Saturday, 29 February 2020

The Shakespeare Authorship Question

......a question without an author?

7.45pm (8pm start) Wednesday 29 April 2020
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street.
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page

We are afraid we have to cancel this talk. We hope reschedule it in more healthy and safe times so we can hear Professor Leahy speak. 

We are really sorry everyone, we shall arrange refunds.




Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest writer who has ever existed. His works are famed throughout the world and are on the syllabuses of schools, colleges and universities. But many believe he did not in fact write the plays and that claims about his authorship are founded in a mixture of myth and willful misinformation. Our cultures seem to be fixated upon the idea of the single author/genius and so, in Shakespeare's case, we fall into a trap of finding the answer we desperately seek despite an almost total lack of evidence. This is also true of the alternative authors posited as the writer of Shakespeare’s works.

Prof William Leahy, vice-provost of Brunel University, explores how we have fallen into this trap, led by an academic community that continues to tell the same old story while knowing that much of it is untrue. He considers the character of the Shakespeare Authorship Question and posits that Shakespeare the author is a myth – as indeed is the belief that any single author wrote the works.

7.45pm (8pm start) Wednesday 29 April 2020
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street.
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page


Friday, 28 February 2020

Shapeshifters: A History

7.15pm Wednesday 15 April 2020
Cancelled
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions

John B. Kachuba, our shape-shifters speaker,  has had his flight to the UK and two conferences cancelled due to the risk of COVID-19. We are afraid we have to cancel his talk. We hope he will come to the UK in more healthy and safe times so we can hear him speak. 

We are really sorry everyone, we shall arrange refunds.


There is something about a shapeshifter – a person who can transform into an animal – that captures our imagination; that causes us to want to howl at the moon, or flit through the night like a bat. Werewolves, vampires, demons and other weird creatures appeal to our animal nature, our dark side, our desire to break free of the bonds of society and proper behaviour. Rituals in early cultures worldwide seemingly allowed shamans, sorcerers, witches and wizards to transform at will into animals and back again.

Today there are millions of people who believe that shapeshifters walk among us and may even be world leaders. Real or imaginary, shapeshifters lurk deep in our psyches and remain formidable cultural icons. The myths and magic surrounding shapeshifters are brought vividly to life in John B. Kachuba’s compelling and original cultural history. Featuring a fantastic and ghoulish array of examples from history, literature, film, tv and computer games, Shapeshifters explores our secret desire to become something other than human.


Shapeshifters: A History will be available to buy on the night.

John B. Kachuba is an award-winning author and Creative Writing instructor at Ohio University. He has investigated over one hundred haunted locations around the world and his books include Ghosthunters (2007) and Dark Entry (2018).

7.15pm Wednesday 15 April 2020
£6 (Advance tickets)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn

Directions

The Real Vampires

Tuesday 14 April 2020
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions (Advanced tickets)
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube & Rail: London Bridge
Tube: Borough
Event Facebook page

We are afraid we have to cancel this talk. We hope reschedule it in more healthy and safe times so we can hear Richard speak. 

We are really sorry everyone, we shall arrange refunds.


The real vampires were not suave, polished, cultivated or rich. They looked like ordinary dead peasants. Yet for those who believed in them, they were terrifying. So terrifying that they prompted live burials, nervous breakdown, hysterical paralysis and speechlessness. During a real vampire panic, an overworked, underfed community was so terrified that it found the energy to dig up eleven graves, and the wood to burn eleven corpses.

Richard Sugg discusses real vampires were so terrifying that the energy of fear they produced actually caused poltergeist attacks. In several cases, they were so terrifying that they quite literally scared people to death.

From Russia to New England, from the Scottish borders to Crete, and from the Bronze Age to the days of Twilight, Richard's book The Real Vampires takes the reader on an unforgettable tour of wonder, horror and strangeness. It will be available on the night.

Richard specialises in marginal, forgotten or tabooed histories, as showcased in his previous writing on a variety of supernatural and unusual themes.

