A team of paranormal investigators are going to explore the Mary Queen of Scots visitor centre in Jedburgh, the Scottish Borders, on Saturday evening.
Visitors to the centre have reported strange feelings, sounds and smells. The building was the house where Mary Queen of Scots almost died. It is home to her death mask. The stone mansion is almost 500 years old and is said to have spooked visitors on a number of occasions.
Staff at the house invited paranormal investigators to visit and see what they could find. People of Midlothian Paranormal Investigations (MPI) will visit the museum and visitor centre in Jedburgh on Saturday and will stay until the wee hours of the morning to try to get a sense of what’s going on.
The investigation will centre on the bedroom where Mary slept in 1566. The monarch stayed at the builiding when she was journeying from Traquair House, Innerleithen to see her future lover, the Earl of Bothwell at Hermitage Castle.
She stayed in Jedburgh to oversee some court cases. However, she became ill and contracted a fever which almost killed her. She spent about four weeks at the house, owned at the time by the Kerr family.
The house became a museum in 1987. It is home to historic artefacts relating to Mary. These include oil paintings, some furniture, tapestries, and smaller personal possessions.
Perhaps crucially for the paranormal team, it is also home to the Queen’s death mask, made after she was beheaded for treason at Fortheringhay Castle near Londonin 1587.
Legend has it that the tragic Queen, while held in captivity by Elizabeth I for more than 19 years, said: “Would that I had died in Jedburgh . . . “.
Shona Sinclair, who has worked at the museum for 14 years, said customers had fled from the house after being spooked by strange scents.
She said: “It is known locally that the house is haunted. Visitors to the museum have reported smelling a flowery sent – similar to freesias – in Mary’s bedroom.
“Some customers have felt very scared in her room, even running out of the museum, because they could sense somebody in the room.”
Shona added: “I’m not a great believer in ghosts myself, but I too have smelt the flowery scent, and also heard rustling sounds, that I would describe as sounding like a lady rustling her skirt.”
She said: “I would welcome any evidence that the investigators could find, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they did pick up something. Even though I am not scared to work here, it would certainly be interesting to find out what information the team could get.”
Lead investigator and co-founder of MPI, Mark Stocks, said he was keeping an open mind about what the squad could find at the haunted house. “We were so excited to be invited to Mary Queen of Scot’s House and have absolutely no idea what to expect.
“We are hoping to take one of our mediums, Jackie Drummond, along with us too. There will be about five members of the team going along.”
The ghost-busting squad have been given a tour of the museum to prepare for the investigation, and will spend around eight hours on site on Saturday, June 30.
The team will try to detect voices with specialist equipment and hope to detect and record images and “sense” whether there is a ghostly presence at the house.
Mark added: “We use a lot of specialist equipment and part of the excitement is putting all our results together afterwards. I have had some spooky experiences in the past, been touched, and even shoved when I have been carrying out an investigation. I have even seen two legs appear in mist before.
“I will be going into the museum with an open mind, I try not to learn too much the history of buildings before I go, so I don’t try to look out for anything in particular.”