The Perfect Place for a Symposium

The Spirits, Shadows & Secrets International Symposium

The Spirits, Shadows & Secrets International Symposium is in every sense of the word, a nexus of the most world-class subject matter experts ever assembled in a single location at any one time…let alone for an entire week. Our objective is to bring together a unified consciousness of minds, in every sense, whose sole purpose is to hold candid and honest discussions regarding important discoveries and research by this unique group of scientists, professors, authors, independent researchers, and contributors. Although main-stream sciences have refused to accept several of the subjects open for discussion, the discoveries these speakers have made in recent years have had an effect on academia in solving issues in ways science had never imagined.

The goal of this symposium is to provide a platform for each speaker to promote their life-long work, and share that work within a structured forum of open communication to reveal their theories, discoveries, and conclusions to their esteemed colleagues and delegates in attendance. By sharing their findings, they could trigger key missing elements that have relevance in other studies, crossing the divide between all the subjects being covered in this conference. This information can possibly provide important pieces of a greater overall puzzle that defines the concept of a universal consciousness or even a malleable reality.

With over 50 confirmed speakers in attendance,  we will be covering every unique subject (now referred to as the proto-sciences) imaginable. From this group, anything is possible. Something enlightening is bound to happen to everyone, or possibly a large group of people, that will verify to everyone attending the symposium that Edinburgh, Scotland is still the Cradle of Enlightenment, even in the 21st century.

Edinburgh is an unforgettable city that will enlighten everyone during this unforgettable event. History will tower above you, begging not to be forgotten as Edinburgh Castle clings to its rock cliffs overlooking the city and all the historic buildings of the Old Town that ramble down the spine of the Royal Mile. Centuries of history pervade the ancient closes and alleys, leading down to the splendid Palace of Holyroodhouse and the spectacular new Scottish Parliament, standing stark against the stunning backdrop of the volcanic crags and Arthur’s Seat.

Across the green expanse of Princes Street Gardens lie the elegant streets of the Georgian New Town, with its stunning architecture, leafy gardens, designer shopping and lively wine bars. Amidst these gracious surroundings, Edinburgh is alive with inspiration and innovation. Renowned the world over for its thriving arts and festivals, the city has magnificent concert halls, theatres, art collections, museums, and cultural institutions of international significance.

The festival programme, erupting in the summer months with the International Festival as well as the Festival Fringe, and Film, Book and Arts Festivals, also offers spectacular winter festivals with sparkling Christmas events and the largest New Year’s Eve party in Europe, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

Access is easy, with Scotland’s busiest international airport, now serving over 120 destinations and 40-plus airlines, only 8 miles (12km) from the city centre. Excellent rail and good road routes link Edinburgh to all the major cities in Britain. Edinburgh has a compact city centre with almost everything within walking distance.

A beautiful city, excellent venues, a rich heritage, and vibrant contemporary culture – it is easy to see why Edinburgh is the most popular UK conference city.

A Perfect Place for a Symposium

For meetings with a difference, Edinburgh and the wider region are rich with historic and world famous venues. Elegant stately homes, spectacular art galleries and museums, fascinating science centres – even The Royal Yacht – give the widest possible selection of exciting and unforgettable venues for meetings and the social programme. So much to see and do!

In addition to the thriving arts and festivals programme to enjoy, there are internationally renowned galleries and museums, royal castles and palaces to explore. The city also has spacious leafy parks and a beautiful botanical garden and offers almost endless possibilities for taking up new activities or simply relaxing and unwinding, whether it is before, during or after the conference – golf, sailing, rock climbing, horseback riding or diving with sharks are just a few of the possibilities.

And as Edinburgh is the gateway to the rest of Scotland, there are wonderful opportunities – either on guided tours or travelling independently – to explore the magnificence of the Highlands, the home of golf at St Andrews, or the wild and spectacular scenery of the west coast and its islands. Every reason for delegates to extend their stay or come back as a leisure visitor with their friends and family!

Edinburgh is an experienced conference destination and a city of breath-taking beauty. It’s a destination where rich cultural heritage combines with stunning new developments, presenting any conference organiser planning an event in Edinburgh with a wonderful opportunity to host a professional and memorable event in this award-winning city.

Edinburgh is also easily accessible with excellent transport links by rail, road and air. Edinburgh Airport operates to over 125 destinations and is only a 20-minute taxi journey to the city centre. The city centre itself is compact and ideal for exploring on foot with many of its venues, major hotels and attractions within easy walking distance. Equally, it’s very easy to get out of the city to explore the stunning coastline and countryside of the Lothians.

