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The Haunted Landscape 2023: Witchcraft, Ritual and the Supernatural

Watch the 2023 annual Haunted Landscape event from London Fortean Society on demand.


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The Haunted Landscape 2023: Witchcraft, Ritual and the Supernatural The Haunted Landscape 2023: Witchcraft, Ritual and the Supernatural

It’s getting darker. Join the London Fortean Society at Conway Hall as we explore the Haunted Landscape – our annual gathering of witchcraft, folklore, ghosts, and fairies from the British Isles.

Allyson Shaw – Ashes and Stones: A Scottish Journey in Search of Witches and Witness

Allyson Shaw untangles the myth of witchcraft and gives voice to those erased by it. Her elegant and lucid prose weaves together threads of history and feminist reclamation to create a vibrant memorial.

Sandra Lawrence – “As if the sick earth had burst into foul pustules”Fungi in Folklore and Superstition

The word ‘mycophobia’ was coined in 1887 but fear, loathing and hostility towards the fungi kingdom has been with certain parts of the world since the dawn of humanity. What is it about Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘foul pustules’ that brings out such extremes in people and just how old is fungal folklore anyway?

Kirsty Hartsiotis – Ghosts of the Cotswold and Wiltshire Landscape  

Storyteller Kirsty Hartsiotis explores the haunted landscape of the West Country.  Hear of fields haunted by a slew of Civil War ghosts and the prehistoric and Tudor hauntings in Wiltshire.  Kirsty will discuss more recent sightings and look at how the ghosts are related to their specific landscapes, and how the physical landscape and history affect ghosts.

Dr Helen Frisby – The Sin-eater: lives and afterlives

A sin-eater was a ‘long, leane, ugly, lamentable poor raskal’ who, by eating a special meal over the coffin, consumed a dead person’s sins and thus helped them enter heaven. In this talk Dr Helen Frisby surveys the historical evidence for this fascinating old funerary character and their mysterious rituals in service of the souls of the dead.

James Edward Frost – The Kentish Hooden Horse

Hoodening is an ancient calendar custom unique to East Kent, involving a wooden horse’s head on a pole, carried by a man concealed by a sack. James Edward Frostdescribes what hoodening was, what the hooden horse is.

Jeremy Harte – When Saints Go Bad

You didn’t mess with medieval saints. Newly returned and (so far) unharmed from scholarly pilgrimage to Edmund, Æthelthryth, Modwenna, Cuthbert and Ive, Jeremy Harte looks at the mean side of the meek.

Francis Young – The Origin of British Fairies

Francis Young traces Britain’s ‘small gods’ to a popular religiosity influenced classical learning, offering an exciting new way of grasping the island’s most mysterious mythical inhabitants.

James Canton – Grounded: A Journey Into the Landscapes of Our Ancestors

Through lyrical meditation, reflection, and a thoughtful consideration of the ways and beliefs of the people who came before us, James Canton seeks to know what our ancestors considered to be human, and what lessons we can learn from them to find security in our contemporary selves.

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