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The hidden history of Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh

These gardens are an iconic piece of Edinburgh's landscape, lending a beautiful green color to the city and helping to bridge the gap between the old and new city. At one time it was an artificial river called Nor Loch with 600 years of history, which was used as a dumping ground for waste, feces, animals and human bodies.

In the case of human bodies, it was quite common for murderers to dispose of their victims by throwing them into the lake. Apart from that, it was a very popular place for suicides and for criminals to be drowned, who were locked in a large trunk with holes and thrown into the lake.

There is also another story that almost no one knows and that happened during the witch trials of the 16th century, when they used the lake to check if the suspects were really witches. The method was as follows: they were placed on a stool, with their toes and thumbs tied, and then thrown into the lake. If they floated, it meant they were guilty and they were burned at the stake in front of the crowd. If they sank and died, the women were clearly innocent and free from evil spirits, which was not positive, because they never enjoyed their freedom.

Over time and after the deaths of more than 300 women, the trials were re-evaluated when they realized that the lake was so clogged with the population's waste, that it was very difficult for anything to sink into it, especially people. This was when they decided to end this practice and use other types of methods.

At the end of the 18th century and with the construction of the new city, the lake was drained to connect the two halves of Edinburgh and, finally, become Princes Street Gardens. Today, it is a place full of splendor and joy, but it is said that during the night, paranormal activity comes to life. Many have heard cries for help, seen ghosts and say that it has an aura of melancholy and sadness, something that is understandable, due to its horrible and sad history.

Would you dare to visit it at night?


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