When a city’s skyline is dominated by a centuries-old medieval castle, there’s bound to be a few strange facts and even stranger fiction hidden beneath its ancient walls. So in celebration of Old Hallows Eve, we thought we’d share some of our all-time favourite myths about Edinburgh Castle, as well as a few wee hauntings and local legends we’ve learned along the way.
Myth: Edinburgh Castle Was Built By The Romans
While a castle has stood atop Castle Rock for as long as we can remember, contrary to popular belief, there’s no proof that Romans had anything to do with Edinburgh Castle. Excavations around the Castle in 1980 revealed a settlement has reigned supreme over modern-day Edinburgh since the Bronze Age.
Myth: The Stone Of Destiny In Edinburgh Castle Is Fake
Set in the belly of Edinburgh Castle is an ancient symbol of Scottish monarchy – the Stone of Destiny. For hundreds of years, the stone has witnessed the coronation of kings and queens throughout UK history. But in 1950, four Scottish students removed the stone from Westminster Abbey. Three months later, the stone turned up at the front door of Arbroath Abbey. In 1966, the stone was returned to Edinburgh Castle, where it sits in the Crown Room. But despite the stone’s safe return, many people believe the stone that sits in Edinburgh Castle is not the real Stone of Destiny.
Legend: The Dragon On Top Of St David’s Tower
In 1558, in a Catholic country on the brink of Protestant Reformation, several people reported seeing a dragon on top of St David’s Tower. For many people, the sighting was seen as a bad omen. Medieval propaganda or silly superstition, it is still one of our favourite myths about Edinburgh Castle.
Hauntings: The Headless Drummer
Not only is Edinburgh Castle a source of fascinating myths and legends, it is also one of the most haunted sites in all of Edinburgh. In fact, it is said that the Castle is protected by the spirit of a headless drummer boy who only makes an appearance when the castle is in danger. No one really knows who the drummer is or why he protects the Castle, but to this day people still claim to hear his music through the castle corridors.
Hauntings: The Lone Piper
And finally, one of our favourite myths about Edinburgh Castle is the story of The Piper. Legend has it that a Piper was sent to explore the vast tunnels beneath Edinburgh Castle and the surrounding countryside. As he moved throughout the hidden labyrinth, he would play his pipe so that others could track his movement. Suddenly the music stopped, and no sign of the piper was ever found. Although for anyone listening closely, the eerie tune of the piper forever lost in time can still be heard around the Castle.
So there you have it. Some of our favourite facts, legends and myths about Edinburgh Castle. To find out more about haunted Edinburgh, book a 2 night Edinburgh Break, complete with tickets to one of Edinburgh’s most popular ghost tours, with our Haunted Edinburgh Special Offer.