Monday, 8 February 2016

Subterranea: Myths, Mysteries and Magic of the Underground World

London Fortean Society in partnership with Conway Hall present


Subterranea: Myths, Mysteries and Magic of the Underground World

£8 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Saturday 9 April 2016
2.30-5.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions
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Beneath our feet echoes another world of folklore, magic and the dead. Join the London Fortean Society for three talks on terra incognita: the world of tunnels, caves, caverns and underground labyrinths from English folklore to occult secrets to urban legends of the London Underground.





Urban Legends of the London Underground: Scott Wood

Just as fairy tales warn of the dangers of going in to the woods alone London’s urban legends are often horror stories about going alone down in to the London underground. Plague pits seethe beneath your feet in the most unlikely places, corpses ride on the tube and news of enemy bomb attacks are never further than a trip to the shops away. Some of these urban legends are older than they appear; others are new stories posing as history. Scott will tell these contemporary folk-stories, map them across London and then take them pieces of apart to show you what they’re really made of.

Scott is the author of London Urban Legends: The Corpse on the Tube, a regular-ish writer for Londonist and co-organiser & host of the London Fortean Society.



Secret Tunnels of England: Folklore and Fact: Antony Clayton



So-called secret tunnels are a subject of perennial interest. Are there really labyrinths of hidden passageways under our ancient buildings, towns and cities, or are these tunnel tales another seam of England’s rich folklore?

Antony Clayton will attempt to sort fact from fiction in this illustrated talk. Antony is the author of the highly popular Subterranean City, Beneath the Streets of London, described as ‘a modern history masterpiece’. He has given talks on subterranean subjects at the British Library, the ICA, Bishopsgate Institute and Freemasons Hall.


The Occult Underground: Gary Lachman


Caves, tunnels, tombs and other subterranean spaces have held a fascination for mankind ever since we first became aware of such places.
Gary will look at some of the ways in which underground passages and places have played a part in our 'occult' understanding of the world, from our Neolithic ancestors using caves as 'sensory depravation chambers' in order to commune with the gods, to ideas of some powerful superrace living beneath the earth. These notes from underground will give a new perspective of what it means to 'go within'.


Gary Lachman is the author of more than a dozen books on the meeting ground between consciousness, culture, and the western inner tradition. These include A Dark Muse: The Dedalus Book of the Occult, Madame Blavatsky: The Mother of Modern Spirituality and The Quest for Hermes Trismegistus From Ancient Egypt to The Modern World. As Gary Valentine he was a founding member of the pop group Blondie.

£8 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Saturday 9 April 2016
2.30-5.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions
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Friday, 5 February 2016

Designing Utopia: John Hargrave and the Kibbo Kift

London Fortean Society in partnership with Conway Hall present


Cathy Ross:  Designing Utopia: John Hargrave and the Kibbo Kift

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Wednesday 13 April 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions. 
Facebook event page

Cathy Ross, Honorary Research Fellow at Museum of London, has collaborated on the first detailed account of the remarkable British writer and artist John Hargrave and his three creations The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, The Green Shirt Movement for Social Credit and The Social Credit Party of Great Britain.

Combining art, politics and design to visually stunning effect, Hargarve and his followers created a maverick but uniquely English form of modernism. Emerging from the turbulence of the twentieth century, this colourful Utopian youth movement has strong resonances with the twenty-first-century world. Cathy Ross will discuss this fascinating organisation with us.

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Wednesday 13 April 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions. 
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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Cthulhu and Contemporary Occultures

7.45pm Thursday 31st March 2016
£4 / £2 concessions (Advanced tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook page
This event has sold out. We are very sorry and we hope to re-host it at a later date. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Bore Hole: “How I came to drill a hole in my head to get permanently high”

London Fortean Society in partnership with Conway Hall present

Joe Mellen: Bore Hole: “How I came to drill a hole in my head to get permanently high

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Monday 29 February 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions.
Facebook event page

Travelling to Morocco and Ibiza, then back to the first spring of swinging London, Joe Mellen 
discovers the pleasures of hashish, is captivated by the visionary intensity of LSD and, after meeting the Dutch psychedelic guru Bart Huges, attempts the ultimate head trip, the bore hole.

