City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The world’s greatest adventurers are coming to Edinburgh

By Philip_Coppens - Posted on 12 November 2008

The Histories & Mysteries Conference is held in Edinburgh, on November 22-23, 2008. Headlining the conference is the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull, which featured in the latest Indiana Jones movie. It is the first time ever that the skull will go on public display in the United Kingdom. But the conference also hosts a series of internationally renowned explorers and innovators, some of whom are speaking for the first time in the UK.


Bill Homann is the current owner and caretaker of the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull, the most beautiful and best known crystal skull in existence. Anna “Sammy” Mitchell-Hedges spent the last eight years of her life living in Bill’s home under his tender care. It is Bill’s desire and hope, to carry on Sammy and her father’s legacy with the Crystal Skull. As such, Bill is taking the skull to as many continents and people as he can and as part of this commitment, he is bringing the Mitchell-Hedges crystal skull to the United Kingdom, the home of Anna’s father, F.A. “Mike” Mitchell-Hedges.

Mitchell-Hedges is often seen as the real Indiana Jones, and with good cause, for he went on numerous expeditions to Central America, bringing back no less than 4000 artefacts, which he donated to various renowned institutions, including the British Museum. He also played a pivotal role in the recuperation of the so-called “Virgin of Kazan”, a Russian holy relic that ended up in the Pope’s private chapel.

In recent years, Homann has stepped into Mitchell-Hedges’ shoes, in an effort to uncover the ultimate truth about the crystal skulls, and he will unveil his story at the conference. However, Homann is adamant that the skull should be the centre of attention, and hence, a sound-and-light is organised on Saturday evening in the Hub, and the skull will go on public display on November 23, for one day only – and for the first time in the UK.


During the Saturday conference, Homann is but one of several true explorers and innovators. Also hailing from the UK is Harry Oldfield, a scientist and inventor whose areas of successful development span the visual presentation of energy fields with computers, through to image enhancement of microscopes and instruments utilising the special properties of crystals. As such, Oldfield is able to show how other-dimensional energies can be recorded on scientific instruments, showing to everyone that “the other realm” is real. During the public display on Sunday, Oldfield will visualise the energy interactions between members of the public and the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull, offering a unique experience for all visitors.


The conference has two more international speakers. One is Joseph Davidovits, a world-renowned expert on geopolymers, an almost alchemical process of stone making, which experts believe should replace cement in most building projects. His expertise enabled him to see certain aspects of the Egyptian pyramids that Egyptologists would miss. This led him to the daring conclusion that the blocks of the pyramids were not hewn, but “poured” – erroneously interpreted by the media as “cement”. Misunderstood for two decades, Davidovits tried to educate Egyptologists, before, in 2006, fellow scientists – some from MIT – came to his assistance, agreeing with his observations.

Even more controversial is Sam Osmanagic, the founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bosnian Valley of the Pyramids. In 2005, he was invited to come to Visoko, to see an enigmatic hill that towered over the Bosnian town; could it be a pyramid? Sam decided to apply his Master of Sciences in International Economics, his B.S. in Political Sciences and Economics together, to fund an initial survey, which concluded that the structure needed further investigation, but seemed man-made. As could be expected, controversy broke out, and the world press came to hear – or mock – him. But in 2007, a series of renowned archaeologists and geologists, including Dr. Nabil Swelim – himself the discoverer of four pyramids in Egypt – confirmed that the structure was man-made – making it the largest pyramid in the world.

Osmanagic will unveil, in his own unique style, the story of his journey so far, which will include the highlights of the 2008 archaeological excavations…


There is – of course – a strong Scottish flavour to the conference, if only because it is organised by a Scottish-based team. Alas, one of the Scottish speakers, Stan Hall, died in September, but his daughter, Eileen Hall, will hold the lecture on his behalf. If anything, Stan Hall is Scotland’s Indiana Jones. In 1976, he organised a landmark scientific expedition to the Tayos Caves of Ecuador with astronaut Neil Armstrong as Honorary President and participant. The two remained life-long friends. Eileen Hall will underline the accomplishments of her father, as well as outline how the Tayos project will continue in the future.

The final speaker is Philip Coppens, who lives in North Berwick. As a Belgian ex-pat, he has been documenting much of the unwritten history of the Lothians, which included a book on Rosslyn Chapel – before several more such books were to be published in the wake of the international bestseller “The Da Vinci Code”. But he also mapped the prehistoric landscape of the Lothians, investigating its legends, slowly beginning to understand the former glory that befell its past inhabitants, the Gododdin. When he had reassembled all the pieces, he was staring at a forgotten history of a region, whose inhabitants were forced to flee after the Roman withdrawal from Britain. Arriving in Wales, they began to speak of their former homeland, and about one of their former kings – Arthur. Coppens will unveil the hidden past of the Lothians, and reveal the real settings of where Arthur fought his battles – to defend Camelot. Edinburgh’s Castle Rock will never be viewed the same again!


Philip Coppens, co-organiser of the conference, states: “This is very much a hall of fame of real-life Indiana Joneses. These people have devoted their life, their money, often their reputation in pursuit of familiarising the world with and fighting for the recognition of an enigma. To have all of them together in one room in Edinburgh, a city that is considered by many to be a cradle of innovation, is truly a privilege for everyone involved. It continues to set Edinburgh apart as a city of exploration.” 


For all enquiries, please contact:


Histories & Mysteries Conference

c/o Philip Coppens

PO Box 13722

North Berwick

EH39 4WB


Tel/fax 01620 894 902