Saturday, 26 November 2022

John Schorn: the Rector Who Conjured the Devil Into A Boot


This is the story of one of England’s “folk saints” to whom many miracles were attributed. In the 14th century his shrine became the third most popular after Canterbury and Walsingham yet, mysteriously, he remained uncanonised.

Master”, “Maister” or “Sir” John Schorn(e), Rector of North Marston, Bucks, was reputed to have miraculous powers of healing sickness. He is said to have struck the ground with his staff and a spring gushed forth; the water was excellent for curing the “ague” (malaria) and gout. Medieval drawings and wall paintings show him carrying a boot containing a small devil which he made appear and disappear as symbol of his power – supposedly the origin of Jack-in-the-Box.

Following his death, the little church of North Marston became a place of pilgrimage. A number of wayside Inns held the name The Boot as pilgrims made their way to and from North Marston on their way to Canterbury.

Archaeologist Wayne Perkins delves deep into the psychogeography of the pilgrims’ mythic landscape to learn the truth behind the John Schorn legend.

Venue: The Bell,  50 Middlesex Street E1 7EX (Tubes: Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Aldgate East)

Date: 28th February 2023

Time: 7.30 for 8pm

Tickets: £5/£3, https://www.wegottickets.com/event/564586/

I've Got a Dybbuk Box and I'm Gonna Use it!


 

A cursory search on eBay will turn up any number of Dybbuk Boxes, allegedly cursed items that it is unwise to open lest you release the entity within. Are these real? Where do they come from? And what is a Dybbuk anyway? A tortured tale of demons, holocaust survivors, TV stars, unlucky rappers and online bargains.  

Fortean Times news editor Ian Simmons explores the bizarre origin and legends behind these strangely popular haunted items.

Venue: The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street E1 7EX (Tubes: Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Aldgate East)

Date: 31st January 2023

Time: 7.30 for 8pm

Tickets: £5/£3, https://www.wegottickets.com/event/564582/

 

Sunday, 16 October 2022

Visions of the Occult: An Untold Story of Art & Magic

The first major survey of the occult collection of artworks, letters, objects and ephemera in the Tate Archive.

7.15pm Thursday 1 December 2022 

£8 / £5  concessions (Advance tickets)

£5 Live Stream (Tickets)

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Tube: Holborn

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Archivist Victoria Jenkins presents her major survey of the occult collection of artworks, letters, objects and ephemera in the Tate Archive. This talk offers in-depth exploration of the occult and its relationship to art and culture including witchcraft, alchemy, secret societies, folklore and pagan rituals, demonology, spells and magic, para-sciences, astrology and tarot.

She reveals some of the 150+ unseen esoteric and mystical pieces, never-before-seen by the public and brings a new understanding to the artists in the Tate collection and the history and practice of the occult. The first major survey of the occult collection of artworks, letters, objects and ephemera in the Tate Archive.

Her lavishly illustrated magical volume, Visions of the Occult: An Untold Story of Art & Magic (Tate Publishing 2022), explores the hidden artworks and ephemera left behind by artists for the first-time idea and will shed new light on our understanding of the art historical canon. Expect to find the unexpected with artists such as Ithell Colquhoun, John Nash, Barbara Hepworth, David Mayor, Max Armfield, Cecil Collins, Jill and Bruce Lacey, Francis Bacon, Alan Davie, Joe Tilson, Henry Moore, William Blake, Leonora Carrington and Hamish Fulton. For the first time, the clandestine, magical works of the Tate archive are revealed with archivist Victoria Jenkins acting as the depository of its secrets.

Victoria’s book, Visions of the Occult: An Untold Story of Art & Magic, will be available at this event.

