Some visitors are more interested in the region’s darker side.
The Border’s rich history is spattered with violent battles, witch trials and terrifying Reivers’ raids, so it’s no surprise that such grisly events lead to a landscape teeming with ghost stories – and this is a menu that attracts paranormal enthusiasts from all over.
Each town has it’s fair share of spooky stories, with most centring on historic buildings and landmarks. St Boswell’s for instance is home to the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel that is said to be haunted by a mysterious grey lady who allegedly drowned herself in the nearby River Tweed when her lover was murdered.
Jedburgh Castle Jail has also been home to numerous paranormal activities, including the frequently spotted ghostly piper standing on the jail’s battlements.
After seven years working at Jedburgh Castle Jail, Elliott Lewis has seen his fair share of ghost hunters pass through the gates, “We have both commercial groups and paranormal groups come to the jail. I don’t get too involved in the investigations myself, I don’t want to scare myself to death!”
Elliot was present for one of the jail’s most high profile investigations when the team of Sky Living’s popular TV show, Most Haunted, set up camp in the jail for three eventful nights. Over the course of the investigation the team reported objects being thrown and heavy doors slamming on their own.
Aileen Copeland from the Midlothian paranormal society has seen investigations in some of the region’s most notorious locations including Jedburgh Jail and Mary Queen of Scots’ House.
And just why is she and her fellow ghost hunters drawn to Borders? “The Borders is a fascinating place steeped in history. It is believed that this is where the most battles took place between Scotland and England resulting in much unrest amongst the dead.
“Like most parts of Scotland and England, the further you delve into the history the more despair you find and it’s easy to understand why many spirits do not settle.” Aileen and her team have reported apparitions caught on camera, batteries draining for no apparent reason and footsteps, seemingly coming from nowhere.
Setting up for a paranormal investigation takes time and a plethora of specialist equipment, such as trigger objects, ouija boards, instruments to measure temperature changes and pendulums to name a few.
With over 100 investigations under her belt Aileen knows that patience is key. “Gathering good evidence is difficult as a spirit does not perform on cue. If it did it wouldn’t be the fascinating subject that it has become. The most compelling evidence for us in when we catch an object moving on film or a voice responding to our questions on a voice recorder as these things can seldom be explained,” she said.
Whether you are a believer or not, there is no denying that the Borders’ is home to some of the most compelling histories and legends, from the eerie surroundings of the much besieged Hermitage Castle, the terrifying witch trials of 17th century Selkirk, to the spooky apparitions of Jedburgh Castle Jail.
Enough to put the frighteners up anyone.
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