The city has a unique vibe, charm and originality. A stroll around Edinburgh offers stunning vistas as well as quiet, relaxing green space in spacious leafy parks and gardens. There is a thriving programme of exciting festivals and events year round along with a perfect mix of shopping, dining, entertainment, culture and history – as far as the social programme is concerned, delegates will be spoilt for choice!

For centuries, Edinburgh has fostered excellence in both science and the arts. Great scientific minds such as Charles Darwin, James Young Simpson and Alexander Fleming were trained at its great universities and medical institutions. Even the coffeehouses and pubs have fostered some of the world’s most creative writers and brilliant artists, including Robert Burns, Arthur Conan Doyle and J K Rowling.

Edinburgh was at the centre of the Scottish Enlightenment, the spectacular outpouring of intellectual and scientific achievement during the 18th century. David Hume, Robert Adam and Adam Smith exemplified this humanist and rationalist approach which the Scots brought not only to philosophy, architecture and economics but also to engineering, medicine, geology, architecture, law, agriculture, sociology and chemistry.

In August, 2013, the Spirits, Shadows & Secrets International Symposium, will not only be hosting top thinkers of Scottish elite academics, but also others from renowned higher-learning institutions around the world, including top researchers, distinguished authors and top lecturers. Scotland’s capital is a diverse city that is widely regarded as a global leader that encourages free thinkers, including all the new and developing sciences that will be represented at this very unique group of conferences.

With this illustrious background, mind-blowing information, and new revelations about the world we live in, Edinburgh will be attracting keen and enquiring minds from all four corners of the world at these international meetings and pushing the boundaries of logic beyond our wildest expectations and understanding of the universe and the world we live on.

The EICC is a well-planned, world-class conference venue in the heart of Edinburgh’s financial district. Designed by Sir Terry Farrell, the EICC is an impressive ochre stone, glass and steel, drum-shaped building featuring an exuberant curved entrance.

If the exterior architecture is striking, the interior has the wow factor for cutting edge design. The highlight is the Pentland Suite, a stunning raked-seating auditorium for 1,200 delegates. At the touch of a button the Suite rotates to divide into three separate sound-proofed auditoriums of 600, 300 and 300 capacities. This transformation can be effected comfortably within a coffee break.

The EICC’s NEW building to be completed in 2013 will offer the Lennox Suite, which will provide seating for up to 2000 delegates with theatre seating. Throughout the vast, fully accessible Centre, spanning four floors, there is a series of flexible function suites, board and meeting rooms.

Since opening its doors in 1995, the EICC has become known as one of Edinburgh’s most distinctive landmarks. The Centre has been designed to create successful and productive events and boasts specialists in event design, catering, technical production and security. As a result, the EICC has been entrusted with some of the world’s most high-profile events, as well as many ground-breaking academic conferences.

The Daily Lectures

To be announced.

The Main Events

We are proud to present An Evening with Erich Von Däniken as one of our featured speakers at the symposium. For more than four decades, Erich Von Däniken has been writing and speaking about the notion that mankind and aliens crossed paths in the distant past. His work has inspired documentary features and television specials while capturing the imaginations of multiple generations of people around the world.

Born in Switzerland in 1935, Erich Von Däniken is widely regarded as the father of Ancient Alien Theory, also known as Ancient Astronaut Theory. He published his first of 26 books in 1968 while working as the manager of a five-star hotel. In “Chariots of the Gods?“, Däniken put forth his controversial hypothesis that thousands of years ago, space travellers from other planets visited Earth where they taught humans about technology and influenced ancient religions. As evidence, he pointed to religious texts in which heavenly beings with supernatural powers descend from the sky. He also suggested that extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of engineering helped ancient civilizations build architectural marvels like Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Maoi statues of Easter Island.

Chariots of the Gods? appeared at a time when aliens and space travel loomed large in film, fiction and popular culture. It was the era of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek and Frank Herbert’s Dune Series. Däniken’s ideas thrived in this climate, and his book became an immediate best-seller in the United States and Germany. It can now be read in more than 30 languages and has seen 40 printings to date. Over the years, Däniken has attracted a large group of followers, many of whom have conducted and published their own research, although he has also received criticism from some within the scientific community.

