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On This Day... 17th March 1514: We're taxing you all, to pay for a wall

By Alexander Clapperton, March 17, 2020 - 4:21pm
Section of the Flodden Wall in Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh

17th March 1514 - From the Burgh Records:

"Extent for walling of the toun.

The president baillies counsall and communite hes grantit and consentit that ane extent be gatherit of the haill communitie extending to the sowme of V li., with the dettis awand to the toun for the furnesing and defens of the samyn, efter the forme and effect of our Souerane Lordis writingis direct for that intent."

On This Day... 19th January 1586: Who clenges the clengers?

By Alexander Clapperton, January 19, 2020 - 12:52am
A foule clenger getting a good clengeing from a colleague

19th January 1586 - Yet another outbreak of the dreaded Plague drew to an end in Edinburgh around this time, and on this date the Burgh Council "Ordanis Alexander Fraynche, fowle clenger, to be clengeit and ane vther conducet in his rowme als guid cheip as can be."

That is to say: "Ordains Alexander French, foule clenger, to be cleansed [of the Plague] and another [should be] appointed in his place as cheaply as possible."

Deadly Diesel's dangerous driving delights denizens of 'dinburgh

By Adam Lyal, September 19, 2019 - 8:37pm
FF9 filming on Victoria Street, Edinburgh

It's not every day we look out of our shop window and see a souped-up muscle car careering down the street the wrong way, with a musclebound shaven-headed career criminal at the wheel. Every weekend, certainly, but rarely at about noon on a Wednesday.

Princess pumps, hunts monks, thumps chumps, does own stunts in brand-new show

By Web Monster, May 5, 2019 - 7:12pm

The Cadies & Witchery Tours co-founder, Robin Mitchell, is also the creator of the popular children's character Princess Pumpalot (The Farting Princess). Since Princess Pumpalot's inception in 2012, there have been 2 books published and 105 shows performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Ghosts & Gore, and so much more

By Adam Lyal, March 30, 2019 - 3:27pm
Alexander Clapperton (deceased), a Wild Highlander and friends on a Ghosts & Gore Tour

Some time in the wee hours of tonight, an hour of darkness mysteriously disappears into the aether (only to reappear, equally mysteriously, in the autumn). As those who've spent less of the last two centuries in a coffin have explained to me, this isn't unusual: it's that sleep-thieving time of year when the clocks spring forward to British Summer Time. For me and my phantom crew, this means one thing above all: it's time to kick off the 2019 Ghosts & Gore Tour season!

Ghostly guide gains greater glory with gripping gadabout guidebook

By Adam Lyal, December 16, 2018 - 1:56pm
Euan MacInnes with his book, Edinburgh: 10 Walks in the Historic Old Town

Edinburgh author (and long-suffering veteran Witchery Tour guide), Euan MacInnes, has just had his new book published.

Edinburgh: 10 Walks in the Historic Old Town explains why the Old Town of Edinburgh is so important to Scottish history, and includes everything you will need to explore the world-famous Royal Mile. In full colour throughout, the book has detailed maps, 250 photographs and illustrations, hundreds of historical vignettes, in-depth sections on people and places, and, in addition, supplementary sections on both Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.

On This Day... 1st October 1788: Poor Wullie

By Alexander Clapperton, October 1, 2018 - 12:45am
Deacon William Brodie and some of his tools

1st October 1788 - On this day Deacon William Brodie was hanged along with his accomplice George Smith for burglary and housebreaking.

Prior to his arrest, Brodie had been living a double life. By day he was known around the upper-class parts of town as a successful businessman, council member and deacon of the Edinburgh Incorporation of Wrights and Masons. He was a professional carpenter, and did work for some of the richest people in the city.

Who is Alexander Clapperton?

By Web Monster, June 1, 2018 - 3:47pm
Alexander Clapperton visits his grave

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.

Years of April foolishness

By Alexander Clapperton, March 31, 2018 - 5:27pm
Poster for Grave Robbers: The Movie

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.

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