In the summer before 10th Grade, my family and I took a trip to Europe to sightsee and meet up with my grandparents and family in southern France. The first leg of our trip was about a week split between England and Scotland, and then the 2nd week we were going to spend in France.
My mom and I are really big fans of watching horror movies as well as paranormal TV shows such as Ghost Adventures, etc. So when we found out there was a ghost tour of the Edinburgh Vaults, we immediately booked ourselves tickets for everyone, including my dad who has no real interest in anything paranormal.
I was a bit on edge as the tour was starting. While being underneath a beautiful and old city is cool, stepping foot in the underground passage ways that once harbored so much crime and murder is rather eerie. Especially in the dark.
The tour itself was rather simple. The guide would lead us to certain chambers and tell us the history of the room; what kind of people lived there, what their jobs were, where they slept, and the like. She would also tell reports of spirits or apparitions that people have seen or encountered while down there.
As a 15 year old, I was torn between wanting to experience something and peeing my pants at the thought of being touched by a ghostly hand. But it wasn't until we walked into one of the last chambers that something happened.
I happened to be one of the first people into this room since I was right near the door of the last chamber. Stepping into the room I could see something in the corner. I turned my head slightly to fully see the back corner and for a brief moment I saw a tall man in a hat. He was so tall and large that he seemed to be filling the entire corner, almost as tall as the ceiling. The most defining things I saw in this moment was that he seemed absolutely sinister, and that he was wearing big black boots.
As soon as I saw him he was gone and I wondered if maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me in the darkness. I wondered if my brain had just made something up because I so desperately wanted to see something. But that corner still seemed off. It seemed darker than the others.
By this time everyone was getting in a circle as instructed by the guide to stand around the room so she could stand in the center and talk about the room. Somehow, I had ended up with my back to that ominous corner. Unsure of whether I could trust my eyes or not, I asked my dad to stand behind me and hug me from behind because I felt rather spooked. Thankfully he agreed, and I no longer had my back to the corner, but to my tough father instead. I immediately felt better.
The guide started telling stories of who lived in this chamber and so on. She started describing a man, a man that was known to be the most violent and hateful spirit that resided in the Vaults. She said he was known to have murdered a woman and kept her body. She told more stories about this terrible, terrible man and then she did something I didn't expect. She turned around, faced me and my father. " And that corner is where he spent most of his time." she announced to the group while pointing in our direction. I could feel the blood draining from my face.
She then went on to describe him from the reports of others. He was tall and was sometimes seen wearing a hat or a long coat. But he was always described as wearing big boots. "In fact, around here we call him Mr. Boots." the guide said.
I was cold. How could she be describing the thing that I saw so briefly that I was sure was just my imagination? Why was I the only one that had seen it? Needless to say as soon as the group started leaving the room for the next chamber, I booked it to get out of that room.
The tour wrapped up soon after and while walking through the cobblestone streets of Edinburgh I told my parents what I had seen. Surprisingly my dad believed me. He even said he didn't feel completely comfortable in that room either. My dad is a military man without a fearful bone in his body so to hear him say that he didn't like being in that room kind of solidified that my feelings or fear were justified.
I saw a few other things in the Vaults that I'm not sure if they were my imagination or not. Things like children peeking their heads into the room from the hallway.
If I ever get a chance to go back to Scotland again, I would definitely like to revisit that tour. But maybe this time I will avoid standing with my back to any corners.