Centre for Inquiry UK, The Skeptic magazine and Conway Hall present
Halloween Special: Ghosts, Zombies and Vampires!
Chaired and organized by Stephen Law, Heythrop College University of London.
Saturday October 26th, 2013
Conway Hall (Main Hall)
25 Red Lion Square
£10 (£5 students) Free to friends of CFI UK. Tickets here.
10.30am registration. 11am-3.30pm
11.00 Deborah Hyde on vampires
12.00 Chris French on ghosts
1.30 Frank Swain on zombies
2.30 Scott Wood on London ghosts
(CFI reserves the right to change the programme due to unforeseen circumstances)
Deborah Hyde: Vampires
"The Vampire has fascinated Western Europe from the early 1700s, but the tradition was a real part of Eastern European lives for a considerable time before that. In the last three centuries, the icon has been taken up by art of all kinds - literature, film and graphics - and it has had a lasting effect on fashion and culture. But what is the authentic story behind tales of the predatory, living dead and can we understand a little more about being human by studying these accounts? We will look at recent attempts to understand the folklore and try to work out how an Eastern European ritual made its way to late nineteenth century New England, USA.
Deborah Hyde writes writes, lectures internationally and appears on broadcast media to discuss superstition, religion and belief in the supernatural. She uses a range of approaches and disciplines from history to psychology to investigate the folklore of the malign and to discover why it is so persistent throughout all human communities & eras. She is currently writing a book ‘Unnatural Predators’. She is also a film industry makeup effects production manager who gets on the wrong side of the camera from time to time"
Chris French: The Psychology of Ghosts and Hauntings
This talk will consider a number of factors that may lead people to claim that they have experienced a ghost even though they may not in fact have done so. Topics covered will include hoaxes, sincere misinterpretation of natural phenomena, hallucinatory experiences and pareidolia (seeing things that are not there), the fallibility of eyewitness testimony, the possible role of complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound, photographic evidence, EVP, and the role of the media.
Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
Frank Swain: Zombies
Ever wanted to make your own army of undead servants? Join author Frank Swain as he reveals 300 years of reanimation and mind control experiments. You learn the tricks, techniques and toxins that everyone from clandestine government scientists to crazed basement obsessives have used in their quest to raise the dead and enslave the living.
Frank Swain writes and talks about science. His first book, HOW TO MAKE A ZOMBIE, if out now from Oneworld. Frank has a history of making zines, being a filthy scenester, stage-managing burlesque shows, climbing buildings, harrying his betters, arguing the toss and generally being a force for good.
Scott Wood: Ghosts of London
In London you are never more than ten feet from a ghost story*. Ghosts have been an enduring part of London’s history, folklore and media and it seems that nothing of note can take place in the city without planting new ghosts.
Scott Wood, of the London Fortean Society and author of the forthcoming Urban Legends of London: The Corpse on the Tube examines how ghosts and London ghost stories have changed through time, from early modern revenants on Bankside to the Greenwich spooks that disturbed Lady Gaga. What do we talk about when we talk about ghosts?