Tag Archives: Big Cats

In which the Author digs up some bodysnatchers at Scone Palace (and gets filmed by le French TV)…

TALK: ‘THE BODYSNATCHERS OF SCONE (plus the puma, the witch and the severed head)’

On Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th I’m talking about bodysnatchers at Scone Palace near Perth, as part of the palace’s ‘Spooky Halloween’ Weekend. Both talks start at 1pm and will include a question and answer session and book signing.

Bodysnatchers CVR

On the Saturday a TV crew from TF1, the French equivalent of BBC1, will film both the talk and me mooching about in the nearby Old Scone graveyard, talking more about bodysnatching. They’re filming a ‘Halloween in Scotland’ special for the early evening magazine show ‘50 MInutes Inside‘, to be broadcast on 2 November.

Here’s the press release for the Scone Palace event:

“Renowned Perthshire author Geoff Holder is set to bring a chill to the spine of visitors to Scone Palace, with a special illustrated talk during this year’s Spooky Hallowe’en Weekend, from 26th to 27th October.

In 1820, under the darkness of a winter’s night, a group of bodysnatchers sneaked into Scone churchyard and dug up a corpse, a corpse that they would later sell for a good price. Unfortunately for them, the body had belonged in life to a much-loved 80- year-old retainer at Scone Palace. The Earl of Mansfield was not best pleased, and went on the warpath…

Join Geoff as he delves into the dark world of the Resurrectionists, the strange collaboration of hardened criminals and respectable medical men who broke into coffins and stole bodies for the dissecting tables of the anatomists. What happened to the Scone corpse? Which Perth doctor was a member of the gang? And why did one of the bodysnatchers end up in South America?

And if such skulduggery wasn’t enough, this unique talk also covers other historical mysteries of Scone  – sightings of big cats, the Scone witch and her black book, and the enigma of the missing preserved head of a saint.

Talks will be held daily at 1.00pm in our Murray Room Suite here at Scone Palace.

Tickets are £10.00 per person including Grounds Admission. Places are limited and we adivise early booking to avoid disappointment.

To book your place, please call 01738 552300.”

Scone palace


In which the author gives a talk on Mysterious Perthshire in Alyth…


On Tuesday 28 February I’ll be giving a talk on ‘Mysterious East Perthshire’, courtesy of the Alyth Literary and Philosophical Society. I’ll be discussing Big Cats, fairies, UFOs, and the bizarre local legends of Guinevere and King Arthur. And there’ll be books for sale as usual.

The event kicks off at 7.30pm and is open to everyone (£2 on the door). Ogilvie Rooms, Commercial Street, Alyth, PH11 8AF (next to Alyth Museum).


In which the author looks in on ‘Poltergeist Manor’…

The other day I attended a talk by the fine author Lorn Macintrye, who had many interesting things to say about his family background of second sight in Argyll and Mull, and his own dealings with people involved in the paranormal, such as the Scottish medium Albert Best.


My main focus of interest, however, was Lorn’s investigations into Pitmilly House, which he dubbed ‘Poltergeist Manor’. The house in East Fife was demolished decades ago, but I’ve been pursuing its supernatural history for my forthcoming book Haunted St Andrews and District, so getting hold of a copy of Lorn’s booklet on the subject was a bonus.


Now here is the key question: does anyone reading this have a family tradition of a connection with Pitmilly? Perhaps you have a relative who visited the house, or worked there? If so, I would be delighted to hear from you – especially if the memories are from the 1930s or 1940s, as this was the period when the poltergeist was reportedly active.


You can get in touch via the contact form here.

In which the author gives a talk on mysteries in Coupar Angus…



  • Big cats…
  • A destructive 18th century meteorite (or was it a UFO?)…
  • Fairy child-theft (or were they alien abductions?)…
  • Queen Guinevere, torn apart by wild dogs and now a local fertility goddess…
  • Bodysnatchers and murderous ‘Burkers’…


 These are the local mysteries I’ll be covering in the talk ‘Perthshire Mysteries and Murders’ on Wednesday 12th October in Coupar Angus Library. Geographically, the subjects range across East Perthshire, from Blairgowrie and Coupar Angus to Alyth and Meigle.  If you’re in the area, please come along – all are welcome.


The details: Coupar Angus Library, Union Street, Coupar Angus, 7.30pm, Wednesday 12th October. Tickets on the door. Contact 01250 872905.

In which the author gives two talks in Perthshire in the same week…

On Tuesday 13th September I’m giving a talk to the Perth Burns Club at the Salutation Hotel, South Street, Perth. The last time I gave a talk to this organisation it was 2007 and I’d had just one book published, The Guide to Mysterious Perthshire. A further 21 books later and I’m back, this time to talk about big cats, witchcraft and encounters with supernatural entities, all taken from Paranormal Perthshire, which came out earlier this year. The event kicks off at 7.30pm and the Burns Club are happy to welcome new members at the door.


The second talk of the week is on Friday 16th September, this time for the Auchterarder Local History Society in The Institute/Aytoun Hall on Auchterarder High Street.  Start time is 7.30pm and non-members can attend for £2 on the door. For this talk I’ll be concentrating on witches. There’s the Maggie Wall Witchcraft Monument in Dunning – I’ll be revealing when it was built and by whom, thus dispelling a mystery that has perplexed people for generations – and the legend of Kate McNiven , the Witch of Monzie, which will include unveiling the whereabouts of the lost ‘Witch’s Stone’, a jewel she was said to have spat out during her alleged execution. So if you fancy some world-class wibbling on witchcraft, come along!


As usual, I’ll have books for sale at both talks. My thanks to both organisations for inviting me. __

In which the author wibbles about in a video interview…

My recent video interview, entitled “Inside the Author’s Library”, is now available on that there YouTube. Go here to see excessive authorial wibbling, with topics including:


  • The role of the Ramones in paranormal research
  • The danger of dinosaurs
  • Paradigm shifts
  • Numinous ritual caves
  • Skepticism vs. scepticism
  • The genesis of a Glasgow urban legend
  • The hitch-hiker’s guide to life-changing moments (especially if Colin Wilson is involved)
  • The process of writing, from pitch to publication
  • Navigating by graveyards_