Adventurer and storyteller Fred Fogarty has been working with City of the Dead Tours in Edinburgh, Scotland for over a decade. He leads ghost walks into the Covenanters’ Prison and the ‘Black Mausoleum’ in Greyfriars Graveyard, home of the infamous Mackenzie Poltergeist. It’s his job to stay calm when the Mackenzie Poltergeist attacks, inflicting physical effects on tourists including scratches, bite marks, bruises, welts, vomiting and loss of consciousness. We met Fred for the first time at the Chicago Paranormal Conference and since then we’ve known that we need to have him on the show! So, Fred was back in Chicago a couple of weeks ago and Allison went down to interview him in person with me Skyping in to make snarky remarks.
Now, in the episode you hear about the history of the Black Mausoleum and how the Mackenzie Poltergeist attacks began. It’s named after George Mackenzie, who helped orchestrate the murders of over 18,000 Scotsmen in the name of unifying them all under the Church of England during a period known as “The Killing Time”. After Charles II restored the Monarchy in the late 1600s, he wanted everyone back under the Anglican Church (where he was in charge). The Scottish were promised 50 years earlier that they could practice their Presbyterianism (in fact they signed a Covenant to do so, so they were known as the Convenanters.)
George Mackenzie imprisoned them, made them live under subhuman conditions unless they would submit to the will of the English Crown and Church and most of them died sad deaths in the Covenanters Prison and were buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard Cemetery onsite. When Mackenzie finally died, he was buried in a mausoleum which was on the site as well. In 1998, a vagrant broke into Mackenzie’s tomb and ransacked the place and that’s when the unusual attacks began on the living who visited the tomb.
Now, I mentioned the City of the Dead ghost tours before because I think it’s one of the best ghost tours in the world (and certainly my favorite). I took it on a vacation a few years back and believe I was touched by the Mackenzie Poltergeist myself! And man, my camera was crap at the time, but here’s some pictures and the journal entries I made the next morning after we took the tour!
City of the Dead Ghost Tour – July 25th 2008 10pm
We walked back to the hotel to get our jackets and raced to St. Giles’ Cathedral to the tour. We almost didn’t get there because it was nearly a half-hour walk from the hotel. There was at least 60 people on the walk and we made it just in time as the group started to move. We went to Greyfriars Cemetery where over half a million bodies were buried (mostly plague victims) and got great views of Edinburgh Castle (which blew our minds, it’s situated on a hill overlooking a chasm, this city is improbably beautiful , like the Epcot Version of a Scottish city, where parts of it look like models from afar. )
The real scary story was from the Covenanters Prison and the Mackenzie Poltergeist. We went into the Black Mausoleum which was scary as Hell (and they juice you up with stories of attacks and knockouts ands such there) and told some good ghost stories but cheapened it with someone jumping out and causing a fake scare (the guide apologized and said his boss makes them do that.)
I didn’t feel anything, except for a tapping on my left shoulder, but I think that was my imagination combined with adrenaline. The tour was great fun, though, and we loved it.
The view of Edinburgh Castle from Greyfriars was astounding and you can see how it influenced Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, JK Rowling, Charles Dickens, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
So if you’re in Edinburgh, don’t miss this tour, for real!
Fred is also going to be at the first ever Hawaii ParaCon, taking place July 13-15, 2018 and we talk about this in the episode as well. This is going to be a really special destination kind of event, and if you’re interested (and you should be, it’s the Paranormal in Paradise!) then make sure to check it out, it’s going to be something spectacular!
This week’s song of course is inspired by that right bastard George Mackenzie and the energies of hate and vengeance that swirl around inside the Black Mausoleum and the Kirkyard. It’s a new Sunspot track called “The Killing Time”.
The air is thick with hatred and envy,
Souls that aren’t just looking for some peace,
A madness that we dare not comprehend,
the angry dead are looking for revenge.
All gone in the killing time
All gone in the killing time
Seething rage, unceasing hate
To burn the living kind,
Mercy and kindness slayed with the headsman’s blade
All gone in the killing time.
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