The Blair Street Vaults were completed in 1788 and sit under the vast arches of the South Bridge. They were initially used as tavens and businesses but unsurprisingly became the haunt of criminals and ne'er do wells. Unsurprisingly because the vaults are deep and dark, a perfect place to escape the eyes of the law. Rumour has it that the body snatchers and murderers Burke and Hare stored bodies here, before selling their coporeal booty to surgeon Robert Knox for vivisection.
Access to the Vaults is only possible with Mercat Tours and we would be very happy to recommend them as excellent guides and tellers of local lore. If you can, try to visit with a small group, it's worth paying a little extra to have the vaults to yourself for a short period. You need no longer than a couple of hours to experience all the Vaults have to offer.
Rachel: Tracey and I had wanted to visit the Blair Street Vaults for some time and were excited to finally get access. The entrance at street level passes an office and looks ordinary enough until you reach the stairs, abruptly a distinct still atmosphere creeps over you as you descend into the darkness. With only candlight and torches the limited visibility gives the appearance of endless gloom but when mapped, it's actually a realtively small area that you cover. Having said that, you have all you could possibly want for an EVP investigation.
The White Room, which has been reported as having many types of phenomena seemed a good place to start. Apart from a cold breeze and fading batteries, we experienced little and sadly Mr Boots was nowhere to be heard or seen. The recordings were relatively quiet and we were surprised not to have captured more voices, although those we did capture are very interesting.
Recordings were made during all tours and sole visits in Edinburgh, and it seemed all was going to plan until the second evening. I was sleeping soundly (thanks to ear plugs) but Tracey was woken up by the sound of people talking, one of the digital recorders had been switched on having been locked in the off position but it was loudly replaying the previous evening's recording; we two alone had been locked in a crypt at Greyfriars Kirkyard and the visit had gone well without incident or so we thought. The next morning I listened to the beginning of all previous recordings, without exception all had somehow been corrupted and were now unusable.
The only recording from the whole trip that escaped ruin was made during a visit to the Vaults. We look forward to returning to Edinburgh to re-record at the corrupted sites and next time we will ensure all data is transferred immediately after capture.