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Showing posts from 2023

Aleister Crowley: The Spy Who Loved the Occult

  Tuesday 30th January 2024 SOLD OUT -- SOLD OUT -- SOLD OUT Aleister Crowley The Spy Who Loved the Occult   SOLD OUT -- SOLD OUT -- SOLD OUT   SOLD OUT -- SOLD OUT -- SOLD OUT   Mountaineer, artist, magician, was Aleister Crowley also a secret agent who worked for different branches of British Intelligence at various stages of his life? Did this culminate in his interrogation of Nazi warlord and occultist Rudolf Hess in 1941? Richard C McNeff deciphers Crowley’s espionage career as well as taking a wider look at his role as an influencer, with some very surprising followers. The author of two novels prominently featuring Crowley, Richard will separate fact from fiction in his portrayals of the Beast. Venue: The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street E1 7EX Date:   Tuesday 30th January 2024 Doors: 7.30pm Start: 8pm Tickets: £5/£3  THIS TALK IS COMPLETELY SOLD OUT WE HOPE TO RUN IT AGAIN LATER IN THE YEAR

'twixt Xmas & NY

  'twixt Xmas & NY Thursday 28th December     We don't have a London Fortean Society meeting in December -- but a few of us get together for a drink in that fairly odd time 'twixt Xmas & NY. No speaker, no programme, just a few pints and chat. Regulars and irregulars equally welcome. We'll be in the front room at the Cittie of Yorke pub between Chancery Lane and Holborn, from around 7.30 on Thursday 28th December . They do standard pub food. See you there!

A New Demonology: John Keel and the Mothman Prophecies

  Tuesday 28 November 2023 A New Demonology: John Keel and the Mothman Prophecies     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 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). Date: Tuesday 28 November 20

The Haunted Landscape: Witchcraft, Ritual and the Supernatural 2023

It’s getting darker. Join us at Conway Hal l as we explore the Haunted Landscape, our annual gathering of witchcraft, folklore, ghosts, and fairies from the British Isles. Speakers this year: Jamie Canton, Nigel Pennick, Dr. Helen Frisby, Kirsty Hartsiotis, Sandra Lawrence, Allyson Shaw, James Edward Frost, and Francis Young.  Live and online. The Spro Mine by Vlash on flickr Saturday 18 November 2023 Doors, books stall, and coffee from 9.30am. Talks 10 am - 5 pm. Lunch 1 pm-2 pm (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.  London Fortean's Mailing List Facebook event page 10 am Allyson Shaw - Ashes and Stones: A Scottish Journey in Search of Witches and Witness.  A moving and personal journey, along rugged coasts and through remote villages and cities, in search of the traces of those accused of witchc

Hallowe'en Special

  Hallowe'en Special Tuesday 31 October 2023   Instead of our usual fortean talk, we’re delighted to welcome back after 10 years the wonderful storyteller Olivia Armstrong to tell us witchy and ghosty tales. Olivia has been a professional storyteller for over 15 years, telling stories at (amongst many others) Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, the National Gallery and the British Library.  As well as telling us haunting folktales and fairytales, Olivia will answer your questions about the storyteller’s craft, where she finds her raw material and how she crafts her stories. A rare opportunity, not to be missed!   Venue: The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street E1 7EX Date: Tuesday 31 October 2023 Time: 8pm (doors 7.30) Tickets:

