Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Haunted Landscape: British Folklore, Ghosts and Magic

£20 / £16 concessions plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Saturday 19 November 2016
10am - 5.30pm

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn

Directions
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Book stall by Newham Bookshop and Strange Attractor.



As the days darken the London Fortean Society explores the folklore, ghosts and curses of the British Isles with the one-day symposium The Haunted Landscape. Authors, experts and researchers discuss ghosts, strange beasts and magic.

From a talking mongoose to soul birds, moving megaliths in the landscape to witch marks in old buildings; to fairy lore and ghosts. Join us at Conway Hall to learn that the green and pleasant land we abide in has a dark, strange and chilling other side.

More speakers TBC


Goaty McGoat Face
Baphomet by Sara Hannet
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
The Museum of Witchcraft was founded in Boscastle, Cornwall in 1960.  It explores British magical practice, making comparisons with other systems of belief, from ancient times to the present day. Photographer Sara Hannant and museum director Simon Costin reveal highlights from their forthcoming book ‘Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic’.


The Haunted Shores of England
Sophia Kingshill, author of The Fables Coast and Mermaids, takes a coastal survey of marine spectres, phantom ships, soul birds, and controversial creatures. The coastline of the British Isles plays host to an astonishingly rich variety of local legends, customs, and superstitions.

Druids, Dancers and Devils: The Folklore of Britain's Megaliths
Archdruid's palaces, ancient British racecourses, and countrygirls who danced for too long: this paper will trace the origins of the fascinating folklore that relates to Britain's megalithic monuments.  Joanne Parker is a Senior Lecturer in Victorian Literature in the Department of English at the University of Exeter. Her publications include Britannia Obscura: Mapping Hidden Britain and Written on Stone: The Cultural History of British Prehistoric Monuments.


A Mongoose in the Landscape
In 1931 the inhabitants of an isolated Isle of Man farm began to report extraordinary phenomena. The Irving family claimed that a small animal had appeared to them, manifesting speech, clairvoyance, invisibility and other extraordinary powers. What became known as the Gef the Talking Mongoose case swiftly became a media sensation – the subject of psychic investigations, court cases, and books – yet is now largely forgotten.

Christopher Josiffe is the author of a forthcoming book on Gef the Talking Mongoose from Strange Attractor Press.


The Blackley Boggart and its distant cousins
This talk will explore the folklore of the Boggart, defined by Katharine Briggs as a 'mischievous Brownie', most common in Lancashire and Yorkshire. It will focus primarily on the playful - and, at times, malicious - namesake of Boggart Hole Clough, an inner-city park in Manchester, tracing the folktales surrounding it from the 1820s to the present day, and setting them within the context of countrywide Boggart traditions.

Dr. Ceri Houlbrook is a folklore archaeologist, whose primary interests include the materiality of post-medieval magic and ritual, contemporary folkloric practices, and the heritage of deposits and assemblages.

Fairy Gold
Who wouldn’t be tempted by fairy treasure? The bold thief succeeds, sometimes, while the schemer is outwitted; the miser is punished, and the industrious rewarded. In hollow hills and beneath old trees the gold awaits, only to become dry leaves in the wrong hands. Unvalued by its owners, it exists only as the instrument of their power over mortals. How different from our own currency...
Jeremy Harte is a researcher into folklore and archaeology, with a particular interest in sacred space and tales of encounters with the supernatural. He is the author of English Holy Wells: A sourcebook and Explore Fairy Traditions.

Cultural anxieties and ritual protection in high status early modern houses
Recent archaeological work at the Tower of London and Knole, Kent has shown that the fear of evil, instilled in ordinary people during the early modern period, was expressed through the creation of ritual protection marks and spiritual middens intended to defend buildings from malignant forces.
James Wright is a doctoral student at the University of Nottingham. He specialises in record-ing and analysing historic standing buildings.


£20 / £16 concessions plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Saturday 19 November 2016
10am - 5.30pm

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn

Directions
Facebook event page
Book stall by Newham Bookshop.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Hayley Stevens - A Sceptics Guide to Ghost Hunting

7.45pm Thursday 27 October 2016
£4 / £2 concessions (Advance tickets)

The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East

Facebook page

Learn all about the world of modern paranormal research and why things aren't always what it seems when it comes to things that go bump in the night. Do people really fake ghosts to get a new council house? Is belief in ghosts rising? What's the deal with all this ghost hunting technology? Learn all of this and more.

Described as ' ... the Scully end of the Mulder-Scully X Files spectrum' by The Times, Hayley Stevens is a paranormal researcher who uses rational inquiry to investigate strange phenomena. She has been investigating ghost cases for over a decade - since her teens. Her writing can be found on her award-willing blog, Hayley Is A Ghost, as well as in Skeptical Inquirer, Skeptic Magazine, Paranormal Magazine and more. Hayley regularly speaks across Europe about investigating the paranormal.

