top of page

LAPIS 2011 Conference Review

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

Early on the morning of Saturday 11th June 2011 I and my friend Chris set off from Birmingham on our journey to Blackpool for the yearly LAPIS paranormal conference. It was a fantastic sunny day and the roads were nice and clear. This year the conference took place at the Carousel Hotel right on the seafront, just a short distance along the main promenade from Blackpool Pleasure Beach. As we arrived around 9.30am, both Blackpool Tower and “The Big One” rollercoaster were in plain sight.

The conference took place inside the main bar room of the hotel. This was really nicely furnished and well lit, a comfortable location for two days of lectures. There was also another side room where a number of merchandise stalls had been laid out.

We almost immediately bumped into Paul Vella, who was billed to speak first at the conference, and a friend of mine, Mike Rutter from Rapport contactee support group and magazine. After socialising a while with them over a coffee, we then caught up with some of the other speakers including Malcolm Robinson (who had spoken at BUFOG only two weeks before), Mike Hallowell and Rob Whitehead. Prior to kick off I also had a good look round the merchandise room, where I was pleased to once again meet up with contactee Mike Oram, who was also on the speaker line up.

After claiming some nice comfy seats towards the back of the room, we settled down to listen to Paul Vella, who gave a fascinating first talk on the “Minnesota Ice Man”. This was a sideshow attraction which was put on display around the USA in the late 1960s, and appeared to be a caveman/bigfoot like creature encased in a block of ice. Many people believed it was real and was the missing link. Over the years various people claimed to have been involved with the discovery or death of the ice man, and Paul went over their claims in detail. He personally believed it to be a clever hoax made by a special effects studio rather than an actual creature, however scientists were never given the chance to thaw it out, and then it mysteriously vanished without trace, so we will probably never know for certain either way.

After Paul’s lecture there was then a break for lunch. We decided to explore the local area and find a shop to buy some food. It wasn’t long before we discovered a number of art sculptures on the promenade including a giant mirror ball which was brightly reflecting the suns rays. This was begging out for some photo opportunities, some of which are displayed below!

The afternoon began with a talk from Jon Ronson, investigative journalist and author of numerous books including The Men Who Stared At Goats, which has since been made into an excellent comedy film starring Ewan McGregor and George Clooney. Rob has looked into numerous unusual fringe subjects including remote viewing and the Bohemian Grove ceremony (Which he managed to sneak into with Alex Jones) However his lecture mostly focused on psychopaths, the subject of his latest book. He covered the various officially recognised signs of madness, and explained how some of these signs were quite ridiculous and could be attributed to most people in one way or another. His talk was both interesting and amusing, though I can’t help but feel that someone so openly sceptical of the paranormal was a little out of place.

Next Mike Hallowell took to the stage. He warned at the start of his lecture that it was not really suitable for children and that he would be discussing some quite disturbing things, and he wasn’t joking either! Mike’s talk was about an ongoing case of a family who were being plagued by poltergeist-like activity that clearly had malicious intent and was far from friendly. However Mike put the activity down to a demonic entity from folklore know as a Brag, as some of the activity fitted in with this. This activity unexplained sounds and footsteps, laughing and voices heard over the telephone or actually in the household, fires which had burst out of nowhere, and a cloud like mist which was witnessed in the hallway that actually rained urine all over the floor and stairs, before hoof like markings appeared walking up the stairs one step at a time. The entity appeared to be linked to the family rather than their home, as it had also followed them out of the house on numerous occasions. The most disturbing incident of all was where one of the family had been beaten around the face by an invisible assailant while Mike was speaking to another family member over the phone. He played the unpleasant audio recording of this conversation, as well as a number of EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) recordings. One of the most impressive aspects of the case was the fact that the police had got involved and had not only witnessed some of this activity first hand, but had allowed for their identities to be revealed. This certainly aided in backing up the validity of the case.

The final speaker of the day was Malcolm Robinson from Strange Phenomena Investigations (SPI). Malcolm is an accomplished and well versed speaker with many years experience in the field, and his lectures are always a joy to listen to. His lecture was entitled “The Weird And The Wonderful”, and covered many varied experiences and incidents. These included his own UFO sightings and efforts to find the Loch Ness monster. He then covered the curse of American actor James Dean’s car. James lost his life in the car during a fatal accident. However after his demise there were many other accidents and fatalities linked to the car in various ways, leading people to believe that it was cursed. Malcolm also covered a terrifying séance he had personally been involved in where lots had taken place he could not explain, and a photograph from Chile which claims to show a live ET being walking across a road. He then went on to talk of other UFO cases including a silver disc that was seen from the window of an aircraft, and another saucer-shaped craft that was seen by the crew of a ship out at sea. He ended his talk by covering a case where a woman’s car had seemingly collided with an invisible force of some kind which had crumpled the side of the car without causing any damage to the paintwork – very bizarre! Malcolm’s lecture was pretty much identical to the one he had given at BUFOG a fortnight before, but it was great hearing it a second time.

And so ended the first day of lectures, but the fun was far from over! We headed outside a while for some drinks in the early evening sunlight, and a chat with Malcolm, Mike and Paul. I also met the presidents of the Scarborough UFO Society (SUFOS).

