This Halloween I’m giving a series of talks on spooky subjects at various places in Scotland. Zombies, poltergeists, vampires, witchcraft – there’s something for everyone.
1. SUBJECT: SUPERNATURAL SCOTLAND
WHEN: Tuesday 28th October, 7pm
WHERE: ABERFELDY – Breadalbane Campus, Aberfeldy, Perth & Kinross PH15 2DU
DETAILS: A medieval monk describes an outbreak of zombies in the Scottish Borders. A poltergeist case in
Edinburgh ends up in court. The Maggie Wall Witchcraft Monument in Perthshire is a complex fake. A ghost
sighting in Dundee provokes a mini-riot. And hundreds of Glasgow schoolchildren invade a graveyard hunting a
vampire with iron teeth. Based on meticulous original research, prolific author (and highly entertaining speaker) in
this Halloween special Geoff Holder reveals some of the historical and modern mysteries of the Scottish
paranormal experience. Welcome to Supernatural Scotland. It’s stranger than you can imagine.
2. SUBJECT: ZOMBIES FROM HISTORY
WHEN: Thursday 30th October, 7.30pm
WHERE: EDINBURGH – Skeptics in the Pub, Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG (just off the Royal Mile).
DETAILS: It’s the night of the living dead… Zombie culture didn’t start with George Romero. Here be medieval
chroniclers’ sworn-to-be-true tales of the plague-spreading undead, including the pugilistic zombie of Paisley and
the zombie monk of the Scottish Borders; archeological evidence from graveyards of Anglo-Saxon and Romano-
British fear of the walking dead; several ‘Ladies with the Ring’, all supposedly revived in the grave by jewel-stealing gravediggers; the men who were hanged and buried – and then revived; the Cumbrian Crusader whose corpse
was still bleeding 800 years after his death; and the ancient bog body that accidentally solved a modern murder
Warning: contains corpses.
MORE INFO: here
3. SUBJECT: SEX, LIES AND POLTERGEISTS! at the FIRST EVER SCOTTISH PARANORMAL FESTIVAL
WHEN: FRIDAY 31ST OCTOBER, 3.30PM
WHERE: Albert Halls, Albert Place, Dumbarton Road, Stirling FK9 4LA
DETAILS: Activity which has baffled paranormal investigators for centuries. Focusing on Scotland, Geoff will
discuss the earliest recorded Scottish poltergeist, a witchcraft episode from Stirling, and an Aberdeenshire
example kickstarted by young lust.
A canvas of commonsense-defying mysteries that stretches from the year 1635 to the present day.
That fine institution the Spooky Isles website has just upped a nice review of my book
Scottish Bodysnatchers: A Gazetteer, scribed by Fortean writer Mandy Jane Steel Collins. You can indulge your
Scottish Bodysnatchers came out a couple of years ago so perhaps it’s worth a brief recap. It aims to provide a
comprehensive guide to every physical remnant of the bodysnatching era in Scotland, from mortsafes and
morthouses to watch towers and other protection devices. It tells you where to find these relics (whether in
graveyards, churches or museums), and what to look for. Many of the sites are obscure, hidden, long-forgotten or have not previously been written about. Yes, the fieldwork research was fun…
In addition, there are anecdotes and news stories from the bodysnatching era, some of which may be early
versions of urban legends. Burke and Hare of course make an appearance, but bear in mind that they were serial killers, not bodysnatchers, their murders being driven by greed for the cash being offered for fresh corpses.
The book covers not only the well-trodden bodysnatching paths of Edinburgh and Glasgow, but sites across the
country, from Aberdeenshire and the Highlands to the Scottish Borders, Ayrshire, Perthshire, Fife, Dundee and
Stirling. Given that there really isn’t any similar book out there, a number of readers have written to me describing how useful the book is for those interested in hunting out bodysnatching sites in their area – “well-thumbed” is a
typical comment. “An invaluable reference work” was another.
