A few issues ago, I wrote about wanting to go ghost hunting in Scotland, and if anybody there had any suggestions. I got a lot of great responses, including one from Gary Hugill, who introduced me to another member of the group, Premier Paranormal Tours, his name is Brian Harley, who had some great suggestions on places to hunt around Edinburgh, so we agreed to meet when I got there.
Brian came to the Travelodge where I was staying, we grabbed a bite to eat and set up a game plan. Now, the first thing I noticed is that he was wearing a black trench coat and one of those black hats the bad guy always wear in the spy movies, and gave him a strong resemblance to Boris Badenov of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. OK, now that I have figured out what I’m going to call him, we set up a hunt at Hailes Castle for the following night.
Brian, AKA Boris came and got me, and he brought along another member of his group, Carol Ann Hosburgh, a really sweet girl who I would come to find out was totally fearless. We headed out to the castle, which wasn’t but about a half hour away, and as we went down this dark curvy road I asked them if we were going to get in trouble wandering around in the dark, he said Scotland is a lot more open when it comes to ghost hunting, so everything would be fine, last thing I want to do on my vacation is to get thrown into the hoosegow! There were a few houses we went by, but when we got to the castle, it sat all alone in this big field, very isolated, very quiet with only the moon for illumination, it was classic! It was eerie moonlight, an abandoned run down castle, exploring time!
We walked about two hundred yards, and as we got close, you could see parts of it had either been destroyed or caved in,
it had been cleaned up, but a fantastic place for my first hunt in Scotland..
A quick tour of the castle showed it to be very large, with several different areas to explore. Choosing the bottom floor, we started our investigation, where we did voice recordings, EMF detectors, and carefully swept the entire room with my night vision camera, but it was very quiet, so we headed up to the room upstairs. As we went through the door, I had a very strong feeling something was on the grounds with us, about a hundred yards away.. Brian went down a ways to check, and when he got back, he said there was no one there. Still, I could feel something out there, so I would look out the door from time to time. Nothing was happening on that floor so we went around to the back and down some stairs to an area where prisoners were held underground, there was a grate with a lock on it in the floor that led straight down for about eight feet. .Carol Ann laid down on her stomach and looked in. In all the time we were at the castle my K2 meter did not go up even a single light, we were in the middle of nowhere with no electricity or outside influences that might make it go off , so were all got a major surprise when Carol Ann stuck her face against the grate and yelled “HELLO”.. the K2 meter instantly lit up with all five lights flashing for about 10 seconds, as if she had scared something to flee from underground.. See, I told you she was fearless! After that, I had to give her a nickname, Carol Ann doesn’t sound like a tough ghost hunting name, so I started calling her the Castle Raider..
Leaving that area, we headed again to the top floor, and once again I felt a presence about a hundred yards away in the tall grass, the same place as before, we stopped and looked, and all of a sudden I see what looks like the light from one of those old fashioned lanterns that they used back in older times. We watched it, Boris and the Castle Raider finally saw it. We were trying to figure out exactly where it was, the houses were that direction but much farther to the right across the road. While we were looking, the light started moving further into the tall grass, we watched it for maybe 10 seconds as it moved, then it went out. Hard to imagine why anyone would be out there at roughly two in the morning, walk into field and then turn off their light, or even why I had felt them over there all night.. very interesting.. we called it a night and they took me back to the Chapel Cross Guesthouse.. we made plans to go to Greyfriars and the South Bridge Vaults.
I got picked up the next day by Brian, Carol Ann, and their friend Alex Power, and we hit Edinburgh.
Edinburgh at night is a great place to walk around; the Edinburgh Castle all lit up in the background, the entire city lights up all those historic buildings, hills and streets. You can let your imagination take you back in time, the history seems to wash over you in waves. I love the feeling you get here.
We first went to Greyfriars, a very famous cemetery surrounded by old time buildings and monuments. Brian told us there were thousands of people buried there, one of the most occupied cemeteries anywhere, but it is not like you think.. most of the graves are behind a gate, so you can’t really see them, but it is a really interesting place. Brian and Alex were walking ahead of me and Carol Ann, it was fall, so there were lots of leaves on the ground, when we heard very distinct footsteps to our right, about twenty feet away, it went on for several seconds then stopped, but definitely something was up, as we both turned to look to see who was there. Nobody, nothing, the leaves weren’t even moving. Nice start for the night!
Brian took us over to the City of Edinburgh Tours, where Josh took us first back to Greyfriars, it was cool to be on the tour, Josh was an excellent guide and we learned even more, then it was on to the South Bridge Vaults, where William led us on a tour of the underground vaults, and told us of a lady in white who appears at the end of the hallway on occasion, and dolls that move in another section. One word of caution: if you are tall, pay attention as you go through doorways, the people were a lot shorter back when they built the vaults, I found that out by bashing my head in the dark.. I should have listened to William, he warned us earlier!
