Edinburgh is a fascinating city, both geologically and historically and these two elements meet in the vaults beneath the city. Because it is built on steep ground it lent itself to the building of vaults, rooms beneath street level, which could house many families cheaply, because in effect the space didn’t exist at ground level. Then the history kicks in; these vaults became so insanitary and basically unsafe, being damp and crumbling, that at the end of the nineteenth century they were filled in and abandoned.
Around a hundred years after they were left to rot, the Niddry Vaults, like others in the city, were bought and excavated. They revealed a terrible story of deprivation and squalor which had been the lot of many of the citizens of Edinburgh for over a hundred years. The vaults would have been damp and unhealthy from day one of their existence, cut into the granite on which the city is built. Families were herded into them, with as many as ten people living in a room 10 foot square, with no ventilation and no natural light, so it is scarcely surprising that mortality amongst every age group was appallingly high.
Some students of the supernatural believe that ghosts are spirit recordings relying on water to survive the years. Add to the damp atmosphere the sorrow and misery which was endured by the poor souls living underground in the Niddry Vaults and it will come as no surprise to find that ghostly sightings are common in these dank rooms. Children are often seen or felt, tugging at a sleeve in an endless search for love. A cold chill might herald a passing ghost, pacing endlessly along the corridors, wandering forever in the misery of a life now long lost.