Monday, 1 December 2014

The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day

We are repeating this event on Tuesday 19 May in partenrship with Conway Hall. Details and tickets are available from the following link: The Improbability Principle 19 May 2015.

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 26 February 2015
This event has now sold out. Sorry if you did not get a ticket. We will hopefully be booking it again this year. Please watch this space!
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street
Coincidences happen, incredibly unlikely things occur, and the apparently miraculous comes about. The improbability principle says that such extraordinarily improbable events are commonplace. It shows that this is not a contradiction, but that we should expect identical lottery numbers to come up more than once, lightning to strike twice, and financial crashes to occur.

Professor David J. Hand is Senior Research Investigator and Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College, London. His applications interests include psychology, physics, and the retail credit industry - he and his research group won the 2012 Credit Collections and Risk Award for Contributions to the Credit Industry. He was made OBE for services to research and innovation in 2013.

His latest book, The Improbability Principle, appeared in February 2014.
Improbability
Each regular gathering starts with the Fortmanteau by Scott Wood, our with our monthly round-up of fortean news stories from the month.

The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day facebook page.

We are repeating this event on Tuesday 19 May in partenrship with Conway Hall. Details and tickets are available from the following link: The Improbability Principle 19 May 2015.

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 26 February 2015
This event has now sold out. Sorry if you did not get a ticket. We will hopefully be booking it again this year. Please watch this space!
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street

'The Terror of London': Spring-heeled Jack and the Victorian Metropolitan Press

We are repeating this event on Tuesday 30 June in partnership with Conway Hall. Details and tickets are available from the following link:  The Terror of London: Spring-heeled Jack and the Victorian Metropolitan Press

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 29 January 2015
£3 / £2 concessions.
This event has now sold out. Sorry if you did not get a ticket. We will hopefully be booking it again this year. Please watch this space!
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street

One of London's greatest monsters, Spring-heeled Jack has held the city's imagination in his claws since he first appeared as "a ghost, a bear, and a devil" right up to contemporary comics and internet radio dramas 
featuring the leaping horror of legend.

This talk explores Spring-heeled Jack’s appearances in and relationship to Victorian London. It considers his origins in the capital, and the way the metropolitan press gave life to a strange urban legend that went on to terrorise the rest of the country.

Dr Karl Bell is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Portsmouth. He has published on a variety of topics linked to magic and the supernatural in nineteenth-century Britain. He is the author of two books, 'The Magical Imagination: Magic and Modernity in Urban England' 1780-1914' (Cambridge University Press, 2012), and 'The Legend of Spring-heeled Jack: Victorian Urban Folklore and Popular Cultures' (Boydell and Brewer, 2012). The latter won the 2013 Katharine Briggs Award.


Each regular gathering starts with the Fortmanteau, our with our monthly round-up of fortean news stories from the month. 



We are repeating this event on Tuesday 30 June in partnership with Conway Hall. Details and tickets are available from the following link:  The Terror of London: Spring-heeled Jack and the Victorian Metropolitan Press




'The Terror of London': Spring-heeled Jack and the Victorian Metropolitan Press event Facebook page

8pm (doors 7.30pm)

Thursday 29 January 2015
£3 / £2 concessions.
This event has now sold out. Sorry if you did not get a ticket. We will hopefully be booking it again this year. Please watch this space!
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR

Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Dr David Clarke: The Angels of Mons

7.30pm for 8pm  Tuesday 16 December 2014
£3 / £2 concessions
Advanced tickets (10% admin fee)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East

David is also speaking at London Fortean Society on Thursday 25 July 2015 on How UFOs Conquered the World.

Dr David Clarke: The Angels of Mons
2014 marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and the birth of the most enduring legend of that conflict, The Angels of Mons. The ferocity of the battle and fear of early defeat encouraged an atmosphere on the Home Front that was receptive to the supernatural. From this cauldron of hope, faith and fear emerged an inspiring story of warrior angels that appeared to save British troops from the German onslaught in Belgium.

The legend became part of the folk memory of the war and encouraged those who believed the Allies had divine support on the battlefield.  This talk by Sheffield Hallam University journalism lecturer David Clarke launches his new book Britain’s X-traordinary Files, published by Bloomsbury/The National Archives.
The design of this book
makes for a wonky image


Each regular gathering starts with the Fortmanteau, our with our monthly round-up of fortean news stories from the month.

Dr David Clarke: The Angels of Mons facebook page.