The Special Events

Mary King’s Close is an old Edinburgh close under buildings in the Old Town area of Edinburgh. It took its name from one Mary King, daughter of advocate Alexander King, who in the 17th century had owned several properties within the close. The close was partially demolished and buried under the Royal Exchange. Later, it was closed to the public for many years, and the complex became shrouded in myths and urban legends. Tales of ghosts and murders and myths of plague victims being walled up and left to die abounded. However, new research and archaeological evidence has revealed that the close actually consists of a number of closes which were originally narrow streets with tenement houses on either side, stretching up to seven stories high. Mary King’s Close is now a commercial tourist attraction.

The close has had a reputation for haunting since at least the 17th century. It has been pointed out that this particular close ran the nearest of any to the old Nor Loch, a stagnant and highly polluted marsh; bio-gas escaping into the close and creating eerie lights may have been the cause for these rumours of spirit haunting. It is also said that the gas escaping into the closes was known to cause hallucinations. Urban legends say that the haunting originated with plague victims being quarantined and left to die in the close, or with their bodies being used to build the walls.


Mary King’s Close is infamous for its tales of ghosts and unexplained happenings. One of the earliest and best documented stories concerns the Coltheart family and took place 40 years after the last outbreak of plague in Edinburgh when people were already claiming to have seen spectres and nameless terrors in the close. Mary King’s Close is infamous for its tales of ghosts and unexplained happenings.

We will set out to investigate with three (3) of the best paranormal investigators/researchers ever assembled at one location. These three teams will consist of only twenty (20) people, and will be led by none other than Joshua Warren, Micah Hanks, and David Weatherly. Their goal: to learn what evidence can be discovered regarding the trials-and-tribulations of the Colthearts who are purported to be haunting Mary King’s Close and causing many to hear scratches coming from inside a chimney where a child sweep is said to have died. Joining them on their teams will be three of the best psychic empaths, Chip Coffee, Robert Cracknell, and Michelle Griffin.

Joshua Warren Micah Hanks David Weatherly
Chip Coffee Robert Cracknell Michelle Griffin

STAY TUNED to SEE IF YOU CAN QUALIFY to be on ONE of THESE THREE TEAMS!

Will they hear the sounds of a party or crowded tavern that are often heard in the close? Or see the worried man who is often spotted pacing the Close from time to time. . . perhaps even the Close’s last resident, Mr Chesney? Who knows for sure? It could even be the strangest of stories reported in these underground streets, the tale of little ‘Annie’ and her famous shrine. Soon we  will be assembling the rest of the team from those attending the symposium to join these top-notch teams… BUT understand, there are only places for 20 on each team! Keep watching for more details as we approach August 2013!

You can hear her story on your tour of Mary King’s Close but needless to say the story has struck a chord with many visitors who ever since she was first visited by a Japanese psychic,  leave the little ghost girl toys and money which is donated to the Sick Kids Friends Foundation. It’s a phenomenon quite as extraordinary as other tales of ghosts which are constantly being reported by those taking their tour in the Close!

Mary King’s Close was re-opened to the public in April 2003. Now a commercial tourist attraction, it is being displayed as a historically accurate example of life in Edinburgh between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. One enters the attraction through Warriston’s Close and Writer’s Court, where a replica sign for “Mary King’s Close” has been hung. The attraction actually gives tours of the ruins of several underground close remains: Mary King’s, Pearson’s, Stewart’s and Allen’s Closes.

Mary King’s Close is also the organisation which manages access to the close known as Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh. This unique and popular award-winning attraction is most popular with many of Edinburgh’s festivals, with its strange and quirky events attracting visitors from throughout Scotland, the U.K. and overseas.

The ancient City of Edinburgh is steeped in a rich and violent history filled with murder, body snatching and foul play. Thus, it’s only natural that Edinburgh is riddled with tales of ghosts, spirits and entities. Down the hill on Lawnmarket Street, close to Edinburgh Castle is George IV Bridge road, and close to Candlemaker Row near the Edinburgh vaults, you’ll find the ‘Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar right on George IV Bridge Road. It is there, directly behind the pub, that you will find one of Edinburgh’s most haunted locations in all of Scotland, the Greyfriars Church Kirkyard and Cemetery.

