Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tales From Edinburgh

Carolo Secundo made a statue of himself, one of his many PR mistakes. He wanted to appear big and powerful so he had the sculptor make him bigger than the horse. Of course, this makes it look like he's riding a pony. He had himself dressed in Roman regalia to resemble Caesar, but the Roman’s were old news so it was just confusing and awkward for everyone. He had a small child place a bronze crown on his lead statue head every day to show public approval, but this caused holes to form and water to fill the statue. This put it off-center making his horse look like it was drunk. To fix this they righted the statue and drilled a drain hole. No good - this just made it look like the horse was peeing every time it rained…

The heart of Edinburgh represents the location of the old tax booths. People hate taxes so they spit on the heart and this is why locals don’t walk there. Apparently a guy once knelt down and proposed in the heart only to hear a disgusted reaction from the crowd. The poor guy had no idea what he had done. Over on Grass Street they have a lot of interesting shops including one that sells deep fried Mars bars.

Many of the characters from Harry Potter, such as: Macgonnagle, Mooney and Tom Riddle, come from the graveyard. The graves of the Greyfriar and his dog Bobby are also famous and are the basis of many dog related shows and movies like “Lassie”. The Greyfriar was a night graveyard patrol preventing grave robberies of people who couldn’t afford the caged off graves. 

The city decided he could use a guard dog so they gave him some extra money and he bought Bobby, a ferocious Terrier. 

When the Greyfriar died Bobby sat at his grave for 14 years waiting for him to return. This prompted the city to award Bobby the keys to the city for his heart warming loyalty shown towards his master. This meant that if you saw Bobby you were to give him water or food, pet him, etc.
The story of the black marketing of corpses is actually based on two guys who attempted to help a dead man pay back his massive debt by selling his body to research. After finding out how much money dead bodies were worth they began robbing graves. This is why cages were deemed necessary - to prevent grave robbers for the first couple weeks while the bodies decomposed (making them unsuitable for dissection and therefore the black market).
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. is also based on a true story. 

Deacon Brody was a guy making an honest living as a cupboard maker by day but was an adulterer with two mistresses by night. He actually had trouble supporting multiple families, as one can imagine, so he started to make extra keys for his cupboards which he would use to rob the rich whom he had sold his cupboards to. This got people suspicious after a while which prompted the city council to found a committee for catching Deacon Brody, this committee lead by none other than Deacon Brody himself! As leader of the committee Deacon Brody knew they were getting closer to catching him so he decided to go all out and hired 6 thieves to rob the town vault which he had keys for. They robbed it each hour on the hour, but the last guy went in at 4a drunk and got caught. In order to get himself out of this pinch he turned in the others thinking he could blackmail Brody and be set for life. Unfortunately for the 4a guy, Brody saw all his pals sitting in jail and ran for the hills. In Amsterdam Brody was about to leave but first sent a letter to his wife explaining the circumstances and he even through in a few details on his mistresses. Brody asked her to join him on his great escape to America. Of course, she turned him in and he was promptly executed.
The stories of the Stone of Destiny have many variations, based in both Ireland and Scotland, but one portion is unquestionably historically accurate. A student by the name of Hamilton was out drinking with his buddies one day and decided to steal the Stone of Destiny from England to bring it home to Scotland. Not the best idea but he carried it out nonetheless. He broke in with a crowbar and accidentally, possibly on purpose, broke the stone in two. This made it easy to take one part back to Scotland, the other was buried in a field. Upon returning to the field, after things had eased up around the borders a bit, Hamilton dug up the stone and tore out the passenger seat of his car to fit it in. After bringing the two halves together in Scotland Hamilton had his friend, the local stone mason, fit the halves back together with a pipe inside containing a copy of The Declaration of Arbroath (freedom for Scotland). Then he daringly returned the stone to England, still somehow managing to elude the authorities throughout the whole act.
After the tour finished we all went to a pub where I had Haggis again. This time it was quite good and part of a great deal - £6 for Haggis, Neeps, Tatties and a drink. When we finished eating I bought a pass for a pub crawl - for £11 we got a free drink, free shot, discounts, free entry to a club called Frankenstein and of course the tour itself. We went to the club last where we were surprised something called a full moon show, a show with dramatic appeal starring Dr. Frankenstein, his monster, and Jason too.

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