7.15pm Thursday 1 December 2022 

£8 / £5  concessions (Advance tickets)

£5 Live Stream (Tickets)

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Tube: Holborn

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Monday, 26 September 2022

The Haunted Landscape: Folklore, Monsters and Ghosts

The Haunted Landscape calls again with demons in the landscape, kings sleeping beneath the ground, and the ghosts that have followed us through all of human history. Join the London Fortean Society at Conway Hall (or on the live stream) for a day of talks and short films on the folklore of Britain and beyond. 

Saturday 19 November 2022 

Doors, books stall, and coffee from 9.30am.
Talks 10am - 5 pm.
Lunch 1pm-2pm (ish)

£25 / £18 concessions. £15 live stream. Advance tickets

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Tube: Holborn

Directions

A link to all live streams will be sent out to all online participants after booking. 

Mailing List

Facebook event page (London)

Facebook event page (Livestream)

Talks 

9am Registration starts. 

9.30am Doors

10am Jasper Goodall - Into the Wild Night

10.30am Roy Vickery - Folklore and Dangerous Plants

11am Break

11.20am Dr Victoria Flood - Alderley Edge and the Dead Man

11.50pm Break

12.10pm Daniel & Clara - Avebury Imaginary: a personal history of a stone circle & hill

1pm Lunch

2.00pm Jeremy Harte - John Wesley and the Devil: Hell-Wrestling with the Magic Methodists

2.30pm Brice Stratford - The New Forest: A Pocket of Pixies

3pm Break

3.15pm Lisa Schneidau - Monsters from the Deep: River Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland

3.45pm Break

4.15pm Irving Finkel - The First Ghosts

5pm End

He is waiting Credit: Iain Rowan @iainrowan / @mapsofthelost


Irving Finkel - The First Ghosts

Irving Finkel takes us back to the very beginning. A world-renowned authority on cuneiform, the form
creative commons
of writing on clay tablets that date back to 3400BC, Finkel has embarked upon an ancient ghost hunt, scouring these tablets to unlock the secrets of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians to breathe new life into the first ghost stories ever written. In his book The First Ghosts, he uncovers an extraordinarily rich seam of ancient spiritual wisdom which has remained hidden for nearly 4000 years, covering practical details of how to live with ghosts, how to get rid of them and bring them back, and how to avoid becoming one, as well as exploring more philosophical questions: what are ghosts, why does the idea of them remain so powerful despite the lack of concrete evidence, and what do they tell us about being human?


Dr. Irving Finkel is Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian (i.e. Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian) script, languages, and cultures Department: the Middle East at the British Museum, headquartered in London's Bloomsbury. He is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection - some 130,000 pieces - of any modern museum. This work involves reading and translating all sorts of inscriptions, sometimes working on ancient archives to identify manuscripts that belong together, or even join one another.


Brice Stratford - The New Forest: A Pocket of Pixies


Brice Stratford discusses the specific pixie traditions of the New Forest, which survive strongly today in genuine, lived belief as a real exception to the rest of the country. Most are familiar with the folkloric survival of the Cornish and Devonian pixie traditions and are aware that pixie belief once extended from there across the entire south coast, but the survival of it in the New Forest as a distinct pocket has not been commented on, and the character of the pixies there has evolved in a different direction to that of Cornwall and Devon, wilder and more reflective of the New Forest “Commoning” practices and culture, in whose community the stories have survived,

Brice is an English director, writer, historian, folklorist, actor-manager, and heritage campaigner. He is the author of Anglo-Saxon Myths: The Struggle for the Seven Kingdoms and New Forest Myths and Folklore.

Lisa Schneidau  - Monsters from the Deep: River Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland

Weed-strewn crones, just waiting to pull you into the river. Swans with serious grudges and eels with drinking problems. Hideous creatures that never see the light of day… until you fish them out of the river. Lisa Schneidau tells tall tales from the dark side of our freshwater folklore.

Lisa Schneidau
is a storyteller and environmentalist based in Dartmoor. She seeks out, and shares, traditional stories about the land and our complex relationship with it. Lisa is the author of River Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland, Woodland Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland, and Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland (all History Press). 

