Jedburgh Castle Jail: Debunked and explained sightings

Debunked alleged paranormal activity at the Castle Jail

Introduction

This page details sightings and other reports detailing alleged paranormal activity at Jedburgh Castle Jail that can be explained/debunked.

Border Telegraph, April 2019

The article describes ‘the best ever photo of a ghost’ apparently snapped during a failed selfie attempt. The article and original image can be seen here:

https://www.bordertelegraph.com/news/17591359.failed-selfie-captures-best-ever-photo-ghost/

However, this image can be easily explained by one of the cut out displays in the cells:

Edwin McArthur

One of the most used names of an alleged spirit at Jedburgh Jail is Edwin McArthur, who is blamed by most paranormal event companies for a dark presence and violent poltergeist activity at the jail.

McArthur, according to the internet, was a prisoner executed at the jail in 1855, who has taken umbrage to the situation and haunted the site since.

The main issue with this is that this theory relies on the imagination of the reader/visitor and the mental image of the jail’s harsh, violent nature in the year 1855.

The issue with this is while the punishment at the jail was indeed brutal, the paperwork associated with the jail was upkept in immaculate detail: in fact the record of executions across Scotland was extremely well documented.

So the issue? Edwin McArthur doesn’t exist in the prison records and he certainly wasn’t executed there in 1855. Despite the general impression many folk have of people being executed left, right and centre, only 273 people were hanged across the whole of Scotland between 1800 and 1868, and there are no records of an executions at Jedburgh in 1855.

So in this case, there is no evidence for anyone with the name of Edwin McArthur even being a prisoner at the jail, and it appears that he may be a figment of someone’s imagination forming an urban myth that has grown with the power of the internet.

Daily Record, October 2019

This article details an interesting occurrence during Deadzone Paranormal Adventures’ 24 hour investigation in October 2019. The incident was witnessed by a number of investigators, including a member of OWNE. The image, described by the media as a hooded woman can be seen below (and was also published by the guest investigation group in Chat: Its Fate magazine):

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/ghosthunters-capture-picture-hooded-woman-20730329

At the time of the image capture, the image was actually captured using a nightvision camcorder. The anomaly was visible on the screen of the camcorder in question, but was not visible on a further two cameras at the time, and only appeared in the vicinity of the door. In 2020, the original photographer sent Deadzone Paranormal Adventures a copy of the unzoomed image, as well as two others in the sequence. Examination shows an infra-red reflection which appears to have caused the anomaly: the anomaly changes form slightly as the camera moves, and the lense flare can clearly be seen across the door. Of interest is a further anomaly in the window, suggesting that the infra red from the camera nightvision was essentially interacting with shiny surfaces (the window and the metal door) with the lense of the camera forming the shapes and pareidolia then fills in the rest. Chris from DZPA has given permission for the uncropped image to be included here, along with the red circles of Doom Chris has used to highlight the repeating anomalies:

The sound of doors slamming shut

The sound of cell doors slamming shut (when the doors don’t actually move) has been reported by a number of visiting investigation teams. 

This phenomenon actually appears to be caused by the flag pole on top of the gaoler’s block. In a breeze, the rope cracks against the pole creating a metallic clang that echoes across the site.

This has been witnessed and documented by OWNE: one aim of our next fieldwork session there as guests of Deadzone will be to attempt to gain an audio recording of the event for presentation here.

Have you ever experienced something strange or allegedly paranormal on a visit to Jedburgh Castle Jail? If so, would you consider sharing the event? Please use our Reporting Desk to tell us about it!  We’d love to be able to generate a map of everyone’s experiences to help focus our research and fieldwork.
Thanks in advance
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