As ‘dark tourism’ grips the country in the run up to Halloween, Stirling is preparing its historic city streets for the biggest paranormal festival in the UK.
From 30 October – 2 November, hundreds of scare-seeking visitors will descend on the city for the Scottish Paranormal Festival.
Supported by VisitScotland and the first of its kind, the four day event will bring together experts in everything from ghosts to UFOs; monsters to poltergeists - for talks, films, music, comedy and entertainment.
One of the highlights of the week will be when 880 fangs come together for Scotland’s first ever Vampyre Ball in the Albert Halls in Stirling.
Set to attract over 400 bloodthirsty revelers from across the country, the event on Halloween (31 October), from 8.30pm – 1.00am is strictly for over 18yrs only and will include music, food and special prizes donated by one of the original Ghostbusters - Dan Aykroyd.
Festival Director Peter Broughan said:
“Fearsome fiends that feed on the blood of others are not a new concept in Scotland as traditional Scottish mythology tells of the Baobhan Sith – a beautiful womanly creature who seduced young men to drink their blood. Let’s hope there aren’t too many of them at the ball or there will be no males to dance with!
“The Scottish Paranormal Festival came from my passion for the unexplained. Whether it’s pondering the existence of poltergeists or understanding UFOS, we’ve been able to bring an exciting number of experts, writers and investigators from across the world to this event in Stirling and it is set to be an awe-inspiring few days. The Vampyre Ball of course will be a true highlight and I would ask people to get their tickets now for what will be a “bloody” good night!”
The Scottish Paranormal Festival will bring together comedy, music, film, talks and entertainment in a special weekend of events in various venues around Stirling. Other highlights include:
· Sex, lies and Poltergeists! - Talk by Geoff Holder (31 October)
· UFOs and the Media. - Talk by James Fox (1 November)
· What if E.T. phones our home? - Discussion by Nick Pope (1 November)
· Native American X Files. - Talk by The Navajo Rangers (2 November)
· ‘Haunting’ – Music and storytelling with Christina Stewart (1 November)
· Stand-up comedy with Ian D. Montfort, the world’s worst medium (2 November)
· Special screenings of The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby, Under the Skin, Shadow of a Vampire, Nosferatu and more.
‘Dark tourism’ is a phenomenon coined by academic expert and researcher John Lennon from Glasgow Caledonian University. Defined as ‘tourism involving travel to sites historically associated with death and tragedy’; the main draw to dark locations is their historical value rather than their direct associations with loss and suffering.
The appetite for dark tourism is strong with visitors flocking to notably ‘spooky’ attractions in Scotland to discover the ‘things that go bump in the night’. In 2013, domestic visitors who visited historic houses as part of a trip to Scotland generated 563,000 trips, and spent £233m, and those who visited historic castles generated a staggering 1,030,000 trips, and spend of around £423m.
VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead said:
“The Scottish Paranormal Festival is set to be a very mystifying and intriguing few days. From ghosts to aliens, UFOs to vampires, coming alive through comedy, theatre, talks and music, it will be a chance to discover the fact behind the fiction and see if the truth really is out there! I would urge everyone to make the trip to Stirling to discover not only this amazing festival, but also this historic and magnificent city’s fascinating past.”
Supported by VisitScotland, the Scottish Paranormal Festival takes place in Stirling from 30 October to 2 November. As part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 partnership programme, the festival is set to draw visitors across Scotland and beyond. The Scottish Paranormal Festival has received funding from VisitScotland’s events directorate, EventScotland.
For more information or tickets, visit www.paranormalscotland.com