After a short while, the merchandise room had been cleverly transformed into a “Meet the speakers” buffet room. The food was really good, and after dinner and drinks it was time for a thoroughly enjoyable paranormal themed quiz. With Malcolm Robinson on our team we came a respectable second place, and were only one point away from being declared the winners. We were just pipped to the post by Mike Hallowell and Oll Lewis, who won a load of skywatch related equipment.

In actual fact, the prize would surely have come in handy, as after a few more drinks I, Chris, Malcolm and Mike Rutter decided to head on out to some nearby sand dunes and end the night with a short skywatch. It was quite a mild evening with a relatively clear sky, ideal skywatching conditions! It took about 10 minutes to walk to our destination. After the facing the perils of numerous sand covered pathways while under the influence of alcohol, we ended up at the highest point of the dunes, which gave a great view of the surroundings and also out over the sea. There were some other people close by next to a fire but we decided not to approach them. In the distance we could see numerous ships lights.

Initially there was very little activity in the sky. We caught sight of one distant plane and then spotted a single satellite on its course across the sky. But then suddenly we noticed a bright white light heading inland from the West. It was definitely in the atmosphere, no higher than 3000 feet. However as it got closer we realised there were no additional navigation lights on it at all, nor could we hear any sound coming from it. We had cameras but were too busy debating whether or not it was a plane to take a photograph, and I am certain even if we had it would not have come out against the night sky. I was surprised to find out that even Malcolm thought it looked unusual. We had to conclude that it was unidentified, therefore it was a UFO. A short while after the light vanished into the distance we decided to call it a night and returned to the hotel.

I and Chris had decided in advance to save money by sleeping in the car. I’ve had many years roughing it at various music festivals so this really didn’t bother me too much. The worst part was waking up due to the early morning light. We checked the clock and found it was 6.15am. Knowing that we would probably not be able to drop back off, we decided to grab the BBQ from the boot and walk back down to the sand dunes to cook some breakfast. It was hard work hulking all the gear down there, but worth it in the end. Chris’s BBQ skills are commendable.

By the time we returned to the hotel it was 9.30am and other people were milling about. We met back up with Malcolm and headed back to the mirror ball for some more photos.

Malcolm was speaking a second time so we then had to return to the venue so he could get set up. He began at 11am with an entertaining visual talk on supposed ET photographs. This was just the ticket for those of us who were still recovering from the previous evening, and although I had seen the majority of the photos before it was interesting none the less.

The next lecture was by Oll Lewis, and was all about the beast of legend known as the Kraken. Oll covered many of the theories as to the origins of the creature and explained why many of these could not really explain it. During the lecture he showed a number of old drawings of the Kraken. The legend goes that a boat of sailors moored on the back of the beast assuming it was an island. After lighting a fire, the Kraken dived below the waves and many of the men were drowned. Oll presented an interesting theory of his which suggested that the Kraken was actually an island, but the tide had risen very fast giving the impression that it was a huge creature slowly diving underwater. I’m not really sure the tide could rise fast enough to fool anyone in this way, but I guess it's a possibility.

The afternoon began with a rather unsettling lecture by Rob Whitehead. He spoke about the case of the “Women In Blue” which took place in the 1990s. This involved many incidents where women and occasionally men would visit people’s houses claiming to be social workers. They would ask for permission to perform an intimate examination of the children, and would occasionally attempt to take the child away into custody. This happened many times around the area of Yorkshire and a number of times elsewhere in the UK. It made the papers on numerous occasions and the police released a number of photo fits of the suspects. Its clear what the suspected motive was, but after following some leads Rob had been informed of a completely different motive, one with bizarre implications.

The last speaker of the conference was the ongoing contactee Mike Oram. Mike has had experiences since the age of four, and has had many meetings with a Nordic being named Telos, who he refers to as his “space brother”. I have heard Mike speak before of his experiences, and he is always fascinating to listen to. He gave a brief overview of some of his many encounters, but focused mostly on two particular experiences. Firstly he described something which had happened recently and which he had not spoken of before. One evening at his home he received a psychic message which told him to go outside with a camera and take photographs. He sensed that something was leaving the Earth for a while, perhaps a particular group of ETs, and that some kind of event was taking place. He took about 40 photographs. On some of these photographs he saw what looked like white orbs of light shooting upwards with trails running behind them. He showed these unusual photos during the talk.

The second part of his lecture focused on the events which had happened to him and his wife in Nevada while visiting the gate of Area 51 and the Little A’le’inn. At the time he felt that things were amiss and experienced some periods of missing time. Because of this he deciced to get regressed. Under regression he stated that he had been chased down by a military vehicle with a device on the back that had opened a portal. He was taken through this and found himself in a building with many military personnel, and something was placed on his head. It seemed like the military had known he was a contactee and wanted to obtain something from his mind. The odd incidents which happened later on turned out to be a visitation by Telios, another Nordic and a short Grey-like being. Mike’s lecture was a fascinating way to end the conference, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

After saying our goodbyes we stepped outside the hotel to find ourselves in a heavy downpour of rain. I felt glad that the weather had held off until now otherwise the weekend would have been far less fun. Despite the rain and tiredness, our spirits were raised by the memories of the last two days as we began the long drive back to Birmingham. It was certainly one of the most varied and enjoyable paranormal conferences I have attended, and I look forward to seeing what next year’s conference will bring.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2011

bottom of page