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The Creepiest Characters of Old Edinburgh

26th Oct 2015
The Creepiest Characters of Old Edinburgh

As Halloween approaches, it seems only fitting to look back at some of most sinister figures of Edinburgh in years past. If you ever feel nervous walking home at night, count yourself lucky that these scary figures aren’t still lurking in the shadows waiting for you. Or are they?

Major Thomas Weir

Major Weir was a devoutly religious man, but reports lingered that by night many of his activities were less than Christian...One day at a religious gathering he confessed to all manner of unspeakable acts that seemed so unlikely that the congregation presumed that he had lost his mind. His case was not helped by his sister, Grizel, who claimed that one night she and Major Weir had been taken in a coach driven by the Devil himself to the most fiendish and ghostly of places...Musselburgh. The brother and sister were tried and convicted of several crimes, including witchcraft, and the Wizard of West Bow as the Major became known, was sent to the flames. Yet still there were claims of sightings of the Wizard riding in a carriage pulled by black headless horses around the West Bow, being driven by Beelzebub himself. So if you are out at night this Halloween, and find yourself hailing a large black vehicle, make sure it’s a taxi, and not a carriage being driven by the dark lord.

The Earl of Drumlanrig

The historic Queensberry House at the foot of the Canongate belies a dark secret involving one of our creepiest characters of all. James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry the owner of Queensberry House, was heavily involved with the signing of the Treaty of Union in 1707. On the first of May that year he left the house to finalise the completion of the treaty, leaving only two people in the premises: a young kitchen boy who was turning a pig on a spit in the kitchens, and his son, the violent and psychotic young Earl of Drumlanrig. By the time he returned, disaster had struck. The Earl had escaped from his heavily guarded room, and had made his way to the kitchens. He was found to have taken the pig from the spit, and was instead roasting the kitchen boy over the fire. No one knows exactly what happened to the Earl, but he’s certainly a character best avoided around mealtimes.

And there's more! Edinburgh's bursting with creepy characters - more on Hallowe'en's Eve.

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