they want to keep the monopoly on it.  Upstairs in the main centre (which is above the Close), they sell books, postcards etc.   So... no photos allowed on the tour.   (Its not as good as the Vaults anyway).   

Offline Christine

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The place has a fascinating history.
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.
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Offline Salt Breeze

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Yes.  I basically started out as a supposedly useful underground construction for storage.   The South Bridge isn't like a normal bridge over water.  You can't even see it.  It was actually a shopping street.  Here's some interesting info I just found.  Gives a better picture of the place:

Edinburgh's South Bridge should be regarded as more than a simple crossing from Old Town to Southside. It was, in fact, Edinburgh's first purpose built shopping street, and as such as much space as possible was utilised. The bridge itself is a nineteen arch viaduct, although only one arch is visible today, the 'Cowgate arch.' The remaining eighteen arches were enclosed behind tenement buildings built to allow the area to serve as a commercial district. The hidden arches of the bridge were then given extra floors to allow their use for industry. In total there are approximately 120 rooms or 'vaults' beneath the surface of the South Bridge, ranging in size from two metres squared to forty metres squared. South Bridge officially opened for business on 1 March 1788.

 
Wine storage, the VaultsThese Vault rooms, used as storage space and workshops for the South Bridge businesses, operated as intended for a relatively short space of time. Construction of the bridge had been rushed and the surface was never sealed against water. The vaults began to flood. Abandonment of the vaults began as early as 1795. With the vaults being gradually abandoned by the businesses on the bridge, the empty rooms were adopted and adapted by new users. As the industrial revolution took hold of Britain, the Cowgate area had developed into Edinburgh's slum. Slum dwellers took over the vaults and they became a renowned red light district with countless brothels and pubs operating within the abandoned complex. The vaults also served as additional slum housing for the city’s poor. Living conditions were appalling. The rooms were cramped, dark and damp. There was no sunlight, poorly circulated air, no running water, and no sanitation. Many rooms housed families of more than ten people. Crimes, including robbery and murder, soon plagued the Vaults. Burke and Hare, the infamous serial killers who sold corpses to medical schools, are said to have hunted for victims in the Edinburgh Vaults.


 


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