Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Witch do you Believe?

The second day of Edinburgh, we got up early can headed down the royal mile to see... 
Palace of Polyroodhouse
It is where the Queen stays when she is in Edinburgh, which is only a few times a year. 

We didn't pay for entry into the Palace, we mainly went to the royal mile to get to Author's Seat. Author's seat is a view that takes a little bit of a climb to get up to it. It didn't seem that bad at the time, but I soon realized (again) how out of shape I am... yikes! 

Here are some pictures on the way up to Author's seat. What do you think? 
Also, a little info about it's past! 

 I love this picture above. The sun is coming up behind this man, and he is just on a nice morning stroll. He is so tiny too! Hard to show the size of the climb upward. It was more than it could look that's for sure. 

 We were lucky for such a beautiful day. Look at that picture perfect sky! The day before this and the day after this was not as pleasant (rainy/cloudy)

I really wanted to take a panoramic photo, but I can only do that on my iphone (boo). 
Sophie did take a couple, so when she posts her pictures then I will just add one or two to the end of a later post. 

After conquering Author's seat, we headed back up the royal mile when we heard.......

At this point my Scotland trip had pretty much been completed. I had seen a lot, done a lot, and had finally heard a lot! It was very very nice, and definitely Scottish! ;) 

We had a special night tour planned called Witch Tours. They are very popular tours in Edinburgh, because it is claimed to be the most haunted place in the UK. 

But before I get to that......

We had a different kind of "entertainment" sneak up on us. We were walking down the royal mile (a couple blocks down from our hostel) to a pub we had seen earlier and decided we were going to have dinner at. We walked in and they weren't serving any longer. Alright. So we walked back up and were standing outside of a pub reading their menu when we heard some yelling. I looked up and saw a man yelling at another man and pursuing him across the street. Then the man that was yelling punch the other man and he fell to the ground. The man and his girlfriend walked off between two buildings. 
     I was in a bit of a wow, ok, comprehend moment. I have seen fights before.. whatever. But this man was making groaning noises on the ground.... still hasn't gotten up. 
A few taxis drive by and he tries to wave from on the ground, but they don't see him. Then he starts asking for help from some people who were walking by (we were at the corner and he was in the middle of the block) they all ignored him. He asks more people they keep ignoring him. Ok we see a group of people about to walk right by him in 20 seconds, they ALL ignore him. 
      So, he starts asking people to call 9-9-9 (their emergency number) people keep ignoring (mind you this is all going on within a minute or two) then i'm like good greif! I thought everything was going to be alright, but when people start begging for an ambulance I'm not going to refuse my help. So we run up there (we are on the opposite side of the street) and call 9-9-9 for him. Now, a man and his two teenage kids have stopped to see if he is ok. We call the ambulance and they tell us we have to wait for them to get there, so stay by his side and if he goes unconscious then turn him on his side. 
     We wait over by him, and the Scottish man and his two kids wait with us (thank gosh). I think his name was Paul and he was 42. Paul was drunk and that's another reason why I was really glad that the man and his kids stayed. After what seemed like a long time waiting we were sirens....finally!! The start coming up the street so we wave our arms....... THEY DRIVE RIGHT  BY US! They somehow don't see 5 people waving their arms, and continue on by. I run to the corner thinking they are going to turn around....... nope!! We have to recall and be like um, they just passed us, can they turn around?? We have to spend more time waiting and Paul is slowly becoming less responsive. 
     Finally, they come and get Paul into the ambulance to check him out. The police show up at the same time. Time to leave??? Nope. We stay for another 15 minutes explaining what happened being eye witnesses! He was asking me all these details, and then asked if I would be able to pick the man out of a lineup. I was wondering if this was really happening to me in Scotland, and yes, yes it was. Then the cop called me later to ask more questions because they found someone on tape that could be him. Everything happened so fast, I am not sure how anyone is reliable in that kind of situation. Although i'm glad I could offer a bit of information. Paul definitely had a broke nose, and he had to go to the hospital to see if his face was fractured. 

After all that happening it was 9:30 pm and we still hadn't had anything to eat. So we went back to the pub that we were checking out, and they weren't serving any longer either. We finally found a place and ate a bite before our tour!! 