Strange Attractor press have released a heavily expanded edition of Joe Mellen’s auto-trepanation memoir: Bore Hole which takes us deep into the dawning of the UK’s psychedelic counter culture, and into a mind breaking free from the confines of a traditional English upbringing. Joe discusses this memoir with us tonight.

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Monday 29 February 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions.
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Monday, 1 February 2016

The Curse of the Voynich Manuscript

7.45pm Thursday 25 February 2016
£4 / £2 concessions (Advanced tickets)
Please note new venue: The Pipeline, 94 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EZ.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
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The 500-year-old Voynich Manuscript is renowned as “the world’s most mysterious manuscript” and “the Everest of historical code-breaking”. Over 200 pages of unfathomable text, strange diagrams and numerous drawings of impossible plants and tiny naked women, some find it beguiling; others think it totally mad. 


The harder we seek for explanations for its countless oddities it seems the less we know. Is it insanely brilliant, or brilliantly insane? The only category it truly fits is Charles Fort’s “Damned Data” – phenomena for which science cannot comfortably account. 

A plethora of Voynich theories ranges across a reassuringly Fortean panorama from conspiracies to lost South American civilisations to time-travelling aliens. Might one of them be right? Or are we doomed to spin round in circles, forever unable to make sense of this most intellectually cursed of artefacts? 

Nick Pelling, a Voynich Manuscript researcher for more than a decade and author of The Curse of the Voynich, will guide us through its wobbly history, unknown science and mad theories, and will happily answer any question we have on unsolved historical ciphers.

7.45pm Thursday 25 February 2016
£4 / £2 concessions (Advanced tickets)
Please note new venue: The Pipeline, 94 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EZ
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Rat Scabies: Rennes-le-Château – Incredible New Discoveries

7.45pm Thursday 28 January 2016
This event has now sold out - we look forward to seeing ticket holders on 28 January and we shall be sure to ask Mr Scabies about his future availability.
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
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Rat Scabies was the drummer for punk rock troublemakers the Damned – but through his family’s interest in all things esoteric he has always been a Grailhunter. He’s been fascinated by the mystery of Rennes-le-Château since its inception in 1972. Now chairman of the Saunière Society, Rat has seen and heard it all, and has mixed with the great and the good and some of the downright dishonest...

 Andy HayDuring his own researches he has been shown many things, been told many secrets and been privy to some outlandish theories. Rat has recently made an astounding new find among his father’s old papers: previously undisclosed documents from the late 1800s which appear to relate directly to the mystery of Rennes-le-Château. Never before seen, these documents will delight and intrigue every member of the Rennes-le-Château research fraternity while adding to the puzzle and mystery surrounding the enigma.


Rat invites you to view this new evidence with him, discuss its content and try to shed some light on the numerous challenges these enigmatic new documents present. This illustrated talk is a must for every true-blooded Rennie. You’ve heard this kind of claim before – but this time it’s for real!

7.45pm Thursday 28 January 2016
This event has now sold out - we look forward to seeing ticket holders on 28 January and we shall be sure to ask Mr Scabies about his future availability.
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook page

Lewis Carroll and the Supernatural

7.45pm Thursday 26 November 2015
£4 / £2 concessions Sold out - sorry!
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook page

Lewis Carroll, creator of Alice in Wonderland, was fascinated by the occult, magic and ghosts, and was a very early member of the Society for Psychical Research.

Jenny Woolf, author of the biography The Mystery Of Lewis Carroll, delves into this tangled web of Victorian creepiness, examines some of the weirder things that Carroll wrote, saw and read, considers medical reasons for the experiences he reports and casts light on the endless battle that raged in his own mind between religion, terror, humour, logic and the world of the unreal.

7.45pm Thursday 26 November 2015
£4 / £2 concessions Sold out - sorry!
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook page