Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Nature's Strangest Genitalia

7.45pm Wednesday 31 July 2019
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page

no idea
Join science-writer and BBC zoology correspondent Jules Howard, author of Sex on Earth and Death on Earth, in a whirlwind tour of nature’s finest and most spectacular genitalia. As well as taking in phenomenal phalluses such as those of dolphins, barnacles and bed-bugs, Jules will take us through some fascinating recent revolutions in female genitalia science, culminating in a 3D tour of a duck’s vagina. 

Optional Virtual Reality headsets will be made available for brave attendees.

7.45pm Wednesday 31 July 2019
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Saints, Sleep-Surgery and Medieval Dream Miracles

7.45pm Wednesday 26 June 2019
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page

Thousands of stories of miraculous healing at shrines survive from the middle ages. The most striking tales involve a sick person who was cured in a dream by a saint’s touch. Dreams were considered a space where dead holy figures could interact with the living: saints could manipulate the sleeper’s body, including performing invasive surgery. 

Dr Bill MacLehose, historian of medieval medicine and religion at UCL, explores the different ways in which saints were thought to heal, purify or even punish people through dreams. What made sleep and dreams so important to healing rituals in mediaeval culture? And how important were sacred spaces, such as shrines and other pilgrimage sites, to these dream cures?


7.45pm Wednesday 26 June 2019
£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, 10 April 2019

Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic

What do we see when we watch a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat or read a person’s mind? We are captivated by an illusion; we applaud the fact that we have been fooled. Why do we enjoy experiencing what seems clearly impossible, or at least beyond our powers of explanation? 

7.15pm Monday 10 June 2019
£5 (Advance tickets)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page


In this talk Dr Gustav Kuhn examines the psychological processes that underpin our experience of magic. Kuhn, a psychologist and a magician, reveals the intriguing—and often unsettling—insights into the human mind that the scientific study of magic provides. Gustav will perform magic and then discuss how magician and magic creates a cognitive conflict between what we believe to be true (for example, a rabbit could not be in that hat) and what we experience (a rabbit has just come out of that hat!). 

Drawing on the latest psychological, neurological, and philosophical research, he suggests that misdirection is at the heart of all magic tricks, and he offers a scientific theory of misdirection. It’s not all about rabbits. 

Dr Gustav Kuhn is a Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths, where he the Chair of the Recruitment Outreach and Marketing Committee. He is also president of the Science of Magic Association (SOMA) and a member of the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) and the Magic Circle (M.M.C).


His new book Experiencing the Impossible: The Science of Magic will be available on the night from The Word bookshop. 

7.15pm Monday 10 June 2019
£5 (Advance tickets)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

John Michell’s Enchanted Landscape

7.45pm Wednesday 29 May 2019
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Page

John Michell’s seminal works from the late 1960s allowed a whole generation to find a unique engagement with the English landscape. His books lyrically describe his rediscovery of leys, earth energies and traditional ways of thinking. He saw sites like stone circles and holy wells not only interconnected by a web of straight lines, but infused with an energy emanating from the earth. 

London folklorist Rob Stephenson shows how Michell postulated a delightful piece of ancient technology that, through the study of ancient measure and other arcane subjects, could unlock a code that brings enlightenment.





7.45pm Wednesday 29 May 2019
£4 / £2 Concessions (Advance tickets)
The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX.
Train and Tube: Liverpool Street. 
Tube: Aldgate, Aldgate East
Facebook Pag

Witch Hunts Today: From Matthew Hopkins to Twenty-First Century Persecution

7.15pm Wednesday 22 May 2019
£6
This event has now sold out! Thank you to all who have booked. We shall endeavour to book Kirsty and Syd again! 
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page


Harmful practices due to belief in witchcraft have seen a huge increase in the past six years both globally and in the UK and Kirsty Brimelow QC and author and campaigner Syd Moore have joined forces to expose this phenomenon.

They will contextualise the current climate, Syd will present dark chapters of the grim past of Essex witch hunts that have inspired her writing. They will move on to witchcraft belief in the present and the techniques used to 'discover' witches in use today. Kirsty will talk about the contemporary landscape of witchcraft belief and abuse, the legal perspective on this and some of the cases she has been involved with. Raising awareness about these issues is something that both Kirsty and Syd are committed to.

Syd Moore is a bestselling novelist, former television presenter and activist. Her novels are based on historic witch hunts (Drowning Pool, 2011 and Witch Hunt, 2012, Harper Collins; Strange Trilogy, 2017-2018, Oneworld).

Kirsty Brimelow QC specialises in international human rights, criminal law, public international, constitutional and international criminal law. She is instructed in the most serious, complex and prominent cases nationally and internationally.

7.15pm Wednesday 22 May 2019
£6 (Advance tickets)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page

Monday, 1 April 2019

Mermaids: Fish, Flesh or Fowl?

7.45pm Tuesday 14 May 2019
8pm (doors 7.45pm)
£5 / £2 concessions  
We have taken advance tickets off sale for we do still have tickets on the door. Come along!
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  
We have taken advance tickets off sale for we do still have tickets on the door. Come along!
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