Tag Archives: glasgow

In which the Author has a bodysnatching review on the Spooky Isles site…

That fine institution the Spooky Isles website has just upped a nice review of my book

Scottish Bodysnatchers: A Gazetteerscribed by Fortean writer Mandy Jane Steel Collins. You can indulge your

eyeballs at the Spooky Isles site here, while the book can be reached here, and I’ve a video trailer here.

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.

Scottish Bodysnatchers - A Gazetteer

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

handling food…

In which the Author is the guest of the Scottish Society for Psychical Research…

This Saturday (9th November) I’m talking at the National Conference of the Scottish Society for Psychical Research (SSPR), a fine institution if ever there was.

The day long event promises to be a belter, with talks including:

Anthony Peake ‘Cheating the Ferryman: A New Blueprint for Post Mortem Survival’

P.G. Maxwell-Stuart ‘Poltergeists and Witches: Unruly Sisters’

Brian Allan ‘The Dark Messiah: Magick, Gnosis and Religion’

And a guest panel featuring Joan Charles.

As for your humble author, he’ll be waffling on about ‘Sex, Lies and Paranormal Glasgow’ – expect the usual coalescence of vampires, poltergeists, zombies and scepticism. Plus sex and lies of course.

sspr copy

The event is at the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel in Glasgow’s West End, and runs from 10am to 5pm. Tickets and more details here.

In which the Author embarks on a Halloween tour of Scotland…

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.

Bodysnatching ahoy!

Time: 1pm

Tickets: £10 (include grounds admission) – 01738 552300 or  visits@scone-palace.co.uk or  www.scone-palace.co.uk

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

Time: 7.30PM

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

CONFERENCE.

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

Time: 7.30pm

Cost: £1 – http://www.edinburghforteansociety.org.uk/index.html

Poltergeist Over ScotlandParanormal Perthshire11 - Maggie Wall monumentzombies cover for blog

Paranormal GlasgowScottish Bodysnatchers - A Gazetteer

scotland-cottages-map

In which the Author undertakes a world tour of Scotland….

 

scotland-cottages-mapOver the next week I’m appearing at various venues and events throughout Scotland, stunning audiences into submission with my patented technique involving bluster, arms-waving and cunningly illustrated Keynote presentations.

 

On Friday 22 February I’m in Stenhousemuir, talking about Scottish Lore and Legend to Scouts from the Forth Valley.

 

On Monday 25 February I’m addressing the Dunkeld and Birnam Historical Society on the subject of ‘Paranormal Perthshire’. The event is at the Birnam Institute [http://www.birnamarts.com/index.asp?cookies=True] at 7.30pm and is open to all, although there will be a small charge at the door for non-members.

 

Then on Wednesday 27 February I’m talking about ‘Sex, Lies and Poltergeists at the Argyle Street branch of Waterstones in Glasgow. This free event starts at 7pm and will be followed by a signing for Poltergeist over Scotland.

 

Finally, on Thursday 28 February you can take in ‘An Evening of Murder with Geoff Holder’ at the Loch Leven Community Campus in Kinross. Featuring mysterious, unsolved and gruesome crimes, this talk starts at 6.30 and there’s a small entrance fee. []

 

See you around.

 

 

In which the author works on his library tan…

 

 

It’s hot, hot, hot, as Caribbean songsters Arrow once sang. And as Britain broils, bakes and burns, your humble author is spending his time… hidden away in libraries. (That’s right, I get to devote large amounts of time to doing things I love. Pity me.)

 

I’m delving deep into the research for Poltergeist over Scotland, and so librarians and archivists from Perth and Glasgow to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Cambridge have learned to fear my hunger for request slips.

 

 

 

 

Amazing stuff is being dredged from the archives, including episodes and facts that haven’t seen the light of day for more than a hundred years, if at all. Who would have thought that the history of Scottish poltergeists could be so extensive?

So if you see a pale figure tottering from bookstack to bookstack, his pallid skin untouched by scorching sun, you might just have glimpsed the elusive f=entity known as Ye Poltergeist Hunter of Olde Scotlande…

 
 
 

In which the author has a play at the Playwrights’ Studio ‘Stage to Page’ workshop…

On Monday 30 January one of my plays, ‘I Walked With A Zombie,’ will be workshopped at the ‘Stage to Page’ event in premier Glasgow venue The Arches.

 

‘I Walked With A Zombie’ centres around a group of art students making a short film in homage to classic zombie movies such as Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. But during the filming, all the participants are visited by their own personal zombies…

 

‘Stage to Page’ describes itself as “A chance for writers, actors and directors to collaborate by workshopping scenes from a new work together.” Each month, a guest director chooses scenes from an unperformed play, and actors turn up, are randomly allocated roles, and then collaborate in workshopping the scenes before performing them to everyone present.

 

The event is at The Arches, 253 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8DL (under Central Station). It starts at 7pm on Monday 30th and entrance for all is £3, which includes a drink (you can just turn up to observe the proceedings without participating, and many people do just that, to watch the creative process in action).

 

More info at www.thearches.co.uk/events/arts/stage-to-page. Stage to Page is an initiative of the Playwrights’ Studio, www.playwrightsstudio.co.uk/stagetopage.htm.

 

If you come along, I’ll be the zombie-like individual wearing the idiot grin.