Alexander Clapperton (deceased) is the chief guide on the Witchery Ghosts & Gore Tour. We found him on George IV Bridge ... well, we found his name in the Edinburgh Room of the Central Library on George IV Bridge, where we do much of our local research. We very much liked the sound of his name, 'Clapperton', and the fact he'd been a Director of the Edinburgh Western Cemetery Company. He passed the 'looking for an historical character with an interesting name who can conduct one of our walking tours test' with flying colours.
Over the years we have created and implemented quite a few April Fool spoofs in and around Edinburgh.
In 1999, we worked with Scottish Television on an April Fool about Brazilian footballer Ronaldo. The challenge was to convince the public Ronaldo had Scottish ancestry and was eligible to play football for Scotland. The idea was conceived by Stuart Reid of Scottish Roots, who enlisted the help of our very own Robin Mitchell, and Tony Higgins from the Scottish Professional Footballers' Association.
In March 2018 we celebrate 15 years in our wee shop at 84 West Bow (Victoria Street). Now, to avoid any confusion, this anniversary is for our shop not the walking tours as they've been running for almost 35 years - founded in 1984.
Has it been a year already? Yes, this weekend our small but perfectly-formed exhibit of awfulness celebrates its frightfully festive first anniversary.
The William Burke Museum, which displays only ONE exhibit, a calling card case made out of the skin of notorious Edinburgh "bodysnatcher" William Burke, celebrates its first birthday on 28th January 2018, exactly 189 years after the execution of William Burke which took place on the 28th January 1829.
The term jumper-ooter (or jooter, for short) was invented by our co-founders Robin Mitchell and Colin Macphail on a warm summer's night in June 1984. In those ancient pre-jooter mullet-haired days of auld, Robin and Colin, resplendent in the full Highland garb, conducted personal walking tours of Edinburgh's Royal Mile.
Although we have recently been preoccupied with some other popular-culture boondoggle that apparently ought to be worthy of a scribble, this year I thought I'd focus my attention on that other festive date that's often a bit of an afterthought, falling as it does in the wake of that merchandise-bloated celebration of death and all. I speak, of course, of Guy Fawkes' Night.
It has been a while (if ever) since your corpsish correspondent has ruminated upon matters of contemporary cinema (or the "wazzock's lantern" as it was affectionately known by people living centuries after my death), but a recent release has made it justifiable.
As our keenest followers will know, Witchery Tours founder Robin Mitchell also created the windy, rugby-loving Princess Pumpalot in the successful children's book of the same name.
The Princess and her Wiffyville chums then took a step further, jumping from the page to the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2013. They haven't left since, with 2017 marking an astounding fifth year of full-throated flatulent fun.
27th April 1601: On this date Archibald Cornwall, town officer of Edinburgh, was hanged as a consequence of a terrible misunderstanding over his attempt to display a portrait of King James VI.
As today marks two hundred and six years since the execution of Adam Lyal (nice round number), we take the opportunity to look back at the life of Edinburgh's best-known working stiff.
Almost nothing has been learned of Adam's parentage or early life, other than that he was born in 1785 (he gave his age as 25 at his arrest), and had a younger brother John, born in 1789, and a sister Catharine whose age is unknown.