Greyfriars is a 12th century cemetery nestled between an old 16th century prison that was expanded through the 19th century on one side and an old hospital named after its founder, George Heriot’s Hospital at Greyfriars Church, on the other. The hospital was at one time an infirmary used for tuberculosis patients and before closing, it was both a hospital and a home for the mentally insane. Here it is rumoured that during both the tuberculosis and influenza outbreaks that hundreds of people were buried in mass graves. Today, that building houses facilities used by the city and university, and the lawn of the college closest the wall leading to Greyfriars Kirkyard through a small gate is the area of the burials. So, if it’s ghosts you’re looking for, you can scream out ‘Eureka, jackpot!’ Both building complexes look today as if they were straight out of a horror movie. The clouds, leafless trees and mossy monuments provide the perfect ambiance for a great paranormal picnic!

This is a question we want to discover on our own, with three (3) more paranormal teams. Again, we’ve selected the best of the best paranormal investigators/researchers for this World’s Most Haunted location. Each team will also consist of only twenty (20) people, led by none other than John Sabol, Bill Murphy, and David Holdrien . These three teams will separate into the three areas of the cemetery, Covenanters Cemetery, Greyfriars Kirk Cemetery, and the grounds of what used to be the George Herios Hospital and is now part of the Edinburgh City College. Their goal: to retrieve evidence supporting the claims that these three burial areas are in fact the world’s most haunted! These three teams we have also three of the best psychic empaths which remain to be announced.

John Sabol Bill Murphy Dave Holdrien

STAY TUNED to SEE IF YOU CAN QUALIFY to be on ONE of THESE THREE TEAMS!

The courtyard is now often quiet and pleasant to walk through on your own, or you can take a guided tour that takes about an hour. Off in the distance is a spectacular view of the Edinburgh Castle and St. Giles Cathedral from anywhere within the Kirkyard (Gaelic for churchyard). Also to the west beyond a locked gate, you’ll be able to easily see the prison with the Sanatorium Hospital over moss-covered stone walls on the north sides.  Both have their own convenient gate into the cemetery.

The prison over the wall was known as Covenanters Prison (a covenanter being one who, by solemn agreement, pledges to uphold Presbyterian-ism, especially adherent of the National Covenant or the Solemn League and Covenant). Mary Queen of Scots had granted the area surrounding the Greyfriars Kirk to be used as a burial ground for its congregation in 1562. There are many famous Scots said to be buried here, including Sir Walter Scott’s father; William McGonnegal, Scotland’s worst poet; George Heriot, founder of the school next door to Greyfriars; and James Craig, designer of Edinburgh’s New Town. William Adam lies in a mausoleum designed by his son; architect John Adam, the brother of Robert Adam.

Perhaps the most famous resident of all is the Greyfriars Bobby, a loyal Skye terrier owned by ‘Auld Jock’ (John Gray).  Bobby was so loyal to his master that when Auld Jock died of tuberculosis on 15th February in 1858, it is said that Bobby kept a daily vigil over his master’s grave for over 14 years until his own death on 14th January 1872.  The dog was buried in an unmarked grave within Greyfriars Kirkyard, and today there is still a daily one-o’clock bell that rings to commemorate the hour at which locals would feed Bobby. There are many reports of hearing Bobby’s ghost barking within the walls at the Greyfriars Cemetery.

There were over 1,200 Covenanters imprisoned here at any given time from the 17th through 19th century. On a hot summer day, it was said that because of the foul and repulsive conditions at the prison, including lack of hygiene and filth, the stench of the prison would permeate the air. Prisoners from Covenanters were either hanged at the Grassmarket gallows or deported as slaves.

One of the more famous spirits buried here that is said to haunt the cemetery is George ‘Bluidy’ MacKenzie, a barrister who persecuted many of the Covenanters that were buried in Covenanters Kirkyard. In the far corner, by a large black Mausoleum, his spirit is said to haunt Greyfriars visitors. It is often referred to as the ‘MacKenzie Poltergeist.’ It has also been said that many on the ghost tours have reportedly been physically attacked by an unseen force, knocking them down and even displayed scratches on their back through clothing. Because of this, the area is now chained off and only a select few are allowed to pass through its wrought-iron gate. It’s in an interesting part of the cemetery as well. Also in the same corner of the cemetery are two gates leading into the cemetery for convenience – one from the prison and one from the hospital. Many visitors venturing into the cemetery at night on their own have commented on seeing people at the gate as well as images in their photographs that are unexplained.

