The South Bridge Vaults in Edinburgh, are hidden beneath one of the city’s busiest street, and can be accessed by the public through guided tours of a few of its subterranean chambers. The vaults comprise of a series of approximately one hundred chambers which were built in the nineteen arches of the bridged in 1788.
The vaults were originally used by local businesses as workshops and for storage but they were abandoned when the chambers began to flood. Subsequent to the businesses moving out, the vaults developed into a slum area, inhabited by people needing a place to stay. Unfortunately, the slums also attracted a number of human predators. Crime quickly became rife and the vaults are purported to have become a hunting ground for the infamous body snatchers, Burke and Hare, who murdered people and sold their bodies to Robert Knox, a Scottish anatomist, zoologist, ethologist, physician and lecturer on anatomy in Edinburgh, who used them for dissection at his anatomy lectures.
During our recent visit to Edinburgh, we decided to go on a day ghost tour of the Edinburgh vaults. Our guide pointed out some sights on the bridge and shared some interesting information about them and then took us down into the vaults beneath it.
Entering the famous vaults, we found ourselves in a wide and cold tunnel with three rooms built into its left hand side. I went over and looked into the first chamber. It was a museum which had been used by a group of local Wiccans for their rituals up until fairly recently when the leader of the Wiccan group died. The group had taken responsibility for freeing the vaults from the disturbing presences of the various ghosts a poltergeists that resided in the chambers. The museum featured a pentagram and wands hung from the walls. There was also a stone circle in the centre of the room.
The second chamber was empty and fairly ordinary although it is rumoured to have been inhabited by a poltergeist comprised of the souls of various historical residents who had passed away in the vaults as a result of disease, hunger and crime.
The third vault was the most interesting. It was empty except for a circle of stones in the middle of the room. The guide explained that this room was the one originally chosen by the Wiccan group for their rituals. They had encountered a demon in the room which they were not able to exorcise or convert to positivity.
The demon had plagued the group with sudden drops in temperature, sensations of being pushed or choked and other unpleasant experiences. The leader of the group attempted to rid the room of this demon by spending the night there and performing healing rituals, but he was unable to rid the vault of the disturbed and unaccommodating spirit. The group laid a circle of stones in the middle of the floor within which the demon’s evil influence is said to be contained.
People who had ventured into the circle were said to have experienced unpleasant sensations and some had become quite hysterical and upset.
I have never had any experience with spirits or poltergeists and have never really given them much thought outside of supernatural or horror stories and books I have read. Michael and I, however, both had most extraordinary experiences in this particular room. I was overcome by fatigue. I have trouble with my upper back and neck due to stress and working for long hours on a computer. While in that room I experienced the most awful pain in my back. My backpack dragged on my shoulders and upper back as if it was filled with something heavy. I also developed a headache.
Within moments of entering this chamber, poor Michael started complaining of feeling nauseous and unwell. He also developed a bad headache. I was glad when we left this chamber and the tour ended shortly thereafter. Michael was ill for the rest of the day and couldn’t eat or exert much energy. It was a most unusual occurrence and it has made me wonder about the negative energy that may be trapped in that particular chamber.
If you would like to go on an Edinburgh ghost tour, you can book here.
A new book from Roberta Eaton Cheadle..
Through the Nethergate
Roberta Eaton Cheadle
Margaret, a girl born with second sight, has the unique ability to bring ghosts trapped between Heaven and Hell back to life. When her parents die suddenly, she goes to live with her beloved grandfather, but the cellar of her grandfather’s ancient inn is haunted by an evil spirit of its own. In the town of Bungay, a black dog wanders the streets, enslaving the ghosts of those who have died unnatural deaths. When Margaret arrives, these phantoms congregate at the inn, hoping she can free them from the clutches of Hugh Bigod, the 12th century ghost who has drawn them away from Heaven’s White Light in his canine guise. With the help of her grandfather and the spirits she has befriended, Margaret sets out to defeat Hugh Bigod, only to discover he wants to use her for his own ends – to take over Hell itself.
It is available from Lulu.com here: Lulu.com
It is also available from TSL Publications as a soft copy book here: TSL Publications
It will be available on Amazon shortly.
About the author
Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton).
All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differentiate her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.
Find and follow Roberta Eaton Cheadle
While the Bombs Fell
What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.
Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.
Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.
Robbie also writes as Robbie Cheadle
The Sir Chocolate books are a delightful marriage of story, verse and cookery
… a perfect recipe for sharing with children. Silly Willy goes to Cape Town tells the adventures of two very different brothers…and includes five party cake ideas.
You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:
or you can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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