Happy to be of service, fellow bodysnatching fans. And remember to wash the dirt from your hands before
Fortean Society. You can expect:
Archaeological evidence for belief in the walking dead in Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon times
Medieval accounts of plague-spreading, people-battering zombies
People who have returned from the dead after being hanged or buried (or both)
And the exploding corpse of William the Conqueror…
Warning: contains corpses.
Venue: The Counting House, West Nicholson Street, Edinburgh.
Time: 7.30pm, Tuesday 12th November.
There’ll be books for sale on the night.
Halloween… where better to spend it than in a pub with the words ‘Banshee’ and
‘Labyrinth’ in its name, deep within Edinburgh Old Town, talking about Witches in Scotland?
The nice people at Skeptics in the Pub have invited me to give a Halloween special as part of their round of talks.
I’ll be discussing the historical reality of Scottish witchcraft as contrasted with its typical
portrayals, and outlining my investigations into the possible truth behind the famous Maggie Wall Witchcraft Monument in Perthshire.
The illustrated talk is free and kicks off at 7.30, at The Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry
Street, Edinburgh EH1 1LG. I’ll be bringing books for sale, as usual.
From 26th October to the 12th November I’m back in Scotland for a ‘Halloween tour‘ of lectures, talks and events. I’ll have books on sale at each event.
1. SATURDAY & SUNDAY 26TH & 27TH OCTOBER, SCONE PALACE, PERTH.
TALK: ‘THE BODYSNATCHERS OF SCONE (plus the puma, the witch and the severed head)’
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.
SPECIAL: On the Saturday the talk (and the subsequent visit to the Palace graveyard) will be filmed by TF1 (the
French equivalent of BBC1) for a ‘Halloween in Scotland’ special to be broadcast in France on 2 November. Come
along and be on television!
2. THURSDAY 31ST OCTOBER – SKEPTICS IN THE PUB, EDINBURGH.
TALK: ‘SCOTTISH WITCHCRAFT’
Scottish witchcraft has by now developed its own mythology, a set of ideas that ‘everybody knows’. Geoff’s talk
will attempt to separate fantasy from historical reality, which is both stranger and more sordid than most people
suspect. By way of illustration he will detail his own groundbreaking investigations into the famous Maggie Wall
Witchcraft Monument in Perthshire, a B-listed historical monument (and favourite trysting spot for the Moors
Murderers) that, as the painted inscription states, supposedly commemorates “Maggie Wall burned here as a
Witch 1657”. The key word, boys and girls, is “supposedly”.
Venue: The Banshee Labyrinth 29-35 Niddry Street Edinburgh EH1 1LG
Free – More details at http://edinburgh.skepticsinthepub.org/Event.aspx/1768/Witches-in-Scotland
3. SATURDAY 9TH NOVEMBER, GLASGOW – SCOTTISH SOCIETY OF PSYCHICAL RESEARCH ANNUAL
TALK: ‘SEX, LIES AND PARANORMAL GLASGOW’
Venue: Hilton Glasgow Grosvener Hotel, Grosvener Terrace, Great Western Road / Byres Road, Glasgow
Time: from 10 am to 4.40 pm
Tickets: £35: http://www.sspr.co.uk/index.html
4. TUESDAY 12TH NOVEMBER: THE EDINBURGH FORTEAN SOCIETY.
TALK: ‘ZOMBIES FROM HISTORY’
Zombie culture didn’t start with George Romero. Here be medieval chroniclers’ sworn-to-be-true tales of the
plague-spreading undead; the pugilistic zombie of Paisley; archeological evidence of Anglo-Saxon and Romano-
British fear of the walking dead; several ‘Ladies with the Ring’, all supposedly revived in the grave by jewel-stealing
gravediggers; the man who was hanged and buried – and then revived; the Cumbrian Crusader whose corpse was still bleeding 800 years after his death; and the bog body that solved a modern murder mystery.
Warning: contains corpses.
Venue: The Counting House, 38 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DD