Thursday, 14 May 2015

Science in Wonderland – The Scientific Fairy Tales of Victorian Britain

London Fortean Society in association with Conway Hall presents

Science in Wonderland – The Scientific Fairy Tales of Victorian Britain
Melanie Keene
£5 (Tickets)
Monday 13 July 2015
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions.
Facebook event page

 GNOMES!
In Victorian Britain an array of writers captured the excitement of new scientific discoveries, and enticed young readers and listeners into learning their secrets by converting explanations into quirky, charming, and imaginative fairy-tales; natural forces could be fairies, dinosaurs could be dragons, and looking closely at a drop of water revealed a soup of monsters.

In exploring the ways in which authors and translators – from Hans Christian Andersen to the pseudonymous ‘A.L.O.E.’ and ‘Acheta Domestica’ – reconciled the differing demands of factual accuracy and fantastical narratives, Melanie Keene asks why the fairies and their tales were chosen as an appropriate new form for capturing and presenting scientific and technological knowledge to young audiences. Such stories, she argues, were an important way in which authors and audiences criticised, communicated, and celebrated contemporary scientific ideas, practices, and objects.Science in Wonderland explores how these stories were presented and read.

Melanie Keene is a historian of science for children, based at Homerton College, Cambridge. She has
Science in Wonderland
published several academic and popular articles on scientific books and objects from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, on topics from candles, pebbles, or cups of tea, to board games, toy sets, and model dinosaurs.

Science in Wonderland – The Scientific Fairy Tales of Victorian Britain
Melanie Keene
£5 (Tickets)
Monday 13 July 2015
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions.
Facebook event page

Thursday, 7 May 2015

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

London Fortean Society in association with Conway Hall presents

The Terror of London: Spring-heeled Jack and the Victorian Metropolitan Press
Karl Bell
£5 (Tickets)
Tuesday 30 June 2015
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions.
Facebook event page.


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.


The Terror of London: Spring-heeled Jack and the Victorian Metropolitan Press
Karl Bell
£5 (Tickets)
Tuesday 30 June 2015
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions.

Dr David Clarke: How UFOs Conquered The World

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 25 June 2015
£4 / £2 concessions (please note new price!)
Advanced tickets available (10% admin fee)
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street
Facebook event page

The UFO was born in America during the summer of 1947. A lone pilot saw nine mysterious objects that flew ‘like a saucer would if you skipped it across water’ and the media did the rest. Today, almost half the population of the Western world believe we are not alone. Millions of people claim to have seen a UFO. An alarming number reported being ‘abducted’ by aliens. And some are convinced there is a conspiracy by governments to hide ‘the truth’.


As a child during the 1970s, Fortean Times writer David Clarke wanted to believe. He joined a UFO society, went ‘skywatching’, and later, as a journalist, spent decades investigating sighting reports, unearthing Top Secret government files, and interviewing those who claim they have seen interplanetary craft and had met their occupants. He never found a crashed flying saucer, or received a visit from the sinister Men In Black. Instead he discovered something no less astonishing.

How UFOS Conquered The World describes David’s strange journey to the heart of the UFO phenomenon. He has close encounters with abductees, hoaxers and conspiracy theorists. He meets people who think aliens are angels (or demons). And he tracks down the boffins who ran the British government’s now defunct ‘UFO desk’ to find out what their investigations really uncovered. Along the way he reveals how the human will to believe turned the stuff of science fiction into the most enduring myth of modern times.

£4 / £2 concessions (please note new price!)
Advanced tickets available (10% admin fee)
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street
Facebook event page

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Weird and Wonderful World of Animal Sex

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 28 May 2015
£3 / £2 concessions.
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street
Facebook event page

What’s the easiest way to tell species apart? Check their genitals. Researching private parts was long considered taboo, but scientists are now beginning to understand that the wild diversity of sex organs across species can tell us a lot about evolution. 

Menno Schilthuize invites the audience to join him as he uncovers the ways the shapes and functions of genitalia have been molded by complex Darwinian struggles: penises that have lost their spines but evolved appendages to displace sperm; female orgasms that select or reject semen from males, in turn subtly modifying the females’ genital shape. 

We learn why spiders masturbate into miniature webs, discover she-dungflies that store

sperm from attractive males in their bellies, and see how, when it comes to outlandish appendages and bizarre behaviors, humans are downright boring. 

Menno is the author of the book Nature's Nether Regions (Penguin) is senior scientist
at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, the Netherlands.

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 28 May 2015
£3 / £2 concessions.
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

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

London Fortean Society in association with Conway Hall presents

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

David J Hand
This event has now sold out. 

Tuesday 19 May 2015
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions

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



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. 

This event has now sold out. 
Tuesday 19 May 2015
7.30pm
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn / Directions

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Derbyshire Mummified Fairy

The Derbyshire Mummified Fairy
8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 30 April 2015
£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
Facebook event page

Up there with The Fiji Mermaid, the Area 51 Alien Autopsy film and The Cottingley Fairies, the Derbyshire Mummified Fairy is considered to be one of the greatest hoaxes of modern times. Still 'going viral' and stirring people's imaginations globally, the hoax creator Dan Baines gives a full account of what he did, why he did it and the strange repercussions that followed. 


Those expecting a talk on the non-existence of fairies and how he fooled millions of believers think again. Dan's cautionary tale presents a modern account on what can happen when one unexpectedly opens a door to a long forgotten world and the secrets it can uncover.

Each events begins with our fortmanteau of topical fortean stories.
CSI Neverland: Clap, children, clap! 


The Derbyshire Mummified Fairy
8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 30 April 2015
£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
Facebook event page

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Fortean London: The Sacred and Profane

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 26 March 2015
£3 / £2 concessions.
Sold out! Please contact us for door tickets. 
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street


Join us for a night of shrines and magic in London with three expert City explorers and magical practitioners.

Caroline Wise: The Lost Goddess of London
In the City there was once a great goddess. She resurfaces at various times. Who is she? Why is she here? Where can we find her and what Fortean phenomena has she generated?

Peter Watts: London's Secret Shrine
Exploring London's secret shrines, from spoons to skateboards and how the city commemorates the dead. Peter Watts is a writer and London nerd who has written about architecture, beer, buses, drugs, music, tunnels, boats, zoos and pretty much everything else in between.

John Constable: Goose and Crow at Crossbones Graveyard
John Constable aka John Crow is the author of The Southwark Mysteries, a magical work
http://www.crossbones.org.uk/
received in a vision of Cross Bones, south London's outcasts' burial ground. In this talk, he explores the site's extraordinary past, present and future.

Each events begins with our fortmanteau of topical fortean stories.

8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Thursday 26 March 2015
£3 / £2 concessions.
Sold out! Please contact us for door tickets. 
The Vaults Bar, Dirty Dicks, 202 Bishopsgate, City of London EC2M 4NR
Bus / train / tube: Liverpool Street