The supernatural continues to be a feature of our modern world.

The conference took place on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 August 2018.

The media reports ghostly encounters, supernatural TV and films continue to be popular genres, and professionalised groups and organisations offer commercial experiences of the otherworldly. It seems that regardless of scientific progress and rationale thought, the allure of the extraordinary still prevails.

The Supernatural in Contemporary Society Conference (SCSC) aimed to explore the continuing role of the supernatural. SCSC intends to provide an interdisciplinary forum to discuss current and emerging research, and examine these in relation to the impact and value this has on culture, heritage and tourism. In addition, industry professionals were invited to discuss current and emerging issues.

SCSC invited contributions from across disciplines that explore issues in relation to the following themes:

  • The supernatural in tourism, travel and events: addressing forms of the supernatural in tourism, travel and events, and its impact on heritage, place and community.
  • The supernatural in media, journalism and popular culture: investigating the role of the media and journalism in reporting and engaging with supernatural encounters and belief
  • The supernatural as profession and subculture: exploring the prevalence of contemporary and professionalised groups, individuals and organisations dedicated to researching and experiencing the supernatural.

We also invite papers addressing broader issues of the Supernatural in contemporary society, and those papers that address methodological approaches to studying these issues.

On the first night of the conference delegates were invited to attend an industry panel session at Crathes Castle to discuss the future of supernatural tourism and heritage organisations. This was followed by an evening meal and entertainment.

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dmHTML_teaserLargeNoTitleKeynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Find out who will be speaking at the conference.

dmHTML_teaserLargeNoTitleConference Programme

Conference Programme

Discover the what's on during the conference


Watch videos from the sessions

Dr Rachael Ironside – Welcome and Introduction

Professor Dennis Waskul - Let’s Summon Demons! The Promise of the Supernatural (Keynote) 

John Sabol - Time, Social Compass, and the Return: Relevant Revenants as Intangible Cultural Heritage

Professor Peter Reid - The ancient dame, the given ground and the quaking fever: the enduring legacy of witchcraft and superstition in the fishing communities of North-East Scotland

Dr Andrea Kitta - Slender Man and the Unacknowledged Common Experience of the Supernatural

Dr Tom Clark - The Devil rides in: ‘Cinematic Satanism’, ‘the swinging sixties’, and the idea of evil in civil society

Dr Derek Johnston - Understanding History and Causality through the Television Ghost Story

Hayley Lockerbie & Dr Graeme Baxter - “Blood has been spilt on that spot”: exploring the relationship between the supernatural and the library and information sciences

Dr Eva Kingsepp - Ghosts, extraterrestrials and re-enchantment: Possibilities and challenges in regional tourism

Dr David Clarke - "What's all this stuff about flying saucers?": Extraordinary personal experiences from The National Archives UFO Project (Keynote)

Professor Christopher Bader - Science or Religion? Framing within the Bigfoot Subculture.

Filip Andjelkovic - Haunted Houses, Haunted Minds: Psychical Research, psychoanalysis, and the Philip Experiment

Dr Jack Hunter - Anomalistics and Ecology: Exploring the Threads

Alicia Edwards - A guide to the geography of Ghostland: Ghost Tourism Narratives and the Mapping of ‘Haunted London'

Dr Terence Palmer - Supernatural Experiences in the Hospital Environment

Dr Leo Ruickbie - Victorian Ghost Hunters in the 21st Century: Conflict, Continuity and the Society for Psychical Research

Paula Fenn - The Liminality of Modern Day Exorcists