A VISIT by a Japanese psychic to one of Edinburgh’s most historic closes is responsible for a ghost tale that has helped raise thousands of pounds for the Sick Kids hospital.
The Real Mary King’s Close – the latest nominee for the Sick Kids Heroes awards – has raised more than £40,000 for the Sciennes hospital since the attraction’s inception a decade ago.
Many of the donations stem from Annie’s Room, a hidden chamber buried under the Royal Mile said to contain a young girl’s ghostly spirit.
Psychic Aiko Gibo visited the site during the early 1990s while making a film about haunted places across the British Isles.
The tour’s guide book states that one of Japan’s foremost psychics could barely step inside a room off Allan’s Close, reporting a “little hand” clutching her trouser leg.
“I just cannot go into this room,” Ms Gibo said. “She was separated from her parents. She wants to go home and see her family. Her desire haunts this place very strongly.”
A doll was subsequently placed in the room by the psychic to comfort the child.
Claire Riddoch, marketing manager for The Real Mary King’s Close, said growing numbers of people from all over the world had brought toys and jewellery for Annie as a result of the tale.
A donation box placed in the room has also generated scores of gifts.
Ms Riddoch said: “We very much wanted to support a local charity and with Annie’s story being about a child, it was thought the Sick Kids would be appropriate.”
The awards celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation recognise the courage of patients, and supporters and companies whose fundraising has gone beyond expectations.
Winners will be announced at a gala lunch at the Caledonian Hotel on May 10. Tickets are £40 from SKFF by calling 0131-668 4949.