She tells stories at events, nature reserves, art centers, and schools, including performance storytelling, training, and storytelling development within education, as well as helping to run South Devon Storytellers and Dartmoor Storytellers. Lisa trained as an ecologist and has worked in British nature conservation for twenty-five years. 

Jeremy Harte - John Wesley and the Devil: Hell-Wrestling with the Magic Methodists

no idea... ask Jeremy


The black flapping thing at the end of the lane was no trivial superstition but the Devil in person. Had not John Wesley himself grown up in the fear of the Lord through living in a haunted house? Many giants great and tall went stalking through the land, his followers sang; and if the thunder of the ogre’s voice usually reduced itself into the catcalling of an unregenerate mob, that only confirmed its diabolical nature. 

Satan was a physical presence who clutched and dragged; supernatural visitants gave not just advice
and solace but enough light to illuminate a cottage room; spiritual progress was noisy and physical, trembling, crying, struggling. Men of the people, the popular preachers dreamed of what was to come and were guided by special providences, shadows of the fortune-telling tracts that they had condemned. Through grace, they cast out fiends, dispelled ghosts, and crushed the horrid powers of witches. Everything claimed for magic by the unworthy was done for the saints by zeal.

Jeremy Harte is the curator of the Bourne Hall Museum at Epsom and Ewell. He is secretary of the Romany and Traveller Family History Society and created the Surrey Gypsy Archive. He is the author of Cloven Country: The Devil and the English Landscape (Reaktion, 2022).

Jasper Goodall - Into The Wild Night

Jasper Goodall describes his work as portraying the haunted nightscape. Inspired by, among many things, the historical Swedish folk tradition of Årsgång, translated as ‘the omen walk’. It is traditionally performed on new year’s eve or the winter solstice. At midnight one must walk alone and in the dark through woods to a specific location, often the village church. Inside the woods, one was said to encounter entities or manifestations that acted as omens for the coming year. His photographs are an attempt to capture stillness, solitude, and the sense of a hushed, waiting presence that is perhaps more palpably felt in the hours of darkness.

Jasper Goodhall 

Goodall’s nocturnal photographs have been described as at once beautiful and terrifying. The images reference the idea that a kind of thrilling delight can be gleaned from viewing something eerie or disconcerting — imagining yourself in the dark places he visits. He teaches creativity and visual communication. He is a senior lecturer at the University of Brighton where he has taught generations of visual communicators for almost 20 years

Dr. Victoria Flood - Alderley Edge and the Dead Man

Alderley Edge in North-east Cheshire (UK) is a red stand-stone escarpment above a subterranean network of mines, associated with a long-lived legend of sleeping heroes, who will awaken at a time of national crisis. A non-built heritage site, now managed by the National Trust, the Edge is intensely meaningful to a relatively small group of local stakeholders alongside a worldwide audience of readers engaged with the works of the novelist Alan Garner. Garner is perhaps best known for his Weirdstone trilogy, set in (and underneath the surface of) Alderley Edge, and his 2022 Booker prize-longlisted novella Treacle Walker, which is similarly engaged with the haunted and mythologically resonant landscape of the wider region. 
Credit : Nigel Dibben

Based on research undertaken as part of the Arts and Humanities Research-funded Invisible Worlds project, this paper traces engagement with medieval prophecy at the Edge from the eighteenth century to the present, exploring the emotional resonance of its multifaceted medievalisms. It takes as it center the contested uses of the figure of the (un)dead man, the waking sleeper beneath the Edge.

Roy Vickery – Eerie Planet Folklore

Plants have had symbolic as well as practical meanings and uses since the beginning of human
civilization. This talk on the rich variety of British and Irish folklore draws on Roy Vickery‘s own unsurpassed archives collated over forty years and a wide range of historical and contemporary literature. Based on new material collected by Roy and showing that we still cling to the symbolic importance of plants. Putting conkers in wardrobes keeps moths away, and parsley – the Devil’s plant – only germinates if sown on Good Friday.

Roy worked as a botanist at the Natural History Museum, London for over 30 years, as the museum’s curator of vascular plants. He has published five books on plant folklore and is a former Honorary Secretary of the Folklore Society. He is president of the South London Botanical Institute.

Daniel & Clara - Avebury Imaginary: a personal history of a stone circle & hill

Daniel & Clara 

Artist Daniel & Clara take us on a personal journey to Avebury stone circle and Silbury Hill, reflecting on a body of work made in response to these ancient sites.
Avebury is not just a place, it is a dream built into the landscape
Since meeting in 2010 Daniel & Clara have dedicated themselves to a shared life of creative exploration, working across moving images, photography, performance, installation, and correspondence art. Using themselves and their life together as their material, their work explores the nature of human experience, perception, and reality. Set against the backdrop of the British landscape, their work presents narratives of psychological disorientation and the human creature in crisis. Instagram: @daniel_and_clara Twitter: @DanielAndClara

Jasper Goodhall

Saturday 19 November 2022 

Doors, books stall, and coffee from 9.30am.
Talks 10am - 5 pm.
Lunch 1pm-2pm (ish)

£25 / £18 concessions. £15 live stream. Advance tickets

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Tube: Holborn

Directions

A link to all live stream will be sent out to all online participants after booking. 


Mailing List

Facebook event page (London)

Facebook event page (Livestream)


Sunday, 25 September 2022

 

 

 

The Science of Weird Shit:
Twenty Years of Weird Science at Goldsmiths

Following his retirement in October 2020, Emeritus Professor Chris French reflects on the work of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, founded in the year 2000. 

Ever since records began, in every known society, a substantial proportion of the population has reported unusual experiences many of which we would today label as “paranormal”. Opinion polls show that the majority of the general public accepts that paranormal phenomena do occur. Such widespread experience of and belief in the paranormal can only mean one of two things. Either the paranormal is real, in which case this should be accepted by the wider scientific community which currently rejects such claims; or else belief in and experience of ostensibly paranormal phenomena can be fully explained in terms of psychological factors. 

Chris tells us about anomalistic psychology, the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, in an attempt to provide non-paranormal explanations in terms of known psychological and physical factors. 

Tuesday 29 November 2022 – 7.30 for 8pm – £5/£3 

Venue: The Bell,  50 Middlesex Street E1 7EX (Tubes: Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Aldgate East)

Tickets £5/£3 from https://www.wegottickets.com/event/558524/

Monday, 19 September 2022

The Cosmic Dance: Patterns and Pathways in a Chaotic Universe

 A visual journey from the minute to the infinite, exploring the relationships and harmonies between all parts of the universe and inspiring personal contemplation regarding our own place within it.



Tuesday 8 November 2022 

Doors, books, drinks from 7pm. 7.30pm start. 

£10 / £7  concessions (Advance tickets)

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Tube: Holborn

Directions

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A visual journey from the minute to the infinite, exploring the relationships and harmonies between all parts of the universe and inspiring personal contemplation regarding our own place within it.


Join renowned image alchemist Stephen Ellcock, in conversation with artist and art writer Matthew Collings, as he presents a pan-global collection of remarkable and arresting images drawn from the history of art to explore the ancient belief that the cosmos is reflected in all living things.

An eloquent introduction to his new collection The Cosmic Dance, this evening provides the central themes and expert commentaries as well as bitesize information on key concepts and key thinkers – philosophers, writers, artists, and scientists interspersed throughout the artworks prompt a closer, more personal engagement with the images.

The perfect guide to a deeper contemplation of the world around us, allowing readers, in the words of William Blake, to ‘see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.'

Stephen Ellcock is a London-based curator, writer, researcher, and online collector of images who has spent the last decade creating an ever-expanding virtual museum of art that is open to all via social media. His ongoing attempt at creating the ultimate social media ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ has so far attracted more than 600,000 followers worldwide. He is also the author of All Good Things, The Book of Change, England on Fire, with text by Mat Osman, and Jeux de Mains, a collaboration with Cécile Poimboeuf-Koizumi.


Matthew Collings is an artist and art writer. He lives in Norfolk. He has written and presented many TV series on art. His 6-part series for Channel 4, This Is Modern Art won a Bafta among many other awards.

His books on art are very popular. “Blimey! From Bohemia to Britpop: The London art-world from Francis Bacon to Damian Hirst” was published by David Bowie. David told Channel Five News at the launch of the book in April 1997: “It’s superficially gossipy but Matthew actually makes some very serious points.” Artforum said it was the “most popular book on contemporary art ever.”

Matthew’s collaborative abstract paintings based on patterns, done with mosaicist Emma Biggs, are represented by VigoGallery in Mason’s Yard, London. Vigo also represents Matthew’s solo drawings which are based on art and art history. They can be seen on Matthew’s Instagram page at matthew.collings_

Matthew has sold 2,000 of these drawings on the Artists Support Pledge (founded by Matthew Burrows MBE) in the last two years. Matthew is currently working on a book of drawings which he says will answer the questions, ”What’s going on, why did we have souls, what is art for?”

Tuesday 8 November 2022 

Doors, books, and drinks from 7pm. 7.30pm start. 

£10 / £7  concessions (Advance tickets)

Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

Tube: Holborn

Directions

Mailing List

Facebook event page

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

London’s Horror History & Offbeat British Cult Films

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLgFCnrfF3epj5w-eMrujdrRsR5vOKGjOj



Tuesday 1 November 2022

7pm - 7.30pm start

Ticket sales now closed - please come and pay at the door

The Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, London SE14 6TY

Tube and Rail: New Cross / New Cross Gate / Deptford Bridge DLR

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Join the London Fortean Society with three writers on London and British horror as we look at the city's dark cinematic street and how film transformed familiar British landscapes into spaces of terror.



Lauren Jane Barnett - Death Lines: London’s Horror Film History 

Lauren Jane Barnett unearths the literature, legends, and history behind horror classics including Peeping Tom and An American Werewolf in London, and lesser-known works such as mind-control melodrama The Sorcerers; Gorgo, Britain’s answer to Godzilla; tube terror Death Line; and Bela Lugosi’s mesmeric vehicle The Dark Eyes of London

Tinged with humor, social critique, and more than a few scares, her book Death Lines delights in revealing the hidden and often surprising relationship between London and the dark cinematic visions it has evoked. 

Whether read on the streets or from the comfort of the grave, Death Lines is a treat for all cinephiles, horror fans, and lovers of London lore.

In the tradition of writing what you know, Lauren Jane Barnett – in the life she’s lived, the books she’s loved, and the films she’s devoured – knows horror.


Darrell Buxton and Jennifer Wallis - Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems

Offbeat contributors Darrell Buxton and Jennifer Wallis will be discussing some of Britain's lesser-known cult films and their often-horrific depictions of mental healthcare and family relationships. From Twisted Nerve to Killer's Moon, and from Amicus's Asylum to Pete Walker's Frightmare, we'll see how British film between the 1960s and 1980s tackled some of the country's thorniest issues, in the process transforming familiar British landscapes into spaces of terror.

Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gems (Revised and Updated) explores Britain’s obscurities, curiosities and forgotten cinematic gems.



Offbeat: British Cinema’s Curiosities, Obscurities and Forgotten Gem will be available on the night from our friends from The Word Bookshop.

Tuesday 1 November 2022

7pm - 7.30pm start

Ticket sales are now closed - please come and pay at the door

The Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, London SE14 6TY

Tube and Rail: New Cross / New Cross Gate / Deptford Bridge DLR

Facebook Page 

London Fortean Email List