Tuesday 14 April 2020
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions (Advanced tickets)
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube & Rail: London Bridge
Tube: Borough
Event Facebook page

A New Demonology: John Keel and the Mothman Prophecies

7.45pm (8pm start) Wednesday 25 March 2020
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street.
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page

We are afraid we have to cancel this talk. We hope reschedule it in more healthy and safe times so we can hear David speak. 

We are really sorry everyone, we shall arrange refunds.


From the 1960s the “ultraterrestrial hypothesis” became a popular alternative to the ETH for UFOs and other fortean anomalies as a result of the writings of the American journalist John Keel (1930-2009). Keel’s theories are best known today via his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies that chronicled an outbreak of weirdness in the Ohio Valley, USA, that included visits by a winged humanoid (the Mothman), Men-in-Black, UFOs and animal mutilations. His book had a Hollywood makeover in 2002 and the legend is now marked by an annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Dr David Clarke’s talk is based on an extended interview with Keel during his visit to the UK in 1992 and the contents of his forthcoming chapter “The Mothman of West Virginia: a case study in legendary storytelling” in The Contemporary Legend Casebook 2: North American Monsters (Utah University Press 2020)

7.45pm (8pm start) Wednesday 25 March 2020
£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, 8 February 2020

Margaret Murray and modern Witchcraft

Tuesday 3 March 2020
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions (Advanced tickets)
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube & Rail: London Bridge
Tube: Borough
Event Facebook page




For the last 20 years or more, modern Witches have been involved in a project of historical revisionism. They’ve rejected the claims made by Margaret Murray, and borrowed by Gerald Gardner, that modern Witchcraft is a direct continuation from an archaic pan-European fertility cult. Instead, they follow the arguments of historians that Murray’s work was heavily flawed; for some her work provides a valuable foundation myth, while others prefer to reject it altogether in search of more realist histories.

However, Murray’s arguments are also intricately woven into histories and practices of modern Witchcraft, and continue to be interpreted as histories of Witchcraft are rewritten and shaped over time.

Anthropologist Dr Helen Cornish of Goldsmiths College shows how responses to Murray’s work since the turn of the millennium help us consider what counts as history (good, bad, speculative or otherwise) as well contemporary Witchcraft.

Tuesday 3 March 2020
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions (Advanced tickets)
The Miller, 96 Snowsfields, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS
Tube & Rail: London Bridge
Tube: Borough
Event Facebook page

Saturday, 1 February 2020

A New Magic at the Old Mill

7.45pm (8pm start) Wednesday 26 February 2020
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street.
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page



To coincide with the launch of his new book Wicca on the Isle of Man: Gerald Gardner and the Crucible of Modern Witchcraft, Dr John Callow is looking at the creation and growth of the Museum of Magic & Witchcraft on the Isle of Man, and the impact of Gerald Gardner within the context of the collection and his curatorship of magical artefacts.

He will explore the dramatic synthesis that Gardner achieved, during the last 13 years of his life, that stripped away the demonic elements of witchcraft and emphasised, in their stead, fresh sources of mystery drawn from nature and tribal religions.

7.45pm (8pm start) Wednesday 26 February 2020
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street.
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page


Wednesday, 1 January 2020

A Skeptic’s Guide to Aliens

7.45pm Wednesday 29 January 2020
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street.
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page




Are aliens really visiting our planet on a regular basis? Are people really being abducted by aliens and subjected to bizarre medical investigations? Even worse, are the aliens engaged upon a sinister cross-breeding project to produce human-alien hybrids?

Chris French, Professor of Anomalistic Psychology at Goldsmiths College, will explore psychological aspects of various types of alien contact claims, ranging from simple sightings of unidentified flying objects to alien abduction experiences. Along the way, he’ll review the history of UFOs within society and discuss the risks inherent in the “memory recovery” techniques employed by some ufologists. 

Chris will argue that all claims of alien contact can be plausibly accounted for in terms of known psychological phenomena such as sleep paralysis and false memories.

7.45pm Wednesday 29 January 2020
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street.
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page