Possibly thought about visiting Scotland? Or particularly Edinburgh? One thing that you can be sure of is that Scotland is an amazing place and offers a lot of fantastic sites and attractions you can visit. The city offers you so many places to visit. The highlights of Edinburgh are the Old Town part and Georgian New Town. But the incredible Scotland tourist attractions don’t come to an end with those two spectacular places.
You have probably heard of those creepy stories about Mary King’s Close. Have you ever wondered whether it is true? Or have you heard of some horrible experiences directly from someone? Are there any ghosts that are wandering in that narrow streets of Edinburgh or is there a mysterious girl named “Annie”?
While stopping in Edinburgh, Mary King’s Close is definitely one of the most sought after tourist attractions of all times. Not just because of the ghastly stories it has to its treasure, but because of the sheer reason that once upon a time life existed underneath the streets of Edinburgh. Most of the tourists yearn to believe it only by seeing it for real.
In this article, we are going to focus on this particular underground street – Mary King’s Close. Why is it so popular, what’re the mysterious things about that close, and why you should pay it a visit.
Mary King’s Close
Mary King’s Close is a narrow street that takes places under the buildings on the Royal Mile. Royal Mile represents a succession of roads in the Old Town area of Edinburgh.
Many stories and myths come to mind when the name “Mary King” is mentioned. From hauntings and creepy tails for ghosts to a little girl that feels lonely because her parents have abandoned her in times of plague. For sure, there are a lot of things you can see in Mary King’s Close throughout the day. Yet, at night different and various things happen.
So let’s unveil the mysteries and see what’s the truth standing behind that name.
Mary King’s Close – Origins And Myths
At medieval times, Mary King’s was one of the busiest streets located just off Royal Mile, directly opposite of St Giles Cathedral.
The name of the street comes from one Mary King. She was a merchant who lived on the street in the 17th century. Usually, closes were named after prominent local citizens. Mary, as stated above, was a merchant in 1630 who continued growing the family business after her husband died. An impressive thing for a woman at that time.
Later the access to Mary King’s Close was denied, and the place was buried due to the construction of the Royal Exchange. Three centuries later in 2003, the close is reopened, and it’s available for tourists.
But, archaeologists made a new statement that Mary King’s Close consists of many smaller and narrow closes. Those narrow streets come with tenement buildings on either side. The buildings had eight stories and in the past, where rich people lived on the highest floors. While the poor resided on the low stories where the stench of sewage was unbearable.
When Edinburgh’s streets were buried underground, many people didn’t want to leave their homes. A lot of the residents continued growing their business in that half-buried city. You could go to the underground streets to buy tobacco or get a wig made.
The Little Girl “Annie”
But what about the gruesome stories and mysteries? Mary King’s Close had its reputation for hauntings and ghosts since the early years of the 17th century. Some pieces of evidence say biogas was circling the air. The gas creates eerie lights that might have been the cause for the rumors about hauntings and ghosts.
People say that a woman in black has been noticed wandering in the underground streets. Narratives of ghosts were also a common thing. Yet, there is something that stood among all others.
Japanese psychic claims to have had a meeting with a small girl named “Annie.” He tells us that this happened in one of the rooms on Mary King’s Close. She says that she was a victim of the plague in the past. And she was abandoned by her parents. That’s why Annie asked the Japanese psychic for a toy to stop feeling so lonely.
After that, guests and visitors from the whole world have donated toys for Annie. And this resulted in a creepy pile of toys located in Annie’s room.
Tourists have also reported about hearing footsteps in empty rooms and feeling frustrated.
What’s the best part?
An infrared camera has obtained a picture of a mysterious figure in the background long hours after the place was closed to tourists.
Mary King’s Close As A Visitors Attraction
These days, the close represents a Scotland tourist attraction since its reopening in 2003. Many visitors have gone through those streets in attempts to find something unusual and supernatural. Yet, no one has stumbled on real evidence that proves the existence of the women in black or the creepy ghosts.
There are 15 minute-tours available from 10 am until 9 pm year-round. That’s great because you can visit the close at a time that suits you best. Just keep in mind that in the summer a lot of people are heading to Edinburgh, especially to Mary King’s Close. So booking in advance is a thing that we highly recommend. Full-price access is £14.50, with discounts for seniors, students, children, and families.
The tour can be really friendly and enjoying. Guides speak mainly English, Spanish, and Italian. Yet there are audio guides on multiple different languages.
Another great thing is that the luggage rooms are also available. Therefore, the first thing you can do right after getting off the bus is to visit Mary King’s Close. One downside is the unavailability of wheelchairs.
Edinburgh, especially Mary King’s Close, will show you the history 500 years ago and how Scottish people used to live at those times.
We hope you find this article interesting. Leave a comment if you have visited Marry King’s Close and share your experiences.