In an isolated hill in Scotland, an amazing discovery was made completely by accident. A collection of strange, unexplained coffins was found, and they’ve never been fully understood.

Back in June of 1836, a group of young boys went hunting for rabbits near Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland. This ancient volcanic hill has a mystical quality, filled with history and legend. During their hunt, the boys discovered a small cave on the hill’s northeast slope. Inside this hidden cave were 17 small coffins, each only 3 to 4 inches long.

These tiny coffins each contained a carefully carved wooden doll dressed in carefully made cotton clothes. They were arranged in two rows of eight coffins and a third row with only one coffin. The condition of the dolls and coffins seemed to improve with the higher tiers, with the top one appearing the newest.

According to The Scotsman newspaper, the boys did not understand the significance of their find and even destroyed some of them while playing. People who saw these objects initially thought they were connected to witchcraft or black magic.

Several theories arose about what these dolls represented. Some thought they might symbolize dead sailors, others that they were part of a prank. After the initial news coverage, the coffins were mostly forgotten until eight of them were donated to the National Museum of Scotland in 1901. They remained a baffling mystery with no clear answers about their origin or purpose.

In 1990, researchers began to study these mysterious objects in more depth. Their analysis suggested that the dolls might have been crafted by a shoemaker and resembled toys more than funeral effigies. Some of the dolls had missing arms, and their clothing seemed to date back to the 1830s, while the paper lining some of the coffins dated back to the 1780s.

The researchers proposed that the coffins might represent the victims of the infamous serial killers William Burke and William Hare, who committed 17 murders in the 1820s. This idea, though intriguing, was problematic as all the figures in the coffins were male, whereas most of the murder victims were female.


Despite various speculations and research, the true meaning behind these miniature coffins and their wooden occupants remains unclear. They continue to be displayed in museums, captivating people with their eerie and mysterious presence, and their origin and purpose may forever remain unknown.

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