The Tolbooth Museum is one of Aberdeen's oldest buildings and one of the best-preserved 17th century gaols in Scotland. Ghosts have manifested themselves to staff and visitors over the years, with dark shadows accompanied by ghostly footsteps.
The original building on the site of the Museum was built in 1393 as an area for collecting tolls for goods that were bought and sold. Years later its role changed to that of a holding place for prisoners about to be tried at the court. This then developed into a general prison. The Wardhouse, now the Tolbooth Museum, was built between 1616 and 1629. Several cells still exist in their original format; they have been restored to how they would have looked when they were used as holding cells.
The most famous inmate was Janet Walker, a 17th Century woman who was convicted of witchcraft she was known as The Fittie Witch. Janet Walker was strangled then burnt for being a witch; burnings were rare in Aberdeen except in 1597 when King James the VI encouraged a witch hunt. That year 20 people were executed for witchcraft.
Over the Centuries and there have been many deaths in the gaol, including executions, murders and deaths from torture. With all this pain and suffering it is no surprise that the Tolbooth museum is now considered to be one of the most haunted buildings in Scotland. Several ghosts are thought to be permanent residents at the Tolbooth Museum.
The Tolbooth Prison Museum Aberdeen has opened its doors to Paranormal Investigators and Ghost Hunters enabling them to go ghost hunting at Aberdeen's Tolbooth throughout the year. TV's Most Haunted team recently carried out an paranormal investigation at the museum, which is also organizing its own ghost hunt and inviting members of the public to join in. Those who take part in the ghost hunt are given a training workshop which includes learning how to use the ghost hunting kit.
The Tolbooth ghosts have manifested themselves to staff and visitors over the years, strange inexplicable singing sounds have been reported, the noise of jangling keys coming from the jailer's room and dark shadows accompanied by ghostly footsteps.
A more modern ghost, described as a man of four feet tall wearing 1920s clothing with a trilby hat, was seen by a group of visitors it causing them to flee the Tolbooth. It is thought that he appears as 4ft is because the floor has been raised since his time.
During his time in the Aberdeen Tolbooth Graeme Milne witnessed a white mist and photographed a strange orange light. Strange noises were heard and this included the sound of shuffling feet and the sound of a chain moving. He also felt icy cold down the left hand side of his body and heard a deep male voice mumble into his ear. Others in his group had the feeling of finding it difficult to breath and a tightening around their necks.
The Aberdeen University based paranormal team held an investigation at the Aberdeen Tolbooth in December 2007 with the help of Chris Croly the Tolbooth Museum Curator. The investigation included three guest mediums, ghost investigation equipment such as a camcorder, trigger objects, EMF Meter, Laser Thermometer and beam barrier alarms. A seance was also held at The Tolbooth museum during the evening.
The ghost hunting team found that Cell 2 made some of the team uneasy and there were strange smells. Orbs were seen during a vigil and captured by the team's camera. The presence of a man and young boy was felt by two of the mediums, whilst one member of the team felt pressure on her chest and throat. During the seance one member of team felt like she had been beaten, particularly around her back and kidneys. Another medium felt the labor pains of a young woman who died in child birth at the Tolbooth.