In light of Hallowe'en, I was curious about Edinburgh's reputation as one of the most haunted cities and, I must say, it does not take much digging to find chunky lists of the most infamous and reoccuring ghost sightings and other paranormal activity in Edinburgh. One of the most famous places being the Greyfriars kirkyard (of Greyfriars Bobby) where 'bloody' Mackenzie rests only yards from where he had over one thousand Covenanters imprisioned, many of whom died of maltreatment. Due to the number of unsual reports about people getting hurt, even knocked out in that area of the grave yard between 1990 and 2006, the Edinburgh City Council finally decided to have it closed off from the public. To be quite frank, without much investigation it appears the whole of Scotland is teeming with a wealth of spookie tales and ghostly wanderers. Therefore, instead of revisiting the ghosts of the capital, I thought it would be much more interesting, and useful, to learn how people warded against these spirits in order to keep safe through the long dark nights of winter... 1. The original jack-o-latern. People would carry a carved turnip with a candle inside, particularly on Hallows Eve, for protection. 2. Natural wards/Amulets. A spring of rosmary bound within a seashell by a red thread, or a mixture of angelica or nettle carried or worn was said to protect the wearer from ghosts and evil spirits. The rowan tree was also believed to have powers to ward against dangerous spirits. 3. Light. Any source of light, wether it be a bonfire or a candle by your bed, were believed to ward off malevolant spirits. 4. Witch Ball (or Witch Bottle). Common throughout Europe, these bottle or glass spheres containing a mass of threads, often with charms intwined in them, were hung in windows and would ward off evil spirits and witches as well as protect against negative energy and magical attacks 5. Labyrinths and Mazes. In Britain it was believed that spirits, any sort of spirit, could only travel in straight unhindered paths, therefore something convoluted or un-linear like a labyrinth or maze could prevent their movement. Happy Hallowe'en everyone!