The Mackenzie Poltergeist

The Mackenzie Poltergeist has been called the most well-documented paranormal phenomenon in the world. Since 1998, Greyfriars Churchyard has been the epicentre of an escalation of unexplained events linked to the ghost of Mackenzie. Situated at the back of the Kirkyard, the Black Mausoleum is an imposing sight, even on a clear sunny day. The Mausoleum is the grave of Sir George Mackenzie, a former Lord Advocate whose persecution of the Covenanters in the 17th century earned him the nickname Bluidy Mackenzie.

In 1998 something happened which is said to have disturbed Mackenzie from his eternal slumber and unleashed him on the unwary souls who venture into the Kirkyard. It was, the story goes, a stormy night when a homeless man looking for shelter found himself outside the Black Mausoleum, and seeing nowhere else to go, broke the simple lock on the door and went inside.

Tomb of Sir George Mackenzie
There he found coffins, belonging to some of Mackenzie’s relatives, and he supposedly broke one open out of boredom or a morbid curiosity. Then, suddenly, the floor beneath him gave way and he fell down into a pit. The space beneath the mausoleum contained bodies as well - plague victims who had been dumped and covered over as a quick means of disposal.

Despite their age, due to their having been sealed up the bodies were still in a state of decomposition. It’s hard to imagine the kind of terror he would have felt as he tried to clamber out of that hole, away from the grasping skeletal arms and rotted flesh of the dead. And when finally he emerged, he fled from the scene, barging past a man out walking his dog and leaving him terrified.

Since then over 400 people have reported various sensations ranging from cold/hot spots, scratches and bruises right through to the ultimate attention seeking affect of being knocked totally unconscious. Most of these occurrences seemed to happen in one particular mausoleum, now known as the Black Mausoleum that resides inside the Covenanters prison. There have even been two failed attempts at exorcism only to have one of the exorcists, Colin Grant, die a week later from a heart attack.


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