7.30pm for 8pm  Tuesday 16 December 2014
£3 / £2 concessions
Advanced tickets (10% admin fee)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Stevyn Colgan: Mr Green and Mr Gray Cannot Visit us Today




8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 27 November 2014
£3 / £2 concessions.
Advanced Tickets (10% booking fee).
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR

Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street


Given the bewildering variety of life on Earth – all stemming from one self-replicating molecule – can we really predict what life on other worlds is like? Maybe not. But we can imagine what it isn’t like
. In this entertaining talk you’ll hear about feuding gangs of scientists, film directors with less imagination than children, and the perils of concrete poo.

Stevyn Colgan, now a QI elf and a writer for Radio 4’s The Museum of Curiosity, has been involved with aliens for three decades. He’s held Jabba the Hutt’s face, helped sculpt creatures for Bruce Willis to shoot at and had a script accepted for Doctor Who in the 1980s.

Stevyn Colgan is one of the writers of the BBC TV series QI and the BBC R4

series The Museum of Curiosity. In a hugely varied half century (and a bit) he’s been, among other things, a police officer, a milkman, an illustrator, a folkie and a chef. He’s written briefing notes for Prime Minister’s Question Time and scripts for Doctor Who and Captain Scarlet, was part of the team that made Dippy the Diplodocus’s new tail and has worked on several Hollywood blockbusters. He’s been kissed by Princess Diana, hugged by Freddie Mercury, set on fire twice and stabbed once but not in the same day. He currently divides his time between writing, illustration and doing talks around the UK and USA.

His new book ‘Why did the policeman cross the road?’ is now available to pre-order via Unbound.co.uk


Each regular gathering starts with the Fortmanteau, our with our monthly round-up of fortean news stories from the month. 

Stevyn Colgan: Mr Green and Mr Gray Cannot Visit us Today facebook page. 

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 27 November 2014
£3 / £2 concessions.
Advanced Tickets (10% booking fee).
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

SOLD OUT! Fortean London Halloween: Ghost, Witches and Demons

This event has now sold out! Many thanks to everyone involved and who booked!
Newham Bookshop will be running a small bookshop on the night. 

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 30 October 2014
£3 / £2 concessions.
Advanced tickets (10% booking fee). 
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR

Lurking on the night before Halloween, our October meeting has gathered a coven of the finest speakers on London ghosts, witches and demons as well as our own Scott Wood. Each talk will be 20-30 minutes.

Roger Clarke: Queen Victoria and the Child Medium
The Tale of Vicky’s Ticker:  Did a publican’s daughter from Shoreditch really channel spirits for Queen Victoria as a child?
Raised in a haunted house, Roger Clarke is best known as a film-writer for the Independent newspaper and Sight & Sound. He is the author of A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof.

Jessie Childs: Beware the Foul Fiend: An Elizabethan Exorcism in Hackney
Award-winning historian Jessie Childs tells the true story of a horrific exorcism performed on a young chambermaid by a group of fugitive priests in a house in Hackney in 1586.
Jessie Childs won the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography with her first book Henry VIII's Last Victim: The Life and Times of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. She has written and reviewed for the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph and Literary Review. Her new book is God’s Traitors: Terror and Faith In Elizabethan England.

Deborah Hyde: The Witch of Eye
Nearly six hundred years ago in Smithfield, London, a commoner was burned alive as punishment for practising the dark arts. But the case of Margery Jourdemayne is interesting for so many more reasons than the obvious ones. We'll look at this fifteenth century upstart to find out what Margery's case said about society, the power of the Church and our own preconceptions of what witches should look like.
Deborah Hyde is editor of The Skeptic magazine and writes about belief in the malign macabre at Jourdemayne.

Scott Wood: Ghosts and Demons of the City
The City of London, Borough and Spitalfields have a dark history of walking corpses, demonic images and ghostly visitations. Scott Wood marks the local ghosts and ghouls on to the map.
Scott is the host and co-organisor of the London Fortean Society, the Fortean Londonist and the author of London Urban Legends: The Corpse on the Tube.

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 30 October 2014
£3 / £2 concessions.
Advanced tickets (10% booking fee).
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR

Friday, 1 August 2014

Cat Vincent: The Slenderman

7.30pm for 8pm  Wednesday 8 October 2014
£3 / £2 concessions

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



Slenderman
The Slenderman: born barely five years ago in an online Photoshop competition, this faceless creature's mythology rapidly spread across the internet, inspiring video series, Alternate Reality Games, stories... and nightmares.

Earlier this year, its influence may have led to the attempted murder of
a child by other children. A creature of pure fiction, drawing blood.

Cat Vincent takes a look at the origins, evolution and implications of this most modern of monsters. Cat is currently a regular columnist at Spiral Nature (a series called ‘The Hype’) contributing editor to The Daily Grail, and have been published in two volumes of their Fortean journal Darklore.

