Event Review: The Haunted Walk Virtual Haunted Campfire [Edinburgh, Scotland]

Updated: Mar 3



By: Jeff C. Carter

I switched on my laptop, and dimmed the lights. I was ready for a ghost story, but I wasn’t sure how spooky a virtual campfire could be. The presentation began with a pile of logs crackling in a dark snowy field, and the haunting chime of bells. I could already tell that this was going to be fun.


THE HAUNTED WALK is Canada’s most popular walking tour, and they are now offering virtual ghost walks from around the world. For our show, we were transported to Edinburgh, Scotland, and introduced to Joshua Bryant. Bryant is a professionally-trained storyteller, and guide for City of the Dead Tours. Bryant welcomed us to the city with his charming Scottish brogue (and yes, the organizers confirmed that he was wearing a kilt).


The first half of the evening held tales of execution by slow hanging, Celtic myths, and an exploration of the nightmarish conditions in 18th Century Old Town. The city built the world’s first skyscrapers, but these wooden towers began to lean, blotting out the sun, and creating a cramped web of darkened, filthy streets where raw sewage literally rained from above.


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There was a brief intermission, during which the host of the stream presented a trivia game for the 200 people watching live (with prizes for a lucky few).

Bryant resumed the tour, bringing us deeper into the blackest pits of Edinburgh’s history. The suggested age range for this event is 12+, but beware – it gets dark. We descended into "the vaults," a grim complex of damp, subterranean chambers that sprawled for miles inside the old bridges of the capital. These leaky storage spaces were quickly abandoned by merchants, and the wet, windowless chambers were transformed into stagnant claustrophobic slums where the city’s poorest people choked on the fumes of tallow candles, and lived on a diet of roasted sewer rats.


The city guard steered clear of the vaults, and it wasn't long until they had become the center of the criminal underworld. The vaults were home to brothels, opium dens, and illegal distilleries. This was our backdrop for several ghoulish tales about the enterprising grave robbers Burke and Hare, as well as the bleak trade of "baby farming."


The event was scheduled to last for 90 minutes, but Bryant was gracious enough to stay on longer for a Q&A. He showed us around the site of Covenanter’s Prison, the world’s first concentration camp, as well as the infamous black mausoleum of "Bloody Mackenzie," the man behind the persecution of its inmates. Bryant ended with a personal story about his own violent encounter with the Mackenzie Poltergeist.


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By the end of the night, the chat was buzzing with people who had been entertained, creeped out, and inspired to visit Edinburgh. I really enjoyed the theatrical storytelling, and the blend of fascinating history, Celtic myth, and traditional song. I recommend THE GHOST WALK’s virtual campfires for anyone who wants to explore ghost tours around the world without buying a plane ticket.

There are live virtual events every week at https://hauntedwalk.com/virtual-haunted-campfires, as well as information on in-person tours, paranormal investigations, The Haunted Talks podcast, and ghostly experiments that you can perform at home.