News columnist Sky has a new role in one of Scotland’s most haunted locations
Dec 15 2010 by Lynda Nicol, Rutherglen Reformer
FORMER Reformer columnist Sky Summers has taken on a new role – tapping into the paranormal activity in the vaults under Scotland’s capital city.
Sky, who featured regularly in the Reformer Psychic Postbag, has teamed up with Paranormal Investigations Scotland as a resident spirit medium.
And she is hoping brave souls from Rutherglen and Cambuslang will join her as she endeavours to tap into the psychic energy.
Paranormal Investigations Scotland is a new sister company to Auld Reeky Tours, who have been organising historically-based tours of the vaults beneath Edinburgh for more than 20 years.
The new investigations branch which Sky will be involved with are overnight vigils and ghost hunts operating along the lines of the television programmes ‘Most Haunted Live’ and ‘Scariest Places On Earth’.
Paranormal Investigations Scotland own the South Bridge Vaults in Niddry’s Wynd, Edinburgh, which are considered one of Scotland’s most notoriously haunted locations.
The Edinburgh Vaults or South Bridge Vaults are a series of chambers formed in the nineteen arches of the South Bridge in Edinburgh, which was completed in 1788.
The Vaults were used for over 30 years by merchants, cobblers and other tradesmen and storage.
Unfortunately, they were never sealed properly and, as the conditions in the vaults deteriorated, mainly because of damp and poor air quality, the businesses left and the very poorest of Edinburgh's citizens moved in.
The Vaults soon turned into the slums of Edinburgh, giving them a dark and sinister history.
Sky told the Reformer that, in 1996 the then owner of the vaults had been asked by a gentleman to rent out one them to him for use as a place of worship for a Wiccan coven and chose the driest one.
Having the only key to the door of this particular vault, the gentleman had been shocked to find one night, on returning to his temple, that it had been desecrated.
He took it upon himself to cleanse the temple and hopefully banish the ‘bad presence’ and arranged large stones to form a protective circle, in which he believed he had trapped the ‘bad presence’
Never returning to this particular vault himself, he then hired removal men to change his temple from one end of Niddry’s Wynd to the other.
Sky added: “People who enter the cursed stone circle often leave with unexplainable marks – scratches, bruises and burns being the most common.”
Sky said there was a poltergeist in the Vaults which was now “famous”.
She added: “It seems to have a masculine presence and does not seem to like woman. When we have groups of visitors in the vaults we separate men and woman. Men, typically the stronger sex, are put at the most 'active side' and the women at the ‘safe side’.
“It is common for people to be shoved and pushed by this entity and unseen force.
“Investigation equipment malfunctions in this room. We get strange EMF (electro magnetic field) readings and cameras, phones and lights will often not work.
“The most commonly experienced ghost in Niddry’s Wynd, is the one we call 'The Watcher'. More often than not, he is heard, rather than seen. Often his footsteps are heard coming down the corridor.
“When he is seen, he is usually standing at the very top of the Wynd at the foot of the stairs. Customers and staff have reported hearing keys jingling.
“One group of customers were once left in the Vaults by themselves while their tour guide left to collect a torch. On her return the group were found in a vault. She asked them why they did not wait where she told them. All of the group told her a man, whom they described and was just like the Watcher, had taken them to that room.”
Sky said that when her partner Stephen and a photographer went to the Vaults for a photoshoot between midnight and 2am one morning after the final tour of the night ended, they had strange experiences.
“Within minutes of arriving, the photographer Bruce, who knew nothing about the Vaults or their history, reported hearing keys jangling,” said Sky.
“Pictures taken just outside that particular vault failed to turn out although other photographs did. And, as Stephen was collecting our equipment together he took a nasty fall down the stairs. He believes he was pushed by a ghostly hand.
“Visiting the Vaults is certainly not for the faint hearted.”