Tonight, arguably one of the most haunted places in Edinburgh will host its first public overnight event. From 11.30pm until 5.00am a group of people will spend the night in Mary King’s Close in search of paranormal activity. At £70 per person the event has proven to be popular, as tickets sold out within two weeks.
The Real Mary King’s Close visitor attraction is renowned for its ghostly past and has regularly featured in shows such at ‘Most Haunted’ and ‘Ghost Hunters International’. The paranormal has fascinated people for centuries, and TV series like ‘The X Files’ have proven that it holds an incredible entertainment factor. With more and more ghostly films and TV shows being immensely popular (e.g. the film ‘Paranormal Activity’ cashed in over £3.5m on the opening weekend in the UK, only topped by the sequel which was released just over a week ago), the public interest in the paranormal has risen to a new high.
Nigel Hosier, general manager of the Close, explains: “The whole [paranormal] market has been growing over the last 10 years. I argue it’s probably peaking about now”. He says that the fact that the Close has been featured on several shows investigating its paranormal potential gives the site an “authenticity and credibility”.
When asked why they decided to offer an event of this sort now, Mr Hosier explains that they have been experimenting with a few private groups in the past year and now felt confident enough to offer tickets to the public. However, The Real Mary King’s Close will not be transformed into a practice site for wannabe ghost hunters.
“We don’t want to get away from our core product, which is a historical but entertaining tour”. Hosier says. He also mentions the financial pressure on organisations such as the National Trust of Scotland and argues that events of this kind might catch on with other attractions in the future, if proven to be popular.
Mary King’s Close has recently been nominated for a Scottish Thistle award in the Heritage Experience category, which, if won, would make its award count go up to three.