The Edinburgh Vaults or South Bridge Vaults are a series of chambers formed in the nineteen arches of the South Bridge in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was completed in 1788. For around 30 years, the vaults were used to house taverns, cobblers and other tradesmen, and as storage space for illicit material, reportedly including the bodies of people killed by serial killers Burke and Hare for medical experiments.
source | b&w by me
As the conditions in the vaults deteriorated, mainly because of damp and poor air quality, the businesses left and the very poorest of Edinburgh’s citizens moved in, though by around 1820, even they are believed to have left too. That people had lived there was only discovered in 1985 during an excavation, when middens were found containing toys, medicine bottles, plates, and other signs of human habitation.
In 2009 a BBC TV production team filming a one-off TV special featuring Joe Swash recorded unexplained voices in the vaults during an overnight sleepover by Swash. One voice appeared to be that of a Catholic priest reciting the Last Rites. Swash was the only person in the vaults and did not hear the voices himself at the time of recording, despite the sounds being audible on his own microphone. The voices continued to be heard on the recording for some 20 minutes before abruptly ceasing after what appears to be the sound of children yelling. BBC sound engineers initially thought the sounds may be explained by voices drifting into the tunnels from nightclubs nearby but this was found to be incorrect and no other logical explanation could be found. The recordings were broadcast as part of the finished program Joe Swash Believes in Ghosts on BBC Three in January 2010.
I went on a ghost tour through these! Really cool history :D
Edinburgh was my favourite part of our reading week trip mostly because of the tour guides, they were fantastic (the girl who did the ghost tour of the vaults in particular).