Hotel staff fear spooky cellar where things go bump in the night

by Scott Douglas

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

The tale of ghostly ‘guests’ at Fraser Suites is told with help from hotel PR experts

STAFF at Edinburgh’s newest boutique hotel believe they may be accommodating some extra guests after a ghostly presence was uncovered during renovation work on the building.

Workers at Fraser Suites Edinburgh have reported hearing strange noises and experiencing a ‘strange chill’ in an eerie underground cellar in the basement – which lies just a few yards away from the notorious Mary’s King’s Close.

The site of Fraser Suites Edinburgh, located 12 – 26 St Giles Street in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, dates back to the 1860s where it was location for the Edinburgh Courant, one of the first regional newspapers in the UK.

Ghost experts now believe the spooky site could be another example of Edinburgh’s chequered, historic past – which is famous for being riddled with mystery and legend – throwing up an unexplained happening.

Fraser Suites Edinburgh assistant manager Laura Richardson said: “We have been using a basement storage room for linen and sheets. That space is fine, but there is a door in the room that leads into something that may once have been an underground coal cellar.

“Some of the housekeeping staff have reported hearing strange thumps coming from behind the door a couple of times – and when you go into the old cellar there is a strange chill at a certain spot in the room.”

The underground cellar – which was only brought back into use when the building was renovated – has old red brick walls and a narrow stone chute from the street above, which was once used by draymen to deliver coals to the building.

Fraser Suites Edinburgh, which is set to have its grand opening in mid November, offers travellers the unique concept of 75 luxurious and contemporary rooms and suites which double up as full serviced residences.  The Edinburgh site is the latest venture – but the first exclusive boutique hotel – to be opened by Singapore-based Frasers Hospitality, which is the global leader in the extended stay market.

Fraser Suites Edinburgh also marks a ‘homecoming’ for Frasers, whose founders, Scotsmen John Fraser and David Chalmers Neave, ventured to Singapore and in l883 incorporated Fraser & Neave Limited, which is now a conglomerate which owns Frasers Hospitality.

As well as being the base of the Edinburgh Courant, from the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, the site was known as the ‘Fleet Street of Scotland’ as it played home to a number of Scottish national newspapers. It was laterally used by Edinburgh City Council but has lain empty since 2007

been several paranormal occurrences recorded in these sites.

The location is just over 100 yards away from the famous underground street, Mary King’s Close. Psychics are said to have felt the unhappy spirit of a little girl taken by the plague that ravaged Edinburgh in the 1640s in the subterranean streets surrounding the close.

Mark Turner, paranormal investigator for Ghost Finders Scotland, said:  “There is a huge amount of history and tales of human suffering linked to old Edinburgh. Spirits are tied to this life because of suffering or unfinished business, so this is perhaps why the city has had so many reports of ghosts.

“Mary King’s Close and the vaults are very close to St Giles Street and there have

“Our investigations have uncovered phenomena such as people feeling invisible hands pushing them  in one particular vaults room nearby, or people hearing footsteps when there is nobody there.

“Considering there is quite a high amount of paranormal activity in the area, it is quite feasible that there might be something at the Fraser Suites Edinburgh hotel.”

He said he would happily speak to witnesses of paranormal activity and conduct an investigation at the hotel if needed.

Laura added: “It was very hot at times this summer but whenever anyone went down to the old cellar there was always a spot where it was icy cold.

“It is very odd because the rest of the hotel always had an even temperature – and there have never been any other strange goings on in the rest of the building.

“It is a little bit spooky to think we may have a couple of extra, unpaying guests. But the door is kept locked and we don’t use the space, so will be looking ensure they very much stay in the basement.”

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Scott Douglas, of public relations agency Holyrood PR in Scotland

Scott Douglas

Scott Douglas is the co-founder of the multi award-winning Holyrood Partnership, renowned public relations agency in Edinburgh, Scotland.
As well as providing expert PR services in Scotland and the UK, the former journalist heads a team which offers a host of other professional media services.
Those include crisis management PR, photography for business PR, affordable business video, social media campaigns and strategic content planning and delivery for businesses of all sizes.

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