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Suggestion is a Powerful Thing

Ghost Tour Guide
Originally uploaded by Troubled.
So, I can't sleep.

There are two reasons for this. The first, and probably the most influential, is that I worked nights for over a year, and my body is just programmed to be awake right now. I'm only a bit tired, and not enough to actually sleep when I could be doing countless other things.

The second reason is that today I went on one of the Ghost Tours. (Warning: Very Crappy Website. It makes noise. Lots of really really loud and awful noise, for no reason.)

I won't bother discussing if I believe in ghosts or anything of the like, and just put myself firmly on the fence for that debate. But I do love a good ghost tour. They usually work in some interesting history, and there's lots of good stories.

This is the second Ghost tour I've been on. The first one, in Edmonton, was a lot different. That guide could have sold snake oil to snakes and had them count the cost a small one. She took us around to various places in Old Strathcona, telling stories about the history of the area with ghost tales tossed in for each stop. Some of the tales were from other places (like the haunted railway, since ours apparently isn't haunted) and various tales from other places in the city. We made up a Ghost Tour Drinking Game for that one: if you took a shot every time she said "It's is said that" before telling a story, you'd be seeing the ghosts about halfway through the tour.

This one was a bit different. It's split between above ground and below. The above ground stuff that we did and talked about wasn't anything I didn't already know, but it was told in a fun and interesting way, so it didn't matter. We got the old "Gardy Loo!" or "Gardez L'Eau" story, and the details about the Nor'Loch, and stuff about the plauge pits and witch burnings. We heard the tales of how horrible the housing conditions were in Edinburgh up until the last outbreak of the plague. Very standard stuff, but again, with a guide that could have sold snow to eskimos, and then a fridge to keep it in. He was outstanding.

The more interesting stuff was with the South Bridge Vaults. (Well, there was the torture room before the vaults, but I actually covered my ears and said 'la la la' while they were discussing that. So, I can't tell you much about it. I don't like that sort of stuff.) My understanding is that they were walled up after a big fire that destroyed a lot of the Old Town, back about 150 years ago or so, and were forgotten about. When some workmen were doing renovations, they were discovered again.

The vaults are, allegedly, the most haunted place in Scotland. There are two levels of "activity": Low activity, which is cold spots, bright balls of light, and a couple of ghosts that don't really do anything; and High Activity, which is in the room where most of the people who lived in the vaults died. They cooked to death during the fire, hundred of them underground. Allegedly the ghost hates women, and has been known to attack them if they come into "his" side of the room.

Sadly, nothing happened that the power of suggestion didn't create (I will admit to getting chills up my spine, and feeling extremely jumpy through the whole thing), but now that I'm at home, and it's 4 a.m., I'm jumping at every noise and wondering what everything is.

So, I'm awake.

I loved the tour, though. I'd totally do it again in a heartbeat. There's another one I want to go on that does tours of the graveyards at night. I think I'll bring a flashlight to that one, though.


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