The tour was about witches and ghosts and then ended with what they call the underground city--the vaults. 
     Witches. Witches a lot of witch prosecution went on back in the day. Anyone with red hair, 3rd nipple (which was used to feed the devil off of), and certain typical features like big moles or warts, etc. If you had any of these features then you were forced to confess. Once they didn't confess they would nail their thumbs and toes to a chair and throw them into a river. This particular river was used quite often, and not recreationally. When they had no plumbing they had these bins to keep their um, wastes, in. They used to just empty their bins by turning it upside down out of their window. But people kept complaining about getting unpleasant wastes on their head. Finally the city said that is enough! You can only do that at 10am and 10pm and that still didn't work, so eventually they said everyone take your wastes to this river. That was conveniently during the witch era. 
     They would throw the witch nailed to the chair in the river and if they floated they were a witch (which they usually did because of the chair and other things, um, in the river), and if they didn't they drowned and died (but they weren't a witch!!) They would get the floating witches and tell them to confess that they are witches. If they confessed they were witches then they would be tortured and then burned. If they didn't confess then they would just be burned. 
So maybe there are angry spirits that decided to hang around Edinburgh a bit longer. 

And now we have the ghost part. 
Our tour guide was really good, and told us many stories. I sucked in all the information I could, but i'm not wonder woman. 
Here is an interesting story that he told us before we entered the vaults. 
     There was this man who founded a very Christian section of religion and gained many loyal followers. One day he confessed to them all that he has sinned. He has been sinning, sins against the flesh. But no one believed him.  How could this man so loyal and God loving do terrible things? They thought he had gone mad. So they had doctors come and check his mental state out. After a few doctors visited him, they all concluded that he was driving himself mad because of his guilty conscience. They went to his sister to ask if she knew what was going on, and she confessed everything. How they sold their souls to the devil in the woods when coming back from a different town. She kept telling them more and more information and told them about his crooked staff that he always used to walk around with....and how that was given to him by the devil himself and that it gave him special powers. They decided to sparate him and the staff. They took him to the town square where they burned him. After he was dead they threw in the staff. They say that when the staff was thrown into the fire it started jumping around, dancing, and spinning. People say that sometimes they see a carriage driving up the street, the devil driving, and stopping by where his house used to be... then a man would walk to the carriage, get in, and drive to hell. 

     He told us to watch out for this while we walked to the vaults. The underground city are vaults hundreds of years old. It's 3 floors below the ground that we walk on top which is pretty neat! These sections used to be used for businesses, then a man thought of the idea to build on top of them because they were running out of space in the city for new buildings. Once the new buildings were up they vaults weren't used that often. The businesses at first thought they could be used for storage and workshops, but water would drip and it was just bad conditions. So teh next best thing happened... it was occupied by thieves, body snatchers, murders, prostitutes, etc. After this went on for a long time and bad things happening down there, cops raided the place and kicked everyone out. They then bricked up the entrances and that was the end of that. 
Until, 100 years later a pub owner was moving some kegs and one was dropped and it went through the floor into the underground city, rediscovering it. 
     The city allowed for the entrance was to be opened up where they discovered more and more vaults. They now take people down there (for a small price) because so many people have claimed to have seen ghosts. One particular vault was claimed to be the exact, most haunted place in Britain. I took a lot of pictures hoping to see a lot of orbes, but that failed me as well. We we were in the most haunted valut (they packed us all in there) he told us a story of a lady a few years ago when they were in that vault. How she was in the back and she felt a cold wind on her neck (he informed us there shouldn't be any gusts of wind because we are so far underground and it's completely sealed). She ignored it, hoping it was nothing, then she could then feel it all around her. It was really close to her, and then she knew she was staring right at the face of a ghost because she could smell his breath of whiskey and cigarettes. Then he whispered, "Get out now" and she screamed and freaked out and wouldn't settle down. Finally when the particular tour guide settled her down she was able to tell him the story. Some say that has smelled the exact some breath, and have felt the same presence. 
    Other ghosts that have been seen by many are a little boy who likes to tug on you hands if they are hanging because he wants to play....a woman who sits in the corner crying because she couldn't get pregnant so she comes out to those who are pregnant or who don't even know they are pregnant (but find out they are when they see her) spoiler alert! .....a man who sits on top of the door guarding the place...a few others but those are the ones I can remember! 

Here are some pictures from the underground vaults 

What do you think???? Do you believe in ghosts???? 

I do believe in ghosts, because Nathan, Emily, and I all think we have some (friendly) ones in our house. :) Now, who wants to come over for tea when I get back??? 

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