Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Greyfriars, today.
One of the most haunted and perhaps notorious of Scotland`s cemeteries is that of Edinburgh`s Greyfriars.

The cemetery takes its name from the Franciscan friary on the site, which was dissolved in 1559. The churchyard was founded in 1561/2, to replace the churchyard at St Giles, which was considered full.

In 1637, in Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh, Scots Presbyterians signed a 'National Covenant with God' and embarked on a religious crusade against the south. Their initial success eventually led to the English Civil war and the execution of King Charles I.

Within 50 years the movement was broken and Charles II crushed the last 'Covenanter' army at the Battle of Bothwell Brig. Twelve hundred survivors were imprisoned in a walled section of Greyfriars cemetery - now known as 'The Covenanter's Prison'.  Some were executed and hundreds died of maltreatment. 

Sir George Mackenzie
Their ruthless persecutor was Sir George Mackenzie, (1636-1691) who was a lawyer and Lord Advocate during King Charles II’s reign. His violent methods of torturing and killing the covenanters earned him the nickname “Bluidy (Bloody) Mackenzie”. During and after the Restoration approximately 18,000 Covenanters died for their beliefs.

The Mackenzie `Black` Mausoleum
Although he later died at Westminster England  on 8 May 1691, his body was removed to Edinburgh Scotland and perhaps rather strangely buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard - near the torture place of so many of his victims in Covenanter`s Prison.
Erected over his grave was a rounded mausoleum being designed by James Smith which still stands to this day, and it is claimed, to be there to gloat over the many who died through his hands.
From this day onwards, many people reported ghostly sightings and in general the cemetery remained quiet, and indeed was regarded as a pleasant place to visit during the day.

However, more recent events were about to change that atmosphere.
In early 1999, a homeless man broke into the tomb of Sir George Mackenzie. Not only did he desecrate the coffin, he disturbed a hidden room below the tomb filled with unidentified skeletons. Soon after, stories began to circulate about strange happenings in the churchyard. 

Visitors described patches of intense cold and sweet but sickening smells in the Covenanter's Prison. A member of Greyfriars staff complained of "always being watched" when passing Sir George Mackenzie`s vault. Jokingly he referred to it as 'The Black Mausoleum'. 

As time passed the rumours increased. Some reported a cold so intense it was painful to the flesh, and a boy was frightened by 'loud breathing noises' coming from the Black Mausoleum. Visitors were overcome by sudden nausea, and some surrounding tombs were damaged by `black magic` worshippers and vandals.

Other unexplainable incidents were that visitors developed mysterious cuts or bruises. 'Cold spots' and 'hot spots' would suddenly appear. Many complained of something they could not see 'touching' them. Others fell into a comatose state. And each incident took place inside Sir George`s `Black Mausoleum`. 

Over a space of two years, 24 people were knocked unconscious. Homes next to the graveyard wall became plagued by crockery smashing, objects moving and unidentified laughter.

Alleged witnesses to these attacks were many. There were two exorcisms of the area. Both failed. The section of Greyfriars where the attacks occurred is now chained shut. The entity responsible has been named the "McKenzie Poltergeist".

Here are some videos on the Mackenzie legend.

This video purportedly shows `an entity` attacking some girls inside `The Black Mausoleum`.

Here is a video slide show showing the inside and burial areas of the mausoleum.
WARNING! The compiler has put a ghoulish `screamer` at the end... Very loud!

Finally, the American TV series, `Scariest Places on Earth` investigated Greyfriars. 
Here is a section of that program visiting the mausoleum and cemetery. 

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