The Real Mary King’s Close

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While we were in Edinburgh we visited Mary King's Close as I had heard a lot about it in the media and seen programmes about it on TV. The trip lasted an hour and we were escorted by a guide dressed as Walter King, a 17th century "Foul Clenger" whose job was to clean houses affected by the plague. He described to us and the 16 other people on the tour the horrors of living in 17th century Edinburgh and particularly the horrors of the plague. How grim life must have been for those poor people!

We were shown a number of dark, depressing and dismal rooms and told a number of dark, depressing and dismal true stories about people who had lived in the rooms at that time, including Annie, a little girl who is supposed to haunt one of the rooms after being abandoned by her family. We didn't see Annie although we did see the enormous pile of teddy bears and toys which people have left for her over the years. I do hope they bring her comfort.

Overall, however I would say that this was more a historical tour than a ghost tour and we learnt a lot about life (and particularly death) in 17th century Edinburgh. I am just so glad that I wasn't around at that time!

At the end we had our photograph taken and when I looked at it both my husband and I look as if we had seen a ghost – although actually we didn't. All in all it was a fascinating tour even though it did leave us feeling rather 'spooked' and sad after hearing what people had endured in those days.

I should mention too that at the start of the tour we were warned that it might not be suitable for people suffering from asthma, epilepsy, mobility difficulties or claustrophobia. I do suffer from the latter but I was allright although if I had been on my own or just with one other person I would have been absolutely terrified and panic stricken!

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