Paolo Viscardi: Interpreting the Unusual

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 25 September
2014
£3 / £2 concessions.

The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR

From aliens and monsters to ghostly paintings, we interpret the unusual in our


Slender-ish Man
world according to what we find familiar in our culture. Explore some examples and explanations of the weird and wonderful that may say more about our society and our brains than about the supernatural.

Paolo is a natural history curator at the fantastic Horniman Museum, responsible for the fossil and bone collections. There may well be bones. His personal blog is Zygoma.


The London Urban Legends Walk

£3 / £2 concessions
Thursday 28 August 2014
7.30pm
Meet at the Spike on the south side of London Bridge.


Join London Fortean Society host and author of London Urban Legends: The Corpse on the Tube Scott Wood for more stories from the City and the East End stopping off at sites of ghosts, lost tube stations, witchcraft, the false history of 'London Bridge is Falling Down', why Jack the Ripper may just be an urban legend and of London’s most bigoted monument. 

Meet 7.30pm on the south-side of London Bridge by the big concrete spike.
Walk ends at the haunted Bell pub, Middlesex Street E1

6 August 2014: Charles Fort's 140th Birthday


The naïve and the pedantic and the bizarre and the grotesque and the sincere and the insincere, the profound and the puerile.
The Book of the Damned

An (even more) informal gathering (than usual) to celebrate the birthday of Charles Fort, the american writer who inspired the idea of being fortean. (Although others coined the term and started all the societies.)

Beginning at 7.30pm on Wednesday 6 August outside 39A Marchmont Street, Fort’s home in London, with a reading and toast (ale and cheese optional).

Followed by a drink in his honour at the 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?
Wild Talents

Friday, 27 June 2014

Dr Jacqueline Simpson: The Folklore of Discworld

8pm (doors 7.30pm) 
Thursday 31 July 2014
£3 / £2 concessions.
Tickets are available.
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR

Take a trip to Discworld with award-winning author Dr Jacqueline Simpson. Jacqueline has written many books on folklore, including The Folklore of Sussex, British Dragons, Scandinavian Folktales, and The Lore of the Land (in collaboration with Jennifer Westwood).

She is also a great admirer of Terry Pratchett’s fantasies, which often involve folklore, so when she met him at a book signing in 1997 they inevitably talked about folklore – magpies, to be precise.

From this came a friendship and, in due course, their joint book on The Folklore of

Discworld (2008, with an updated edition in 2014).

We begin each evening with our monthly round-up of fortean news stories from the month.

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 31 July 2014
£3 / £2 concessions
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Nearest station is Liverpool Street.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Dr Who in An Exciting Adventure With Charles Fort

8pm (Doors 7.30pm)  Wednesday 16 July 2014
£3 / £2 concessions

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


Please note the new (old) venue!
 
Is this your image? It's brilliant. Please email us on forteansociety@live.co.uk so we can buy you a pint or something.
London Dalek
Dr Who has graced our television screens for over fifty years now and the show has seen a myriad of adventures. Everyone knows the Daleks but there are a host of lesser known adversaries and story lines, some of which Charles Fort would surely have approved.
There are a wealth of Fortean themes and mysteries in the history of the worlds longest running science fiction TV show, come along to hear and explore the pick of them.
 



The Gordon Rutter
We all wear collarless shirts now.
Gordon Rutter is a life-long Dr Who fan, author, regular contributor to the Fortean Times, regular speaker at the Fortean Times UnConvention, head of the Charles Fort Institute, runs the Edinburgh Fortean Society and probably still holds the world record for the greatest number of straws shoved into one human being's mouth.

8pm (Doors 7.30pm)  Wednesday 16 July 2014
£3 / £2 concessions

The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.

Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Please note the new (old) venue!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Gary Lachman on Colin Wilson


Colin Wilson bookshelf. With thanks to Schrodingers Bekku


 8pm (doors 7.30pm) Thursday 26 June 2014
£3 / £2 concessions

The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR


Gary Lachman
From his first book The Outsider in 1956 Colin Wilson was one of the most controversial and enduring philosophers of consciousness of modern times. On what would have been Wilson’s 83rd birthday Gary Lachman traces his career, exploring his "new existentialism," his insights into occult phenomena and his outlook for our future evolution; he will also touch on his personal encounters with Wilson and how Wilson’s ideas have informed his own work.

A founding member of the rock group Blondie, Gary Lachman is the author of books on Madame Blavatsky, Hermes Trismegistus and most recently Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and The Wickedest Man in the World.

We begin each evening with our monthly round-up of fortean news stories from the month.

