Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Spirits of Crossbones Graveyard

7.45pm Thursday 26 January 2017
This event is now sold out. Sorry if you did not get a ticket, we hope to run it another time.

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

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Cross Bones Garden of Remembrance by Garry Knight (Creative Commons)

Every month, an iconoclastic group of Londoners gather at a site in Southwark known as Crossbones Graveyard to commemorate the souls of mediaeval prostitutes believed to be buried there – the “Winchester Geese”.

This is a pilgrimage site for self-identified misfits, nonconformists and contemporary sex workers who leave memorials to the outcast dead. The ritual interpretation of the history of the site has struck a chord with many who feel alienated in present-day London.

Oxford anthropologist Professor Sondra L Hausner looks at the historical practices of sex work, the relation of the Church to these professions, and their representation in the present, arguing that ritual is a way of creating the contemporary world by mobilising stories of the past.

7.45pm Thursday 26 January 2017
This event is now sold out. Sorry if you did not get a ticket, we hope to run it another time.

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

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Monday, 7 November 2016

British Witchcraft Documentaries of the 1970’s

Witch!
£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Monday 23 January 2017
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page

Gary Parsons will be discussing the documentaries made at the height of the British witchcraft revival in the early 70’s looking at how these films came into being within a cultural context and the reason for their sudden decline. The talk will be illustrated with clips from the films discussed.

Gary Parsons is a MA Graduate in film from Goldsmiths College London and an independent filmmaker.

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Monday 23 January 2017
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Religion and Ritual by the River: Archaeology in the Inter-Tidal Zone

7.45pm Thursday24 November 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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Nathalie Cohen works for the Thames Discovery Programme at MOLA, Museum of London Archaeology. Tonight she explores aspects of interaction with the River Thames over time, from prehistory through to the present day, by examining evidence recovered during archaeological investigations on the foreshore by the Thames Discovery Programme and others.

7.45pm Thursday24 November 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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Saturday, 5 November 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
Facebook event page
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.

Whatever Happened to the Headless Ghost?
Once the headless or Acephalous Ghost was a staple of stately home haunts, and now is never seen. Where might the idea have originated in British folklore? And why do we no longer need to see them?

Roger Clarke grew up in a haunted house and was educated at Oxford University before becoming a film journalist for The Independent. His book 'A Natural History of Ghosts' was published to wide acclaim in 2012 and has this year been translated into Spanish and Japanese, as well as being published in three formats in the USA.

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, 4 October 2016

The Peckham Ghost Trail

This is not actually the Peckham Ghost
Sunday 30 October
2.30-5pm
This event has sold out. We are very sorry and we hope to re-host it at a later date.
Meet at Honor Oak Station, 82 Honor Oak Park, Honor Oak Park SE23 1EB

Follow in the footsteps of the Peckham Ghost, a mysterious masked figure intent on terrifying Victorian south London in strange and unusual ways.

On the way from Honor Oak hear of the ghosts and legends of Peckham, One Tree Hill, Nunhead Green reservoirs and the undead bank clerk of Nunhead Cemetery.

Meet your guide at Honor Oak Station at 2.30pm, this Halloween walk ends at Nunhead Green at approximately 5pm.

Your guide is London Fortean Society host Scott Wood. Scott is the host of the London Fortean Society, a regular writer for Londonist and the author of London Urban Legends: The Corpse of the Tube.

This walk is just over 2 hours long with regular breaks, some steep climbs and some stony ground.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Ghosts and Monsters of Smithfield Walk

The (sort of cute) Black Dog of Newgate
Saturday 29 October 2016
6.30pm - 8pm(-ish)
This event has sold out. We are very sorry and we hope to re-host it at a later date.

Meet at Farringdon Station, Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6BY


Clerkenwell and Smithfield EC1 are steeped in history, soaked in blood and crawling with ghosts. Meet at Farringdon station for a walk that includes a gut-wrenching phantom black dog, haunted plague pits, hungry ghosts, poltergeists, haunted pubs, subterranean folklore and the devilish secret of Bleeding Heart Yard.

