Of course, without further investigation, we cannot say for sure if there are paranormal forces at work along our route, but perhaps visiting these historic locations and sharing the stories of the people who lived and died in dark Dumfries, is acting as a trigger. We hope you enjoy reading the accounts below and encourage you to contact us with your own theories and experiences;
Halloween Night 2012: one lady who had joined us from Moffat, had an unusual experience outside Boots the Chemist which was the former site of the Kings Arms Hotel. She picked up a sensation on her left hand, mainly focused on her pinkie and ring finger. Her gut feeling was that someone wanted to hold her hand. It was a very light, gentle touch like that of a child.
Also, when we arrived at the Whitesands for the climax of our tour, she suddenly felt very apprehensive, to the point she didn’t want to go down the stairs to our final location. After being reassured and encouraged by her husband, the lady joined us and apart from this feeling of dread, nothing else occurred until the end our presentation. Round about the time, when participants are asked to take a moment to reflect on the poor souls executed for witchcraft, the lady heard a loud, clear female voice state the following words; “Lord have mercy on us”. This phrase was then repeated straight afterwards. The lady described the voice as being external, not inside her mind, just as if she was hearing it on the other end of a phone line…
ARCHIVE: The following took place on 22/08/12; Two ladies had an experience in Dumfries Theatre Royal during John’s presentation. One of the women described a tight feeling around her throat and developed a sudden headache which went away very quickly after leaving the Theatre. Her friend felt a bit ‘strange’ and got a cold, distinctive shudder. She has watched a performance at the Theatre before and did not pick up on anything then.
Whilst listening to Mary’s presentation at Greyfriars Street, a lady told John she felt as if someone was strangling her.
Upon arriving at the old public execution site, Maureen from Gretna felt rather strange and later told us she had felt a definite pat/tap on her right shoulder, which she demonstrated, and heard someone breathing (exhaling) loudly behind her. This happened just as Kathleen was beginning her presentation.
Mostly Ghostly’s John Hill shares a couple of encounters from our tour on 8th August; “After I finished my theatre presentation Wed evening last; two ladies came up to me and asked if there was anybody standing behind me on the stage as she had seen the curtains moving as if somebody was trying to find a way through the gap (in the curtains). I told her ‘No’ and she asked if she could have a look for herself, which i agreed to, of course there was nobody there.”
He went on to say; “This same lady approached me at the end of the walk to tell me that she had felt her skirt being pulled while listening to Mary delivering her presentation in the RAFA close, she demonstrated to me and gave my trousers a strong pull.”
Jayne from Dumfries shared her unnerving story with the the team; “I was on your ghost walk on Halloween night, when we reached the start of Irish St. I started to feel really strange. This continued when we walked on, progressively getting worse (which was quite scary!) then when we reached the place behind the Indian restaurant I felt like I could really cry and also felt like I was swaying and I was trying to ensure my feet were solid on the ground but the sensation continued.”
Sharon from Dumfries had an unusual encounter on the site of the old Buccleuch Street Prison yard; “I had felt someone pressing against me on the right-hand side a couple of times – I just presumed someone was standing too close to me so moved and looked over but no one was that close to me. I didn’t say anything and then when we were walking off from that spot ‘A’ mentioned she’d felt something down at the same place and another guest chipped in she had as well! Then I told them what I’d felt – quite weird.”
“My family and I joined in on the walk in Dumfries on Easter Sunday (2011) and had the strangest experience. We were behind a building in the centre of town and the host was telling the group about the hanging of a lady there years ago. Out the corner of my eye as she was talking I could see a small light that was so intense that it was brighter then a camera flash just above a young girl head that was listening to the tale also. The light was there for the quickest time but moved down to the top of the young girls head then disappeared. At the same time she jumped and started rubbing her head as though she had been hit on the top of the head.”
Angharad from Dumfries told the team; “When we were standing on the Whitesands, listening to the history of the witches being strangled and burned, I did feel that the backs of my legs and my back went very cold, but put that down to having my back towards the river. However just after that, some of us looked at each other and said – I can smell burning, the smell stayed for a few seconds then went away, then came back and disappeared again”.
Helen from Dumfries also experienced strange phenomena at the Whitesands; “Myself and a group of friends experienced a very strong sense of burning smell whilst listening to the story about peat fires built to burn the witches on the stake. It was a very strong peaty smell that was there for a few minutes, disappeared and then came back briefly once we had all acknowledged to the rest of the group we had all smelt this. One group member had also been able to smell cloves.”
Other reports include:
• A lady feeling a cold hand on her face on the site of the old prison
• A mobile phone re-setting itself in Shakespeare Lane
• A young girl suddenly feeling unwell on the site of Greyfriars monastery – she had to leave the walk early
• A man experiencing brief, but painful, earache on Irish Street, which disappeared as he moved away from the location
• Young children hearing a voice saying ‘Hello, where are you?’ outside Boots
• One woman feeling a cold draught in Shakespeare Lane; her hair moved but there didn’t seem to be any actual cause, the lane was quite sheltered
• The same lady feeling edgy in the Theatre as if being watched
• Young boy thought he saw a shadow of a man in Irish Street
• Unnerving feelings picked up in Irish Street, as if the group were not alone
• One lady feeling a presence behind her during the Theatre presentation
• Also in the Theatre, one woman sensed the presence of a male spirit coming from the stage area. He was tall and thin in appearance – not a very nice man.