Saturday, 29 June 2019

Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times

7.15pm Wednesday 11 September 2019
£6 (Advance tickets)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page



This is the definitive history of how evil magic has survived into the present day from the largely rural world of Georgian Britain and the time of the British Empire to the multicultural present.

In our age of technology and information, it is easy to imagine that black magic in Britain is dead. On the contrary, over recent centuries it has persisted, changed and returned.

Spanning across the largely rural world of Georgian Britain and the time of the British Empire to the multicultural present, and drawing on an unprecedented range of sources, including, diaries, folklore reports and oral interviews, Thomas Waters explores the enduring power of ancient fears and desires.

Through fascinating individual stories, he shows in his book how witchcraft is as diverse as modern Britain itself, incorporating ‘cunning folk’, cynical quacks, and the victims of witch-hunts as well as benevolent and sincere magical healers. Cursed Britain ranges from wise-women to the deliverance ministry, from Victorian occultists to New Age therapists, to reveal why witchcraft has persisted, and why it is again on the rise…

Thomas Waters is lecturer in history at Imperial College London and a specialist in the modern history of witchcraft and magic. His first book Cursed Britain: A History of Witchcraft and Black Magic in Modern Times will be available to buy on the night.

7.15pm Wednesday 11 September 2019
£6 (Advance tickets)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page

Thursday, 27 June 2019

The Bodies Beneath: The Flipside of British Film & Television

7.15pm Monday 9 September 2019
£6 (Advance tickets)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page


Veteran film curators William Fowler and Vic Pratt crack open the caskets of forgotten or neglected British films and telly to serve up a feast of curiosities to tempt the palate of even the most jaded cinephile. Their unflinching, all-embracing investigative gaze is as likely to reassess an established classic as it is to focus on cobweb-covered delights like pioneering 1930s female film director Mary Field’s beautifully bizarre The Mystery of Marriage, the much- maligned Doctor Who epic ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’, underground offerings like Anna Ambrose’s experimental art piece Phoelix and Andy Milligan’s bawdy bloodbath The Body Beneath.

All is grist to this monstrous mill, as the authors tamper with outmoded video

formats and meddle with magenta-bias safety film in their mission to finger-paint an entirely unexpected, highly irreverent and thoroughly personal picture of film and television culture in twentieth-century Britain.

William Fowler and Vic Pratt are both film archivists, writers, and curators, and have programmed numerous cinema screenings at venues internationally. In 2006, they co-founded The Flipside initiative at the British Film Institute. Every month for seven years, they presented weird and wonderful, offbeat, unseen and outrageous film and television, welcoming a host of acting and directorial talent.


Will and Vic write regularly for many different film publications and anthologies, and contribute programme notes for screenings, DVD and Blu-Ray releases including the BFI Flipside label.

Their new book The Bodies Beneath: The Flipside of British Film & Television will be available on the night from Strange Attractor Press.

7.15pm Monday 9 September 2019
£6 (Advance tickets)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Poltergeists and Possession

7.45pm Wednesday 28 August 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


Most 20th and 21st-century researchers who consider that poltergeist activity has a paranormal cause have attributed manifestations to instances of psychokinesis emanating from the minds of living people. Only a minority of researchers have thought that poltergeist activity is caused by ghosts or other entities. In three British poltergeist cases (the Battersea poltergeist 1956-68, the Enfield poltergeist 1977-79 and the South Shields poltergeist 2006) researchers were driven to the conclusion that external entities or forces were involved, capable of possessing the minds and bodies of the living. 

Claims of possession in Western society have a long history and today are generally ascribed to psychiatric causes or the impact of wider societal beliefs. Alan Murdie, chairman of the Ghost Club, asks if possession could be an explanation in very rare cases.

7.45pm Wednesday 28 August 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

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


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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

The Old Stones

7.15pm Thursday 11 July 2019
This event is now sold out. Thank you to everyone who has booked, we shall endeavour to re-book Andy for a later date.
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page




Andy Burnham presents a highly illustrated talk based around many of the themes, new discoveries and mysteries highlighted in the book The Old Stones, the most comprehensive and thought-provoking field guide ever published to the iconic standing stones and prehistoric places of Britain and Ireland. He will look at lesser known but interesting sites in the London and surrounding area.

Andy is the lead author of The Old Stones book alongside contributors to the vast Megalithic Portal web resource which he founded in 2001. The Old Stones was awarded Current Archaeology Book of the Year 2019 and is the most comprehensive and thought-provoking field guide ever published to the iconic standing stones and prehistoric places of Britain and Ireland. Andy will be pleased to answer questions and sign copies on the day.


7.15pm Thursday 11 July 2019
This event is now sold out. Thank you to everyone who has booked, we shall endeavour to re-book Andy for a later date.
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
Tube: Holborn
Directions
Facebook event page

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