“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Legends of Greyfriars Kirkyard

Greyfriars Kirkyard is an atmospheric graveyard in the historic Old Town of Edinburgh. Over the years the kirkyard has been linked to a number of interesting legends, the most famous of which is no-doubt the story of Greyfriars Bobby. The pictures below show a statue of Bobby (which is just outside the kirkyard), Bobby’s grave, and the grave of his “owner” John Gray (Auld Jock).

As everyone knows, Greyfriars Bobby was a faithful little dog, who spent 14 years in the kirkyard mourning at the grave of his “owner” Auld Jock, until Bobby eventually died in 1872. However, it would seem that this story everyone knows to be true is in reality a myth. The current most likely explanation for this legend is that it was made up to stimulate more visitors to the kirkyard, and in reality Bobby was in fact not one dog, but two. It is thought that “graveyard dogs” such as Bobby were a relatively common occurrence across 19th century graveyards.

Another legend associated with Greyfriars Kirkyard is that of the McKenzie Poltergeist. In the kirkyard is the tomb of “Bloody” George McKenzie (which is pictured below). The tomb is supposedly haunted by a poltergeist that has been known to attack visitors to the tomb, and sometimes even to manifest in the properties that back onto the kirkyard. Unfortunately, there was no evidence of otherworldly goings on during my visit.

Pictures, Edinburgh (October 2011).

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