Experience an unforgettable night under the stars in the Scottish highlands with the Spirits, Shadows & Secrets International Symposium UFO Sky Watch on Thursday, 29 August 2013 from 23:00 – 03:00. There will buses available for those choosing not to drive the distance in unfamiliar territory and a map for those who are. We will be departing from the Edinburgh International Convention Centre promptly at 22:30 for the short drive away from the city lights.

“A Night Under the Stars” will be led by none other than the lead from the hit television series “Fact or Faked,” Ben Hansen, with the staff of the Spirits, Shadows & Secrets assisting with logistics. Joining us will be a technical filming crew with full-spectrum night-vision camera equipment. Many of the Symposium’s guest speakers, including Bill Murhpy, Stan Romanek, Lisa Romanek, Travis Walton, Joshua Warren, Micah Hanks, Scotty Roberts, Patty Greer, and many others will be joining us as we spend a chilly night (this is after all, Scotland – so dressing warmly would be a really good idea) under one of the most beautiful star canopies you can imagine, just watching the night sky for anything out of the norm. Who knows what we may see  or encounter while we’re out there. We are also planning to arrange for  a video stream to the Internet for anyone who cannot be there to share the night or any of the exciting moments we may be able to capture.

This map shows UFO UK sightings for all years through 2006 in Britain and Ireland. It should be noted that in the last six years, sightings have increased throughout Europe and UK by as much as 350% since then, and many of current British sightings are well documented because of the excellent work of various UFO groups there. The same may be said of France, Belgium and Denmark. The busiest single day in Britain (through 2006) had been on 04 JAN 1988 with 12 records. Most of which were in the Yorkshire area between Leeds and York. There were 26 “airship” reports in 1909 alone. Some other busy years were 1994 (93 listings), 1977 (66), 1973 (55) 44, and 1988 (48).

British UFO sightings are slightly more common on Mondays and Fridays. January and August are the busiest months. Unlike some countries, British sightings tend to occur mostly in residential areas.

Should the event be rained out, or otherwise be cloudy, the event will be rescheduled after the concert at Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile for which the buses will be pick-up everyone with reservations at the cathedral.

What better place to discover the grandeur of Scotland’s past than the Mansfield Traquair? Situated in the heart of Edinburgh,the Mansfield Traquair is the perfect venue to hold our Signature Black-Tie Charity Banquet on the 30th of August, 2013. As you enter this hidden gem, the beauty and versatility of  “Edinburgh’s Sistine Chapel” will astound you.

Once you pass through its double red doors into the banquet hall, you will escape the normal confines of the present into the limitless versatility concealed within the magnificent stone grasp of this Edinburgh gem, now known as the Mansfield Traquair. Once you’re in, you, too, will agree that for this Signature Banquet event, the venue is the perfect location with its jaw dropping and awe inspiring soaring space. Mansfield Traquair has clearly earned the mantle of ‘Edinburgh’s Sistine Chapel’ and oh so much more. From the grand neo-Romanesque architecture, to the truly exquisite murals of Phoebe Anna Traquair that adorn the walls, the absolute grandeur and beauty that have made Mansfield Traquair one of Edinburgh’s most spectacular and surprisingly versatile venues will have you in its spell.

What is truly exceptional about the Mansfield Traquair is its passion driven menu created by its obsessed and utterly charming expert staff of smart and streamlined professionals. Its distinguished waiters, butlers, chefs and even dream-makers create some of the most impressive themes imaginable for guests of the Mansfield Traquair.

Vibrancy – a modern and dynamic city, bustling with life and enterprise.

Culture – a World Heritage site, with stunning architecture and wonderful galleries, museums, theatres and arts venues.

People – the people are warm, helpful and friendly with a strong tradition of service and professionalism.

Choice – a wide choice of world-class conference venues and hotels, over half of which are within two miles of the city centre.

Attractions – a compact city centre, ideal for exploring on foot with many venues within easy walking distance.

Festivals – the festival capital of Europe, with a dazzling programme of events throughout the year.

Restaurants – more restaurants per head of population than any other city in the UK, catering for all tastes.

Innovation – a centre of excellence in the fields of medicine, finance, research, science & technology, architecture and the arts, and designated the City of Literature.

Weather – the weather is temperate, with less annual rainfall than Rome, Frankfurt and New York, and Edinburgh enjoys clear, crisp, sunny days in spring and autumn.

Access – the airport is only 8 miles (12km) from the city centre, with an increasing number of direct air routes between Europe and North America, and high-speed rail links to all major cities in Britain.