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K is for...

... Kirkyard (Greyfriar's Kirkyard)

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?
---Edgar Allan Poe

The Nobleman

So, I thought I'd give the torture a rest for a bit and talk about something a bit less morbid---cemeteries!

Specifically, Greyfriar's Kirkyard.

Greyfriar's is a graveyard surrounding Greyfriar's Kirk (church) in Edinburgh, Scotland. The cemetery has existed since the middle of the 16th century. Being a cemetery, by all rights, ensures its place among the morbid ranks of this year's A-Z, but, there's a bit more to this cemetery.

First of all, the stone-masons who carved and set the mausoleum markers and headstones were some twisted little dudes. I don't know if it's like Notre Dame's Gargoyles who look scary and freaky to keep the evil spirits from entering the church/graveyard or what, but, there is some really strange and not-so-pleasant stone work in this cemetery.

Second, Greyfriar's has been around awhile---more than 500 years---so it's seen a great many things since its establishment. Probably the most tragic thing it's witnessed involved the defeat of a group of militant Convenanters in 1679. Some 1200 Convenanters, who refused to convert from Presbyterianism even though their King commanded it, were imprisoned in a field just south of the cemetery. Of course, the imprisonment itself wasn't the tragic part. No, that came about thanks to one, Sir George "Bluidy"(Bloody) MacKenzie, who began an inhuman persecution of the imprisoned Convenanters. The "prisoners" were forced to endure cold winter with minimal shelter and little food. Most died as a result of their treatment. Those that didn't, were either executed or sold into slavery---the only way out, aside from death, was to swear allegiance to the King---which they ALL refused to do. By the end of the ordeal, "Bluidy" MacKenzie had solidified his nickname and his bloody place in history.

And, as if the suffering of these poor folks wasn't enough. After being buried in the field where they were imprisoned, henceforth called Convenanter's Prison, these tragic souls were forced to endure an even greater injustice after death.

Sometime during the 17th century, the Greyfriar's Kirk amalgamated their part of the field into the Kirkyard, thereby cursing the persecuted souls to spend the rest of eternity sharing space with the same "Bluidy" soul who put them in their grave--- Sir George has quite the impressive mausoleum in Greyfriar's.

Mausoleum of Sir George "Bluidy" MacKenzie
There's been some talk/speculation about Sir George haunting the cemetery (MacKenzie Poltergeist). The activity associated with MacKenzie has increased exponentially since 1999 when a homeless man, seeking shelter from the weather, broke into MacKenzie's mausoleum. When the homeless man tried to move/break into MacKenzie's coffin itself, the ground beneath the coffin gave way, revealing a pit of collected remains from plague victims. The homeless man and Kirkyard grounds keeper fled in fear that night and since then, more than 400 people have experienced something they've attributed to the MacKenzie Poltergeist, everything from cold/hot spots to scratches, bruises and even the occasional fainting spell.

Of course, I'm not surprised that a pile of hapless bones were found beneath his Bloodiness. Someone of his horrific demeanor would surely want to continue lording over folks, even in death...


  1. OOOh creepy cemetery! I wanna go!

  2. So happy now that you've shifted to the less macabre. Oh and that name MacKenzie? It rings a bell. Sound like a fine fellow.

    1. Ha! If he was a distant relative of yours, I'm sure he was delightful :-)

  3. Gee what a creep-tastic guy! I be he haunts the cemetery because all his victims on the other side are after him now. Karma much!

    1. Yeah, I was thinking the same thing--- if those victims finally got a hold of him, it wouldn't be any less than he deserved! Karma kicking ass after death!

  4. This is cool! It would be awesome to actually see it up close.

    1. Yes it would--- I say we all plan a trip to Scotland!


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