Society for the Academic Study of the Supernatural

Aberdeen Conference Inspires Launch of New Society

Was the Supernatural in Contemporary Society Conference the best conference ever? Quite possibly. Beyond the excellent papers delivered by a broad range of experts in the field, there was a tremendous sense of energy and enthusiasm, and also community of purpose.

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.

Held at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in August this year, the conference brought together scholars from all over the world and across the disciplinary spectrum. Prof. Dennis Waskul and Dr David Clarke gave keynote addresses. For the theme ‘the paranormal as profession’, I presented a paper on the Society for Psychical Research’s role today, entitled ‘Victorian Ghost Hunters in the 21st century: Conflict, Continuity and the Society for Psychical Research’.

There was a great enthusiasm for continuing the spirit of the conference beyond the physical event itself. As one of the admins for the Society for the Academic Study of Magic on JISCmail, I suggested a similar enterprise under the moniker of the Society for the Academic Study of the Supernatural. Working with the conference organiser, Dr Rachael Ironside, we launched a new mailing list for the Society for the Academic Study of the Supernatural on 14 September 2018, opening it to subscribers on 17 September.

The mailing list is intended as a place to share news and information relating to the study of the ‘supernatural’, broadly defined. You can subscribe by visiting the webpage at