Even before I came to Scotland, I was already familiar with ghost stories and dark history of the country. Fascinating as it is coming from the pages of a book, it is however a completely different feeling when you actually find yourself on the streets of those cities that each hold a different fragment of that darkness that made Edinburgh known as the one city with the darkest history and chain of events in Scotland, if not in the world. I visited Edinburgh a few times, walking down the Royal Mile and admiring the greatness of the Scott Monument, among other things, and only recetnly I stumbled upon a book that tells the story of this place in a different way than other historical factual driven books. It is entitled Edinburgh, City of the Dead and is compiled of several chapters that begin with telling a story of historical characters as an introduction to a more complex telling of the dark events that made Edinburgh what it is today, with dark tourism rising each year offering its visitors tours through the dark corners where ghosts were still present, eager to tell their story to whoever wants to listen. Now, I do read a lot, but what fascinated me about this book is the genuine storytelling approach of the author, Jan-Andrew Henderson, to the overall historic topic. As I already mentioned, each chapter begins with telling a story of different event which is important for the part of history covere there, and it is preciesly that kind of a novel-like retelling of history that caught my attention. And mind you, dark history it is! from witch trials to Templars to today’s existence of Freemasons,other secret societies, Wiccans, Satanists and such, you can’t help wondering how can this city be so remarkably beautiful and so monstrous at the same time. I read the book in one evening, and now I am eager to find out even more about the topic, about the way of life that actually still exists today, but in a more civilised fashion, about the ghosts that still haunt dark alleys and old houses, some of them demolished in the 19th century, while others survived and were converted into shops and interactive guided tours like the ones of Edinburgh Dungeons. And it is all because of a book 🙂
Did you know that Edinburgh today has the greatest and rising population of people practising Paganism and Satanism, and people practising magic, either black or white? And that sometimes, even though they still do it in secret, secluded places, sometimes they even advertise by giving adds in newspapers? That is a fun and interesting fact! But the point of mentioning all this is the fact that the city has embraced that darkness connected to it and converted it into educational and fun events for everyone who visits Edinburgh, and that most of the people living there are going back to their roots of respecting nature rather than other religions imposed to them throughout history and in the modern world today.
After this, I will definitely have a different feel of Edinburgh next time I visit it! Can’t wait! 🙂