On the southern edge of City of Edinburgh lies the town of Gilmerton. Once famous only for the limestone mining that has taken place in the area for centuries, ohe town itself is pleasant but unremarkable. It is what is under the town that draws visitors from far and near. Here can be found one of the most fascinating mysteries in the UK, an underground cave system of unknown origin and purpose that has intrigued visitors for hundreds of years. Records of the caves can be traced back to to the early 18th century when local blacksmith George Paterson occupied the site. While he claimed to have constructed the caves single-handed investigations have since shown them to be far older, and beyond his capabilities. Theories abound concerning the original purpose of the caves with everything from a tomb, to a witches coven, a meeting place for a persecuted religious group, or a retreat for the Knights Templar being suggested. The cove was largely forgotten during the 20th century and buried beneath a busy shopping area until it was rediscovered and opened to visitors in 2002.
The cave system is comprised of two caves, one smaller, and one larger. Around the perimeter of both caves there are benches out of the rock, there are also tables carved from the rock in the centre of the caves. The whole system was originally lit by apertures leading up to the surface, although today electric light is provided.
What is clear about Gilmerton Cove is that there is a long history of supernatural activity in the area. Investigation in the caves have revealed the presence of many spirits, in particular children have been sensed here. Investigators speak of a girl called Annie of 5 or 6 years of age, and her shy brother called Philip. Older people have also been sensed here, along with a general feeling of hiding, especially in association with a Templar Knight. On one occasion an unknown figure was spotted lying on the floor by several visitors.
Voices are another feature of the cove with an unknown voice speaking the words “Help me” and “Get out” being heard and recorded. Unexplained smells are also commonly experienced here, whether the scent of perfume, or word burning, or bread cooking. All of these have noted by visitors, and none could ever be explained by natural means.
Gilmerton Cove is a mystery waiting to be uncovered. There is so much about these caves that is unknown. Were they the site of ancient satanic ritual, or a hiding place for the towns residents fearing another English invasion? No-one knows for certain what happened here, and an investigation of the site could help to unravel the mystery. Visitors to the Cove must come prepared for anything, as a visit here is a step into the unknown.