7.45pm Thursday 27 October 2016
£4 / £2 concessions (
Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East

Facebook page

Monday, 19 September 2016

Phil Hine - A Phallic (K)night

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Monday 24 October 2016
7.30pm

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn

Directions
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In 1786 Richard Payne Knight - collector, arbiter of taste, and gentleman scholar published "A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus" - the first book to propose that all mythology and religion (including Christianity) is derived from primitive fertility cults.

In such cults, he asserted, the male and female genitalia symbolise procreative power, and the primal life force is worshipped through this seemingly obscene imagery. "Priapus" caused scandal in the eighteenth century, but cast an influence that is still with us today - from psychoanalysis to contemporary paganism.


(This is not Phil Hine.)
In this talk, Phil Hine examines the life of Richard Payne Knight. the key themes of "A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus" and its republication in the nineteenth century as both erotic and ethnographic text.

Phil Hine is an independent researcher and occult practitioner, he has been writing and lecturing on esoteric themes and practices for over thirty years.

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Monday 24 October 2016
7.30pm

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn

Directions
Facebook event page

Monday, 12 September 2016

The Death of Gregory Akerman

7.45pm Thursday 29 September 2016
£4 / £2 concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
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"Professional troublemaker hassles psychics to unlock death's mysteries."

The Death of Gregory Akerman sees the eponymous Gregory explore his obsession with death along with the importance of deadlines in his life. If Gregory can work out when he'll die, perhaps this information will spur him on to actually achieving something.

Gregory enjoys learning, befriending fringe groups (Heaven's Gate [how?], the Swedenborg Society, Vatican etc) and having adventures. A professional trouble maker, Gregory wants to share his stories with you.

7.45pm Thursday 29 September 2016
£4 / £2 concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook page

Saturday, 20 August 2016

From the Shadows: The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Wednesday 14 September 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn

Directions
Facebook event page

Nicholas Hawksmoor (1662–1736) is considered one of Britain’s greatest architects. He was involved in the grandest architectural projects of his age and today is best known for his London churches – six idiosyncratic edifices of white Portland stone that remain standing today, proud and tall in the otherwise radically changed cityscape.

After centuries of neglect Hawksmoor began to return to prominence during the 1960s and 1970s. At the same time, a mythology began to develop around him and his work. Iain Sinclair posited a magical "system of energies, or unit of connection, within the city," in Hawksmoor’s churches in Lud Heat (1975), while Peter Ackroyd popularised the association of Hawksmoor’s work with the occult in his novel Hawksmoor (1985).

Latterly, psycho-geographers, Alan Moore and others have continued the myth of Hawksmoor as an undercover pagan architect. In this talk, Owen Hopkins explores how and why this mythology has grown up around Hawksmoor and his work and how it relates to the real historical figure.

Owen Hopkins is a writer, historian and curator of architecture. He is Architecture Programme Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts and is author of four books on architecture, including From the Shadows: The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor.

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Wednesday 14 September 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn.

Directions
Facebook event page

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Charles Fort's 142nd Birthday (and our 5th)

The naïve and the pedantic and the bizarre and the grotesque and the sincere and the insincere, the profound and the puerile.
Charles Fort - The Book of the Damned
 
A gathering to celebrate the 142nd birthday of Charles Fort, the american writer who inspired the idea of being fortean. (Also the fifth birthday of the London Fortean Society but that's not so important.)
 
Beginning at 7pm on Wednesday 6 August outside 39A Marchmont Street London WC1N 1AP, Fort’s home in London, with a reading and toast (ale and cheese optional). This will be followed by a drink in his honour at the nearby Marquis Cornwallis on Marchmont Street, a Bloomsbury pub of grandiose proportions.
 
All forteans and friends welcome.

 

 
I am a collector of notes upon subjects that have diversity—such as deviations from concentricity in the lunar crater Copernicus, and a sudden appearance of purple Englishmen—stationary meteor-radiants, and a reported growth of hair on the bald head of a mummy—and "Did the girl swallow the octopus?
Charles Fort - Wild Talents

Monday, 13 June 2016

A History of Life After Death



£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Tuesday 26 July 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn.
Directions
Facebook event page

The end of life has never meant the extinction of hope. Throughout history people have yearned for, and often been terrified by, continuance beyond the horizon of mortality.

In his unique new book, Philip C. Almond examines the history of ideas surrounding life after death. Ranging from the banks of the river Styx to the legendary Isles of the Blessed and from Dante’s Inferno to the fusion of Heavenly and Hellish worlds in the fantasy creations of twentieth century literature, this talk will provide an illuminating journey of the hereafter as imagined in literature, philosophy and religion throughout the centuries.


Philip C. Almond is Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences (Research) and Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for the History of European Discourses at The University of Queensland. He is the author of many books, including  The Devil: A New Biography and Afterlife: A History of Life after Death, both from Cornell; The Lancashire Witches: A Chronicle of Sorcery and Death on Pendle Hill; Adam and Eve in Seventeenth-Century Thought; and Heaven and Hell in Enlightenment England

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Tuesday 26 July 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn.
Directions
Facebook event page
We spend more time there than we do here....