Tag Archives: field research

In which the author picks up a spiffing Loch Ness review on Amazon…


Yes it’s immodesty time today. One of my correspondents from the USA recently posted the following 5-star review of The Guide to Mysterious Loch Ness and the Inverness Area on Amazon, and as it is exactly what I’m seeking to achieve when connecting with an audience, I thought I’d reproduce it here.


My thanks to Jeromy Van Paassen.


The most comprehensive book on Loch Ness folklore, 6 Sep 2011

By Jeromy Van Paassen


This review is from: The Guide to Mysterious Loch Ness and the Inverness Area (Mysterious Scotland) (Paperback)


I purchased The Guide to Mysterious Loch Ness and the Inverness Area while my wife and I were visiting Urquhart Castle and I was immediately amazed at the density of the material inside this fantastic book. I have a degree in Anthropology and am deeply interested in both archaeology and folklore and I was very pleased with Geoff Holder’s excellent research and scholarship. When I was a boy I used to frequent my local library, always looking for a book on the strange and unusual. Naturally at that age I was interested in the Loch Ness Monster and came across a book that discussed so much more than the monster. I was introduced to the world of ghosts, fairies, ancient sites, etc. The moment I lifted Holder’s book off the shelf I was filled with nostalgia for that long forgotten book from my childhood, as it too discusses so much more than just the monster. I could not put this book down and have read it cover to cover at least four times. I am planning on purchasing as many of Holder’s books as I can.


See http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guide-Mysterious-Loch-Inverness-Scotland/dp/0752444859

In which the author seeks paranormal stories from Cumbria…

Paranormal Cumbria, the next book, is under way, and as part of the research I’m looking for personal stories of the supernatural and strange within the county.


So if you’ve encountered a big cat, a Black Dog, something odd in the sky, or a bogle or spirit – or anything else bizarre – please get in touch using the contact form located at the bottom of the ‘Events and Booking’ or ‘Media Room’ pages. Family traditions and stories passed down from previous generations are also welcome.

Please include as many details as possible – such as date, time of day, location, what happened, names of witnesses and so on – and indicate whether you are happy for the story to appear in the book, and for me to use your name in Paranomal Cumbria.


It doesn’t matter whether you are a visitor or a resident – all that is important is that the event or sighting took place in Cumbria. And of course Cumbria is much larger than just the Lake District.


I look forward to receiving despatches from the frontline of Forteana…

In which the author is about to give a mysterious talk in Aberfeldy…

This Thursday (26th May) I’m at Aberfeldy, giving a talk at the Breadalbane Community Campus at 7.30pm. The subject is ‘Mysterious Perthshire’ although I’ll be concentrating exclusively on the Highland part of Perth & Kinross, with episodes ranging from Pitlochry and Moulin through Strathtay to Loch Tay and Ben Lawers.

On the slate will be: Big Cats in Highland Perthshire, including a photograph of a big cat print in snow; UFOs, especially the notorious Calvine/Pitlochry Incident of 1990; and the Alleged Haunting of Ballechin House, a Victorian ghost investigation by the Society for Psychical Research that led to scandal, rows, and angry letters to The Times. All these will be taken from my recent book Paranormal Perthshire.

A big thank you to Bruce Paterson for letting me witter on for his show on Heartland FM.

Tickets for the talk are £5, available from the Breadalbane Community Library, or by phoning 01887 822405. The event starts at 7.30 and lasts for about an hour, and there’s free parking. Oh, and I’ll also have books for sale, as managed by my glamorous assistant.

…In which the author falls in love with standing stones all over again

Just back from a three-day trip to the archaeological wonderland that is Kilmartin, in Mid-Argyll, on Scotland’s west coast. Megalithic structures abound in the region, and we visited dozens of standing stones, burial cairns, cists and other ancient sites. Highlights inclu­ded Temple Wood stone circle and the Dunadd hillfort and royal complex, plus a lake crannog and a huge standing stone carved with a Christian cross. Plus I got to lie down in a subterranean prehistoric grave (and found it a tad cramped).


The area has also the best collection of cup-and-ring marks (prehistoric rock art) in the country, and although some of it takes something of an effort to get to – especially in the infamous Argyll rain – it was well worth it. Because prehistoric British rock art is non-representational and abstract, its meaning is lost to us, making it not just beautiful but enigmatic and mysterious. Some cup-and-ring sites are notoriously difficult to find, and many a time the rain-swept glens echoed with the distinctively plaintive cry of the rock art hunter: “It’s meant to be around here somewhere!”


The trip was arranged by the earth mysteries magazine Northern Earth, www.northernearth.co.uk, with organisation by the editor, John Billingsley, and field leadership by archaeologist and rock art expert Paul Bowers, both of whom did a bang-up job. More about the utterly fantastic Kilmartin area can be found on the website of the wonderful Kilmartin House Museum, www.kilmartin.org. The bookshop there has a superb collection of books on Scottish archaeology, history and folklore, and also happens to stock signed copies of “101 Things To Do With A Stone Circle”