Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Mermaids: Fish, Flesh or Fowl?

7.45pm Tuesday 14 May 2019
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions  (Advance tickets
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube and Rail: London Bridge
Facebook page


We all know what a mermaid looks like: a woman with a fish’s tail. But tracing her family tree from ancient myth and image, through medieval symbol and Renaissance legend, romantic folktale and suggestive art, we find a shape-shifter whose cousins are birds, monkeys, seals and serpents, as well as fish; whose greatest significance may be simply her gender, showing in her mirror a reflection of how men, through history, have seen women.

Sophia Kingshill is the author of Mermaids (Little Toller, 2015), a cultural history of sirens, selkies and other sea women. She is co-author of The Fabled Coast (Random House, 2012) and The Lore of Scotland (Random House, 2009), with the late Jennifer Westwood. Her YA fantasy novel Between the Raven and the Dove was published by Accent Press in 2017, and she is currently working on the sequel. She lives in London and is a member of the Folklore Society.

7.45pm Tuesday 14 May 2019
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions  (Advance tickets
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube and Rail: London Bridge
Facebook page

Her Eyes Were Wild: Fairies and Madness

7.45pm Thursday 25 April 2019
This event has completely sold out. We shall attempt to book a new date. 
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page


Many today wish to see a fairy; many in the Middle Ages wished that they had not. To encounter a spirit was to be drawn out of the warm world of human solidarity into solitude, wasting, grief and madness. Fairies brought mental illness in their train, and even the healing power of saints found it hard to stitch up a broken mind. 

The fairy mythology provided ready-made narratives for understanding and containing mental disturbance, stories continuing in Irish and Scandinavian culture. Fairies – with their caprice, their deceptions, their insubstantial grandeur – were like the shadows cast by a disordered mind. 

Folklorist Jeremy Harte reveals how mental illness was often ascribed to fairies – and how a troubled person, led astray by fairies, could imagine their way back to human society 

7.45pm Thursday 25 April 2019
This event has completely sold out. We shall attempt to book a new date. 
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page

Magic, the Paranormal and the Complicity of the Mind

7.45pm Tuesday 2 April 2019
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions  (Advance tickets
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube and Rail: London Bridge
Facebook page



Professional magician-turned experimental psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins investigates the arts of deception as practiced and popularized by mesmerists, magicians, and psychics throughout history. 

Matt, the author of The Spectacle of Illusion: Magic, the paranormal and the complicity of the mind, will discuss how illusions perpetuated by magicians and fraudulent mystics can not only deceive our senses but also teach us about the inner workings of our minds. And how modern scientists are increasingly turning to magic as tool for exploring human perception, memory, and belief. 

Join Matt as he mixes historical stories with magical scientific demonstrations to reveal how our everyday cognitive processes can be much weirder than we imagine - and how complicit our own minds can be in the success of illusions. This talk will feature true stories of ghost rapping, mind reading, lethal autopsies, full-body-cavity ghost hunts, death defying stunts, and death…obeying stunts (i.e., stunts where the performers accidentally died for real, so literally the opposite of 'death defying’). 

7.45pm Tuesday 2 April 2019
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions  (Advance tickets
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube and Rail: London Bridge
Facebook page

Monday, 18 February 2019

Super-Recognisers: Spotting Faces in a Crowd

7.45pm Thursday 28 March 2019
£4 / £2 concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East


Crowd Of Faces by Dawn Hudson (Public Domain)
The use of police super-recognisers in London has vastly increased suspect identification rates from CCTV in recent years. They perform exceptionally highly at familiar and unfamiliar face recognition, simultaneous face matching and spotting target faces in videos of large crowds. Non-police super-recognisers are also superior to most people at long-term face recognition, even when faces are heavily disguised. 

Psychologist Dr Josh P Davis of the University of Greenwich explores his research on these very rare individuals and his work with the police and courts

7.45pm Thursday 28 March 2019
£4 / £2 (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Diagnosis: Unexplained

Tuesday 19 March 2019
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions  Tickets on the door.
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube & Rail: London Bridge
Facebook page

Early medical journals contain numerous cases which appear inexplicable to modern science. One Victorian patient apparently had an entire family of slugs living in her stomach; another started to emit urine from her eyes, ears and even her navel. 

Thomas Morris examines some of the strangest tales ever reported in the medical literature, from exploding teeth to the world's first amphibious baby. 

Thomas is a writer based in London.  He as  worked as a radio producer for the BBC for 17 years, making programmes including Front Row, The Film Programme, Open Book and
Night Waves – and spent five years at Radio 4 as producer of Melvyn Bragg’s In Our Time.  In early 2015 he left the BBC to write full-time.  His journalism has appeared in publications including The Lancet, The Times, the Financial Times and The Cricketer.

Tuesday 19 March 2019
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions  Tickets on the door 
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube & Rail: London Bridge
Facebook page

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Interview with a Vampire Expert

7.45pm Thursday 28 February 2019
£4 / £2 concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East



The Vampire has fascinated Western Europe from the early 1700s, but the tradition was a real part of Eastern European lives for a considerable time before that. The archetype has been taken up by art of all kinds, but what is the authentic history behind the tales of the predatory, living dead?

Deborah Hyde, editor of The Skeptic, looks at recent attempts to understand the folklore and tries to work out how an eastern European ritual made its way to late 19th-century New England.

7.45pm Thursday 28 February 2019
£4 / £2 concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Mermaids: Fish, Flesh or Fowl?

7.15pm Thursday 7 February 2019
This event is completely sold out. We hope we can host it again soon!
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page



We all know what a mermaid looks like: a woman with a fish’s tail. But tracing her family tree from ancient myth and image, through medieval symbol and Renaissance legend, romantic folktale and suggestive art, we find a shape-shifter whose cousins are birds, monkeys, seals and serpents, as well as fish; whose greatest significance may be simply her gender, showing in her mirror a reflection of how men, through history, have seen women.

Sophia Kingshill is the author of Mermaids (Little Toller, 2015), a cultural history of sirens, selkies and other sea women. She is co-author of The Fabled Coast (Random House, 2012) and The Lore of Scotland (Random House, 2009), with the late Jennifer Westwood. Her YA fantasy novel Between the Raven and the Dove was published by Accent Press in 2017, and she is currently working on the sequel. She lives in London and is a member of the Folklore Society.

7.15pm Thursday 7 February 2019
This event is completely sold out. We hope we can host it again soon!
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page