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January 07 , 2009

New Myths and Legends of Edinburgh Volume 1


There are many tales told of Edinburgh. William Burke and William Hare; Greyfriar’s Bobby; and Major Weir: these are just some names from the catalogue of legend and myth of Edinburgh’s dark past. The stories are famous the world over, and are the inspiration for many books and films. Think of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Jeckyll and Hyde, inspired by the double life of Deacon Brodie.

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I’ve lived in Edinburgh for over 25 years, and these stories fascinate me. Imagine my pleasure as, over the years, I have unearthed new tales of this old city, the home of the Scottish Enlightenment.

New Myths and Legends of Edinburgh is collection of tales never before revealed. These include: the Mysterious Lollipop Man who entices innocent cyclists to their peril; watch out for the the enterprising nesting skills of Michael Garrett; read about the Man Who Waited; and discover the origin of the sinister rock beside the Water of Leith in Craiglockhart Dell.

How have I found these stories? Conversations enjoyed and overheard in the pubs and bars of Edinburgh are one such source; a special mention must go to Cloisters, a favourite pub where I have enjoyed a pint or two over the years. And there is the annual book fair for Christian Aid, held in the fine setting of St Andrew’s and St George’s Church in George Street. A rummage amongst the books at this fine feast has proved particularly fruitful. Wandering around the streets of the Old Town and the New Town also provides many clues, watching the folk of Edinburgh go about their business. Or maybe I just make the stories up.

But who is Professor MacIntyre?

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