At around midnight on Saturday 10th May, the general manager at “The Real Mary King’s Close”, Stephen Spencer activated the infra-red camera to check that the computer system had been switched off for the night. The camera is static and was installed just a couple of months ago to take photographs of tourists, as a keepsake for them to take home with them. Stephen certainly got more than he bargained for; not only was the system still on, but a large ghostly image was captured apparently standing in front of the archway.

Mary King’s Close lies under Edinburgh City centre, and is probably the most famed underground street under the Royal Mile boasting paranormal activity, but until now no tangible evidence has been produced to back up this claim. The close takes its name from one of Edinburgh’s most famous residents, Mary King, who lived at the top of one of the closes off the Royal Mile until her death in 1644.
Mary King’s Close spokeswoman Lisa Helsby said: “There’s a trigger for the camera on the wall and we usually press it last thing at night to check that everything has been switched off properly.

We’d had some events for the Ghost Fest on this particular night, and when they’d finished, Stephen pressed the button before coming back up into the office.

He was the only person down there and wasn’t in the shot himself, so it was a total surprise when the image came through.

If everything had been switched off properly the photo wouldn’t have been taken at all, so it was a complete fluke. It’s not been tampered with or altered in any way – it’s exactly what was taken at that moment in time.

It definitely looks like a ghostly person in the distance and we’ve had quite a few visitors who have mentioned seeing a heavy-set figure in that location before.”

Former host of televsion’s “Most Haunted” programme, Richard Felix, feels that the photograph is “convincing” and added, “I don’t think it has been doctored and it’s one of the best examples of this kind of phenomenon that I’ve come across during my career. It’s especially interesting because the figure appears to have the same dimensions as other apparitions reported there over the past few years”.

In addition to the photograph, it seems that some very impressive EVP was also captured earlier in the evening. During one of Richard Felix’s events at “Ghost Fest”, local investigators “Ghost Finders Scotland,” used simple digital recorders, while members of the investigation and staff asked questions to ascertain if any spirits were present. When the recordings were instantly filtered onto laptops and played back, replies to questions were clearly audible. One of the loudest was recorded in the house of Andrew Chesney.
Chesney was the last resident at the Close, who vacated it “under duress” from the City Authorities in 1897, but continued to work there until 1902. One of the staff asked “Are you sick of seeing us yet?” and the reply recorded said “Yes I am!”. In another recording, staff asked “Would you like us to leave here now?” and a voice replied; “Just get out!”

Naturally there is some speculation regarding who the imposing figure caught on camera might be. Perhaps it is Andrew Chesney himself, or perhaps Major Thomas Weir, a male witch, who walked through the close on his way to execution. Many mediums over the last couple of months have claimed to have seen a large man lurking in the area where the picture was taken. Personally, I rather feel that the figure is that of a woman, possibly wearing a high necked white top and long skirt, and there seems to be a hint of a choker? Who knows, perhaps this is Mary King herself?

A special thank you to Lisa Helsby, who is the Mary King’s Close official spokeswoman. Lisa kindly granted me permission to use this image both in the newsletter and on our website, and “filled in all the gaps” on a very interesting story.

Kathy Gearing