The Highest Strangeness -- Richard Freeman

  Tuesday 26 September 2023 The Highest Strangeness Forteana by its very nature is strange. Nobody could say that encountering a ghost, UFO or sea serpent was an everyday occurrence. Yet there are some fortean cases that go beyond the bounds of simply strange. These could be called The Highest Strangeness, cases so weird that they have even the most seasoned investigators scratching their heads. Modern day sightings of dragons, giant glowing ghost crabs, bigfoot piloting UFOs and haunting houses like ghosts, bubbling, stinking, crawling phantom trees, weird little animals turning up during poltergeist outbreaks, demonic dogs in flying saucers, the town haunted by a Godzilla-sized phantom snake, fairies in spaceships, organic flying saucers, balls of light melting people alive, giant worms in stone circles, pixie and fairy sightings, the giant talking cat with human eyes that saved two kids from a child molester, and that's just the tip of the iceberg! Richard Freeman , zoologi
Tuesday 29 August 2023 Shifting Realities Myth and landscape in Alan Garner's novels   Alan Garner has been exploring creatively the landscape of his native Cheshire for over 60 years; his fictional landscape is a country in which fantastic creatures from mythology erupt into the mundane world, communication between dimensions is possible in a supernatural multiverse and events proceed through the operation of repeated actions played out across generations, articulated through folktale, myth and story, as Garner takes his cue from the quantum universe and the overarching constellations above Alderley Edge. Sue Terry , who lives 40 minutes away from Alderley Edge and is working on a book on Garner’s fiction, explores the shifting nature of reality that emerges through the interplay of history, folklore and landscape within Garner’s early novels, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen , The Moon of Gomrath , Elidor and Red Shift .    Venue: The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street E1 7EX Date: Tuesd
  *** TUBE STRIKE *** Although the tube strike has been called off, we'd already shifted the date of our next meeting at the Bell, Jeremy Harte speaking on Gypsies and the Supernatural , from Tuesday July 25 to Tuesday August 1 . Please note that we're sticking with this new date.
  Tuesday 1 August 2023 Lucky For Some: Gypsies and the Supernatural Jeremy Harte   *** CHANGE OF DATE *** Because of the Tube strike we can't meet on our planned date, Tuesday 25th July. Instead, both our speaker Jeremy Harte and the manager at the Bell have kindly agreed that we can move to the following week TUESDAY 1 AUGUST NOTE: there will be Aslef action on the trains on the new date, but most trains will still be running -- and most important, the Tube will be running normally. So book your tickets to hear brilliant folklorist Jeremy Harte speak on "Lucky For Some: Gypsies and the Supernatural". Let's have a great turnout! Posted b   Some peoples achieve magical status, some have it thrust upon them: the Gypsies have done both. Arriving in Europe as an unprotected minority, the Romany turned their alien status into an art (prophecy is the trade that needs no tools) and an armour (who would mess with a people with such occult powers?). Fortune-telling was a s
Tuesday 27 June 2023 Why Mystery Matters     There are mysteries we don’t understand, mysteries created to entertain us and life-problems we struggle with, that remain mysterious. Few people take the time to stop and think of the value of mystery, as a thing in itself. Lifelong fortean and author Neil Nixon takes us on a tour of all things mysterious revealing a rich and varied subject offering powers we can all use and a history that is by turns insightful, frightening, and hilarious. From UFOs to stand-up comedy and from the history of religion to a psychological condition where sufferers experience themselves as being dead, this is a unique view based on a lifetime’s obsession. Neil’s new book Why Mystery Matters will be available on the night.   Venue: The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street E1 7EX Date: Tuesday 27 June 2023 Time: 8pm (doors open 7.30pm) Tickets: £5/£3      
The Surreal Worlds of Leonora Carrington Tuesday May 30th at the Bell    One of Britain’s most acclaimed esoteric artists, Leonora Carrington (1917- 2 011) was in the vanguard of Surrealist art. Her themes included feminism, ecology and the interconnectedness of everything; she had a fascination with myth and symbolism, including Tarot .   Carrington’s cousin Joanna Moorhead , author o f The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington , takes us through her art, and the many places that inspired her across Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the US, and finally Mexico, where the artist lived for more than 60 years.  This richly illustrated talk includes Carrington’s relationship with Max Ernst and her friendships with a host of other artists including Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and André Breton.  Joanna’s new book, Surreal Spaces: The Life and Art of Leonora Carrington ,  is published by Thames & Hudson. For 30% off visit Thames & Hudson online and enter th
The Croglin Grange Vampire Tuesday April 25th at the Bell In 1875, a flame-eyed creature picked at the lead in a window pane to let himself in to a remote farmhouse in Cumberland. Thus started a campaign of menace against a young woman: a campaign which only stopped when her brothers tracked the creature down to its resting place in a local crypt. The Beast of Croglin Grange has entered our folklore as one of England’s very few home-grown vampires. So let’s take a look at the story see if we can work out what really happened. Deborah Hyde , former editor of the Skeptic , wants to know why people believe in weird stuff. She attributes her fascination with the supernatural to having spent her childhood with mad aunties. She approaches the subject using the perspectives of psychology and history.  Venue: The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX Date: Tuesday April 25th 2023 Time: 7.30 for 8pm Tickets: £5/£3 from  
The Brutality of Spectacle – A Brief History of the Execution Postcard Tuesday 28 March 2023 at the Bell We send and receive postcards between friends and family. But alongside images of sandy beaches and idyllic landscapes, another kind of image proliferated in the early 20th century. The depiction of execution and torture in postcard form was relatively common in the early 1900s, especially in China and the United States, a practice grounded in Western imperialism. The images on the postcards offered a persistent replaying of human degradation. Conceptual artist Jason B Bernard and historian Jennifer Wallis illuminate the history of these macabre souvenirs, including the ethical issues surrounding their study today.. How can we begin to comprehend these images? Were they a kind of memento mori ? A deterrent? Or simply revelling in the cruelty of spectacle?  Venue -- The Bell, 50 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EX (Tubes: Liverpool Street, Aldgate, Aldgate East) Date --   Tuesday

The Haunted Gallery: Untold Stories of Art & Magic

Magic is a dark vein running through the history and practice of art. Join us for a selection of talks and discussions on artists and magic in art. Talks include occult art in the archives of Tate Britain and The College of Psychic Studies, the lives of Madge Gill and Austin Osman Spare, and the making of apotropaic genderqueer deities and how they ended up on walls across Britain .  Saturday 25 March 2023 Conway Hall , 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL Doors, books stall, and coffee from 10.30am Talks 11am - 5pm £18 / £15 concessions. Book in advance Visions of the Occult: An Untold Story of Art & Magic Archivist Victoria Jenkins presents her major survey of the occult collection of artworks, letters, objects, and ephemera in the Tate Archive. This talk offers an 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.