The tour group filtered out, and a woman named Kelly came in and told us we had the place to ourselves, she was very nice, and told us some of the things that some of the people on tours had experienced, particularly the lady in white. (Why do they always wear white?)
I couldn’t believe that we were getting this place to ourselves, and we started right in. The place where the lady in white was repeatedly seen was at the end of the hallway, and there were a few steps to go up, and ended about three feet high. I asked them to turn out the lights and went up the stairs, crawled under the overhang and sat down cross legged on the floor, and the Castle Raider used my night vision camera to film it. I had a K2 meter and voice recorder, but was getting no results. After about fifteen minutes I looked out and Carol Ann ( Castle Raider) was looking directly at me, still filming, when I noticed she was talking to someone. I crawled from under the small room, and asked her who she was talking to. She said she had been talking to Brian, and she seemed shocked when I told her that while she was talking there was no one else in the tunnel, actually no one but me anywhere near her. She said she was positive someone was there, when right then Brian walked up from the other part of the vault. She asked if he had been standing right next to her and he said no, he was in the other room, he and Alex had been trying to see if they could get the dolls to move, but no luck. Carol Ann was absolutely positive someone had been standing next to her, but I told her I saw her the whole time she was filming, and she was always alone. Pretty cool! This place is getting some energy flowing!
We did some still photos next, they set up a laser grid in the tunnel, and I used my phone to snap some pictures, and I aimed my camera at the spot where they would see the lady in white. I snapped two pictures in a row, you can see them below.. The red dots are the laser grid. In the first picture the tunnel is clear, in the second picture there is something person sized in white at the end of the tunnel, right where people see the lady.. Is it her? Or is it an anomaly of the camera? I’ll let you make up your own mind.
We started to wind down the hunt, when Brian suggested one more room, we searched it, and Carol Ann, Alex and I walked out and sat on a bench.. We could hear Brian talking in the other room. When he stepped out he saw me and looked startled. He said “how long have you been out here”? We told him we had all been there several minutes. Brian seemed perplexed, saying he had been talking to me in the other room, he thought I was standing next to him. Sound a little familiar; it is exactly the same thing that had happened to Carol Ann. Now these are no newbies when it comes to ghost hunting, so I think it has a good deal of credibility, they are not the types to make things up or mistake someone standing next to them. I wonder if other people that have gone there have had the same experience.
The following day Boris and the Castle Raider stopped by the Guesthouse to chat, and I told them of all the things I’d seen around Rosslyn Chapel, but the one thing I missed but really wanted to see was the cave where William Wallace of Braveheart fame would hide while the British were hunting for him. I’d tried to find it, no luck, and one of the guides at the Chapel said there was a landslide, a lady broke her leg and you couldn’t get there right now. Boris immediately said “come on, I’ll show it to you”.
We jumped in his car and drove to a farm type place and got out. I said is it OK to be on this property? He said you needed permission, and he had it, so the three of us went about a quarter of a mile when we came to a steep downslope which turned into about a fifty foot drop. We proceed slowly and very carefully. As we reached a granite slab we stopped and looked at the view, which was fantastic. I realized I was on the other side of the creek from Rosslyn Chapel and never would have been able to find this place on my own. I looked to Boris and said “I don’t see a cave”, he chuckled and said “you’re standing on it”.
Boris led me and the Castle Raider down and around the granite to a steep down slope again, only this one went right to the edge of the drop off, and the fall would definitely put a severe hurting on you, at least. There was a path about two feet wide that went from the rock face on one side, and the drop on the other, so we moved very carefully for about thirty feet and there it was, the entrance to the cave. We went in, it was bigger than I thought it would be, and I can see why no one ever found him, it was almost impossible to find, very easily defended, all he had to do was poke anyone who tried to come with his sword and they would fall over the drop off. We checked it out for a while then made our way back to the Guesthouse.
Sadly, it was time for me to return to Hollywood, but I have already set up another hunt with them for this June. Can’t wait!
Premier Paranormal Tours is well worth your time to check out, they are good people, and they really know the hot spots of ghost hunting around Edinburgh, including the hard to find, and the even harder to get into, they have connections to a lot of really interesting places. The group consists of Brian Harley ( Boris), Carol Ann Hosburgh ( the Castle Raider),Garry Fields, who is also a medium, Karynn Hughes, Gary Hugill, and Joanne Benaicha…
Brian began ghost hunting in 1975 at Bolling Hall in Bradford Yorkshire, where he is from, originally, and was very possibly the first person to investigate there, as ghost hunting was not common at that time. Boris’ mentor was the well-known author and paranormal researcher Andrew M Green, who joined him often on hunts.
In 1976 he spent the summer investigating Bolton Priory in North Yorkshire, and he is returning there, 40 years later with his team to film an episode for their new series Raw Paranormal
Boris, Karynn Hughes, Garry Fields
Boris and The Castle Raider
You can contact them at 07821154787 , might need to remove the 0 and add a +44 if outside of UK
You can also e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org