This Halloween walk is almost circular and covers legends and monsters of Smithfield Market, Cock Lane, Newgate Prison, St Bartholomew’s church and hospital and much more.
This almost circular guided walk will take around 1 1⁄2 hours and ends near a number of pubs for those wishing to continue the discussion.

Your guide is London Fortean Society host Scott Wood. Scott is the irregular writer of Fortean London for Londonist and the author of the forthcoming London Urban Legends: The Corpse of the Tube.

Haunted Holborn and Bloomsbury Walk


Saturday 29 October 2016
2pm - 4.30pm(-ish)
This event has sold out. We are very sorry and we hope to re-host it at a later date.
Meet at Temple Tube Station, Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PH

Join the London Fortean Society on a trek through the haunted secret passageways and spaces of Temple, Holborn and Bloomsbury. Go where the stories of damned souls, gentleman ghosts, martyrs, medical experiments and awfully modern apparitions still dwell.

This two-and-a-half-hour ghost walk you will hear of haunted pubs and tube stations, Oliver Cromwell’s undead walk, the ghosts of Senate House, an angry table, a malevolent Egyptian mummy, a doppelganger in Lincolns Inn, the curse of the forty steps in Bloomsbury and much more.

Your guide is London Fortean Society host Scott Wood. Scott is the host of the London Fortean Society, a regular writer for Londonist and the author of 'London Urban Legends: The Corpse of the Tube'.

Saturday 29 October 2016
2pm - 4.30pm(-ish)
This event has sold out. We are very sorry and we hope to re-host it at a later date.
Meet at Temple Tube Station, Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PH

The Unbelievers Ghost Walk

Friday 28 October 2016
6.30pm - 8pm(-ish)
£5 (Advance tickets)
Meet at Farringdon Station, Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6BY 

'tis the season to be spooky fa-la-la-la-laaARGH!


Why should people who believe in ghosts have all the fun? Come walk the atmospheric and ancient streets of Smithfield and Farringdon hearing of the stories of screaming Anne, ghosts of inconveniently alive judges, carpet lifting pub ghosts, the horrible secret of Bleeding Heart Yard and the ghost of Scratching Fanny on Cock Lane (to name but a few).

This circular-ish walk will be funny, irreverent, and informative and will wonder what ghosts are what ghost stories say about who we are and how we think about the world.

No ghosts were harmed in the making of this walk; This is a walk for anyone interested in ghost stories and London be they sceptical or otherwise. All are welcome.

Your guide is London Fortean Society host Scott Wood. Scott is the irregular writer for Londonist and the author of London Urban Legends: The Corpse of the Tube.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Hayley Stevens - A Sceptics Guide to Ghost Hunting

7.45pm Thursday 27 October 2016
This event has sold out. We are very sorry and we hope to re-host it at a later date.

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
This event has sold out. We are very sorry and we hope to re-host it at a later date.

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

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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
Facebook event page

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....

Monday, 6 June 2016

The Cock Lane Ghost: A London Ghost Story

7.45pm Thursday 30 June 2016
£4 / £2 concessions
Please pay on the door
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook page


In 1762 the ghost of a murder victim appeared to be haunting a little girl in Smithfield; Scratching Fanny of Cock Lane attracted mobs of curious onlookers outside the house, a visit from the heir to the throne, an investigation by Dr Johnson and finally a lawsuit.

The Cock Lane ghost was the world’s first example of a media circus, and it arose from a spirit of anarchy and disruptiveness quite specific to this ancient area of London. Was the Cock Lane Ghost simply a pub joke that went wrong? Some new research may shed light on this famous ghost story.

Roger Clarke's book A Natural History of Ghosts has most recently been published in Spain. Japanese publication is this July, and the mass-market paperback in the USA over Halloween after a rave review in The New York Times.

