Huffpost Travel
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Erin Ruberry Headshot

If You're Scared of Ghosts (Like I Am!), This Might Be Too Creepy for You

Posted: Updated:

"Because of the horrors of plague the legends of Mary King's Close have grown and grown over the centuries since 1645. Perhaps the most famous story of a haunting is that of a little girl." - BBC

When a historic attraction has been featured on a show called Most Haunted and gets its own WikiHow entry for "How to Survive a Trip to Mary King's Close," you're guaranteed a pretty spooky experience.

the real mary kings close

Buried under Edinburgh's Royal Mile is Mary King's Close, a 17th century street that was built over as Scotland's capital city grew (although the close's last resident remained on the premises until 1895).

Perhaps the street's eeriest era dates to the 1645 plague, which left thousands dead and hundreds of plague victims sealed inside Mary King's Close: "In a desperate measure to reduce contamination over 300 plague victims were entombed alive when the close was bricked up until the plague had passed."

If you take a tour of the underground street as part of the decade-old tourist attraction The Real Mary King's Close, your guide will tell you all about one of those unlucky souls: a little girl named Annie, left alone in a room without her favorite doll. The room, which is noticeably colder than the rest of the site (a possible sign of ghost activity, say some paranormal investigators), is filled with stuffed animals and toys left by visitors for the child's abandoned spirit. (The toys are donated to the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.)

prince charles marys close

Prince Charles toured The Real Mary King's Close in 2003

Okay, so Annie's room is pretty creepy. But is Mary King's Close really haunted?

In May 2008, an infrared camera set up to take souvenir photos snapped a spooky shot that purportedly shows the ghostly figure of a rotund man standing in the street. Paranormal researcher Richard Felix told The Scotsman the photo was "one of the best examples of this kind of phenomenon that I've come across during my career."

Other visitors report hearing scratching noises coming from a chimney and, according to Scotland Magazine, "Some even claim to have had their hands scratched after placing them inside."

Need more proof? You'll have to check it out on your own. Once was enough for me

real mary kings close

Mary King's Close, Edinburgh via Wikimedia Commons