THE MOST exciting thing languishing in the majority of kitchen cupboards would be some mouldy food and a few cobwebs.
But staff at the Edinburgh College of Parapsychology have made a far more interesting discovery during a clear out – what they believe to be a Victorian ouija board.
And what makes it even more exciting is the outside chance it may have been used by Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a well-known spiritualist of the era.
The ouija board was found along with a "Dudgeon Tube" – which uses musical vibrations to relieve pain by medium Roberta Gordon who took over as president of the college on Melville Street during the summer.
"We were very excited to be quite honest. There is no way we will be parting with any of it though – it's part of our heritage."
Along with her husband Richard, the pair have spent months redecorating the building, including its kitchen where they made their discoveries, also finding original documentation relating to the founding of the college, vinyl recordings of medium sessions and original battery operated red lights used in seances.
Mrs Gordon said: "We had been told there was paint stored in one of the high-up cupboards, so we set about looking for it.
"But we instead discovered all of this – we couldn't believe it."
The cupboard – built into the kitchen's walls – can only be accessed by ladder and is around 20ft long and big enough for someone to crawl in.
It is thought the equipment was put there when the college's original building at 30 Heriot Row was sold in 1973 and members relocated to its current location in the West End.
Spiritualists existed in Edinburgh long before the college was founded in 1932, often operating in secret for fear of persecution at the hands of the authorities who were then unsympathetic to their beliefs.
The college was once lived in by mediums, but is now used for sittings and seances, as well as an administrative point for the college.
Mrs Gordon believes the ouija board, described on its original packaging as a "Telepathic Spirit Communicator", was one of the first of its kind, used by mediums to contact the dead.
She said: "Arthur Conan Doyle was very much into spiritualism so there is every chance he would have seen some of the equipment we have found."