7.45pm Thursday 30 June 2016
£4 / £2 concessions
Please pay on the door
The Pipeline, 94 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EZ.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook page

Friday, 20 May 2016

Constructing Magical Prague: Ghettos, The Golem and the Alchemical Emperor

7.45pm Thursday 23 June 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

Historian Dr John Callow FRSA tells of alchemy in Middle Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries,and of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, a great patron of the arts and promoter of the occults arts and learning – the forerunner of modern science.

7.45pm Thursday 23 June 2016
£4 / £2 concessions (
Advance tickets)
he Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East

Facebook page

Sunday, 1 May 2016

London Stone: Mystery and Myth

Sold out (sorry)
Monday 13 June 2016
7.30pm
Change of Venue: 
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook event page

What is the London Stone, the dusty piece of stone in a derelict office block on Cannon Street? The remains of a Stone Circle? A druid alter stone? A Roman mile-stone?Part of a Ley Line? The Palladium of Troy?  

John Clark, for many years curator of the medieval collections at the Museum of London and now ‘Curator Emeritus’, has long been interested in the interplay between history, archaeology and legend in the story of London, from the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth to the burial of Boadicea under King’s Cross station. 

In this talk he investigates the ‘real’ story of London Stone, in Cannon Street, and the way in which myths have developed around it .


Doors 7pm. A small cash bar will be available for alcoholic drinks on the night.
Sold out (sorry)
Monday 13 June 2016
7.30pm
Change of Venue: 
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook event page

Snake Oil! The Golden Age of Quackery in Britain and America

7.45pm Thursday 26 May 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


The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw a proliferation of advertised medicines and health devices - some harmless, some strange and some downright fraudulent. 

Caroline Rance of the popular history of medicine website, The Quack Doctor, explores how patent medicine vendors attracted and retained customers, and how the medical establishment attempted to put a stop to their lucrative activities.

7.45pm Thursday 26 May 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

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

John Dee’s Life With The Angels

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Wednesday 11 May 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions.
Facebook event page

John Dee’s central lie about his life is still uncritically accepted: that under Queen Mary, like other Protestants, he had been persecuted. This talk will outline the true story, which shows how Dee’s angelic magic affected not only his own life but those of the most prominent Elizabethans who shared much of his ‘occult philosophy’.

Professor Glyn Parry is the author of The Arch-Conjuror of England: John Dee (Yale University Press, 2011)

£5 plus booking fee (Advance tickets)
Wednesday 11 May 2016
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions.
Facebook event page

OVERPOWERED! The Science and Showbiz of Hynopsis

7.45pm Thursday 28 April 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

 
Hypnotism has fascinated people since the mid-1800s, when entertainers and medical professionals enthusiastically took up this Far Eastern practice. It inspires many questions, mostly of a personal nature such as: “Can I be hypnotised?” and “Will I lose control?”

Christopher Green tackles the (relatively) reputable aspects of the subject - brain imaging, clinical trials and hypnotherapy - alongside the smoke and mirrors of stage hypnosis. He has uncovered intriguing stories about the larger-than-life characters that inhabit the world of hypnosis. From Professors of Mesmerism to Princes of Necromancy, this book explores the different guises of hypnotism as portrayed by pseudo-scientists and showmen alike.

Christopher, who is trained in both hypnotherapy and stage hypnosis, examines the connections between stage hypnosis and hypnotherapy or, in other words, the point at which showbiz meets self-help and sleight-of-hand meets scholarly research.

His book is a "practical, personal, informative and entertaining, and fully illustrated with colourful source material from the archives of the British Library."

7.45pm Thursday 28 April 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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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. 
Facebook event page

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
Facebook event page

We are all lying in the gutter but some of us are gazing at the sewers.  


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
Facebook event page

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
Change of Venue: 
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
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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
Change of Venue: 
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook event page

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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This event has sold out, please come and see us at The Pipeline for returns. 

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
Facebook page