8pm Thursday 26 June 2014
£3 / £2 concessions
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Nearest station is Liverpool Street.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Mark Pilkington: Magic, Deception and the Abuses of Enchantment


8pm (doors 7.30pm) Thursday 29 May 2014
£3 / £2 concessions

The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR


Cyber-Mage
Mark Pilkington looks at two formerly secret documents, published six decades apart, that reveal the methodologies of psychological manipulation and deception practised by American and British intelligence services. “The Art of Deception, Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations”, an internal presentation for the UK’s GCHQ, was leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden earlier this year, while “The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare” was published by USAF’s RAND Corporation in 1950. 

The similarities between the two papers demonstrate that while the world we live in has changed dramatically in the intervening years, the human mind, and the techniques for manipulating it, have remained very much the same; both papers discuss the exploitation of belief systems and fortean phenomena.

Mark Pilkington is the author of Mirage Men (2010, now a feature documentary) and runs Strange Attractor Press
Sightings


We begin each evening with our monthly round-up of fortean news stories from the month. 
8pm Thursday 29 May 2014
£3 / £2 concessions



The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR

Nearest station is Liverpool Street.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Poltergeist Prince of London



8pm (doors 7.30pm) Thursday 24 April 2014
£3 / £2 concessions




New bigger venue: The Vaults Basement Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR

Battersea, 1956: A poltergeist outbreak is fantastical enough, but a poltergeist that learns
to communicate details of an apparent previous life? And a life that begins to sound like that of the Lost Dauphin of Revolutionary France? Studying the poltergeist’s claims researcher Harold Chibbett was forced to wonder: could ‘Donald’ really be the spirit of the Louis-Charles, tragic son of Marie Antoinette?

Shirley Hitchings, the centre of these events and co-author of ‘The Poltergeist Prince of London’ with James Clark, discusses her experiences with Alan Murdie, Chairman of the Ghost Club and regular Fortean Times contributor on ghosts.


8pm Thursday 24 April 2014
£3 / £2 concessions




The Vaults Basement Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Nearest station is Liverpool Street. 


Thursday, 27 February 2014

Electronic Ghost Voices

8pm Thursday 27 March 2014
£3 / £2 concessions

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

Can we hear the voices of the dead via electronic devices? Psychologist Cal Cooper, author of Telephone Calls from the Dead, and Prof Chris French of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths College, London offer very different views of Electronic Voice Phenomena
All are welcome.




Each LFS evening begins with the Fortmanteau: our monthly summary of strange news stories.

More details:

Many people, when asked, will say that at some point in their lives that they have experienced what they believe to be a ghost, or have had a psychic experience. However, will many people openly admit that they have experienced what they believe to be a 'phone call from the dead'? This question has been asked before, and was investigated back in 1979, in a book entitled ''Phone Calls from the Dead'', written by D. Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless. For many years, this subject has remained dormant, until now, thirty years on.  New cases of anomalous telephone communication have been researched, new history has been considered, new findings are presented and alternative theories for how such events take place are discussed.''

Cal Cooper is a psychologist and a doctoral candidate based at the University of Northampton (UK), within the psychology division’s Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes. He is a member of the Society for Psychical Research, the Parapsychological Association, and a Hope Studies Graduate Researcher (Hope Studies Central, University of Alberta). He is the author of Telephone Calls from the Dead and co-author of Conversations with Ghosts (with Dr Alex Tanous).


There are good reasons to believe that EVP is best explained in psychological rather than parapsychological terms. Whatever the truth of the matter, it is most certainly the case that the human tendency to see and hear meaningful stimuli in randomness accounts for the vast majority of cases of EVP. This point will be illustrated with visual and auditory examples of various kinds. And, yes, I will be playing Led Zep backwards again...

Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as well as being a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society. He has published over 100 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims, as well as writing for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine. His most recent books are Why Statues Weep: The Best of The Skeptic and Anomalistic Psychology. Follow him on Twitter: @chriscfrench


8pm Thursday 27 March 2014
£3/£2 concessions
London Fortean Society meets upstairs at the fantastic
Bell pub, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

British Israelism and it's Continuing Influence

Y'see? All makes sense now.
8pm  Thursday 27 February 2014
£3 / £2 concessions

The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.

Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East

Popular in the 19th century, British Israelism claimed that the British people (and by extension the Americans) are the physical descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel, and that biblical prophecies about Israel apply to Britain today.

Author and London Fortean Society co-founder Dr David V Barrett explores how in the 21st century this peculiar belief has a very real and disturbing influence on religion, race, politics, nationalism, conspiracy theory and more.


8pm Thursday 27 February 2014£3/£2 concessions
London Fortean Society meets upstairs at the fantastic
Bell pub, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train & Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East.