A Welshman, Geoff Holder was born and brought up in Cardiff. He studied with the Open University (“a life-changing experience”) and then went to Stirling University as a mature student.
Holder writes non-fiction guides to the strange and paranormal in different parts of Scotland. In December 2006 his first book, The Guide to Mysterious Perthshire, was published. In May 2007 The Guide to Mysterious Iona and Staffa was published, followed by The Guide to Mysterious Loch Ness and the Inverness Area in December 2007. 2008 will see the publication of The Guide to Mysterious Arran and The Guide to Mysterious Stirlingshire, while The Guide to Mysterious Aberdeenshire is planned for 2009.
Each book is a comprehensive guide to everything strange, Fortean, paranormal, Gothic and grotesque in a given area. They tell you where to find stone circles, carved stones, gargoyles, graveyards and other mysterious or atmospheric sites. There’s also witchcraft, folk magic, ceremonial magic, ghosts, loch monsters, demons, folklore, cryptozoology, holy wells, miracles, religious mania, UFOs and general weirdness.
The books are a mix of extensive historical and documentary study combined with diligent field research, the latter of which usually means “spending far more time wading through nettle-shrouded ruins or lurking around graveyards than is probably healthy”. Much of this field research takes place on foot or via pedal power.
Since 1993 he has been a producer and scriptwriter with Speakeasy Productions, based in Perthshire. He has made hundreds of videos for large companies and Government departments. A number of them have even won awards. He wrote and produced the six-part STV documentary series Mysterious Scotland (2003) and also made a few documentaries for Channel 4. He used to write the weekly “Mysterious Perthshire” column for the Perthshire Advertiser and regularly gives talks to various groups on everything from Aleister Crowley to St Columba to historical witchcraft.