Ghostly goings-on at Jedburgh Castle Jail – Built on the site of a royal castle, Jedburgh Castle Jail has some fascinating tales to tell.
It was there that King Malcolm IV died in 1165 and the scene of the marriage of King Alexander III (1241-1286) to Yolande, daughter of the Duke of Dreux in France.
Legend has it that the ceremony was marred by the appearance of a ghostly apparition foretelling Alexander’s death. Within a year the prediction had come true when Alexander was killed after his horse fell from a cliff in Fife.
The castle’s strategic position made it a target for invading English armies during the Wars of Independence and it regularly changes hands. Edward 1 – the Hammer of the Scots – is thought to have visited Jedburgh at least once.
It was demolished in 1409 and became the site for the town’s gallows until in 1820 work started on building a model prison following the principles of penal reformer John Howard.
A walk round the Castle Jail gives visitors a taste of what life was like as a prisoner together with displays of the history of the town and travelling exhibitions.
Castle Jail fact file
* Closed in 1868, it was restored and opened to the public as a museum almost a century later
* The Jail is said to be haunted by the ghost of violent inmate Edwin McArthur, a prisoner who was executed there in 1855.
* Visitors can view three prison blocks, as well as the jailer’s house and exercise yard but the most spooky area is said to be the infamous Cell 18 where only the bravest will venture alone.
* A media frenzy erupted there in 2005 when a paranormal investigation team said they’d experienced poltergeist activity first-hand.
Since then Jedburgh Castle Jail has become a magnet for ghost hunters and mediums and the subject of regular requests for overnight visits.
Living TV’s Most Haunted team, led by presenter Yvette Fielding found plenty to interest them at the jail.
A number of unexplained phenomena were recorded; including stone throwing, heavy breathing and furniture that mysteriously moved around the cells. Some of the film crew reported that the cells and the top floor of the jail were some of the scariest places they’d visited for a long time.
It was on the top floor that the team’s camera equipment shut down of its own accord and would not start working again – in almost exactly the same spot that one of the team’s researchers had paid an earlier visit to the jail and his camera failed too. A restless spirit or just coincidence?
The jail’s curator, Shona Sinclair, said: “We were pleased to welcome the Most Haunted team to the Jail. They were very professional and respectful of the fact that the building is an important historic monument as well as a site of possible paranormal activity. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the more gruesome aspects of the site’s history.”