Hedgehogs by Dr. Pat Morris, Live on Zoom

The hedgehog has been voted Britain’s most popular animal and it is our most easily recognised species, familiar to everyone. Yet its ecology was poorly understood until Pat Morris carried out the first PhD study of hedgehogs in the 1960s. He has been involved in hedgehog research ever since and will describe aspects of its natural history, including the fate of animals rescued and released by animal hospitals. Hedgehogs have been with us for millions of years, longer than woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers, yet they now face multiple threats as a result of human activity and they need our understanding and support.

How far do hedgehogs travel in a night, does it do any harm to feed them in the garden? What about bread & milk? Or mealworms? What happens to rescued hedgehogs after they are released from an animal hospital, how long do they live, what about their sex life (especially with all those spines!). Is it true the males have bigger reproductive organs than humans? Why are hedgehogs seen less often now and what can we do to help hedgehogs if they are in decline? All will be revealed by the author of ‘the Hedgehog’

Dr Pat Morris was Senior Lecturer in Zoology at Royal Holloway, University of London, and retired (early) in 2002 to spend more time with his taxidermy. He taught many students who now work in wildlife conservation, and also taught evening classes for adults for 20 years. He is well known for his studies on mammals, especially hedgehogs, dormice, water voles and red squirrels. He is a past Chairman of the Mammal Society and holder of its Silver Medal. He was a Council Member of the National Trust for 15 years and Chairman of its Nature Conservation Advisory Panel. He is President of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, a former Vice President of the London Wildlife Trust. He served on a Government Enquiry into aspects of the badgers and TB problem and for 3 years was co-Director of the International Summer School on the Breeding and Conservation of Endangered species, based at Durrell Zoo in Jersey.

He has published over 70 scientific papers, mostly on mammals and written about 20 books on bats, dormice, ecology of lakes and general natural history, with total sales of around 250,000. His popular book on hedgehogs has remained in print since 1983, his New Naturalist monograph on the hedgehog was published in 2018. He was a consultant to major publishers and the BBC Natural History Unit, for whom he also contributed radio and TV programmes for 20 years. He has travelled to more than 30 countries, including five expeditions to Ethiopia and 19 visits to the USA covering 47 of the States.

In his spare time he has pursued a longstanding interest in the history of taxidermy and was appointed the first Honorary Life Member of the Guild of Taxidermists. He published papers and 8 books on this topic and serves as one of the Government’s taxidermy inspectors for assessing age and authenticity of antique taxidermy in connection with CITES controls. The Society for the History of Natural History awarded him its Founder’s Medal and he was made MBE by the Queen in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List and has a devoted (biologist) wife, married in 1978.

He speaks in a purely personal capacity and not on behalf of any of the organisations with which he is involved, past or present.

European Hedgehog: UK to Eastern Europe and Mediterranean countries. Introduced to New Zealand.

Extreme Taxidermy by Dr. Pat Morris, Live on Zoom

A full-sized, adult elephant constitutes a massive challenge for the taxidermist and relatively few have been successfully completed. The evolution of methods, over the past 200 years, will be described and encourage awe and respect next time you see one.

TRIGGER WARNING: the second part of this talk involves issues that you may find distasteful or (in the present day context) unacceptable. It addresses another issue that attracts frequent questions but few answers- “What about stuffed humans?” Few of these exist and their custodians are wary of talking about them. Nevertheless, the issue is of historical and sociological interest, as well as a challenge to taxidermists that they wisely avoid. Those of a sensitive disposition should wisely avoid this talk too.

Dr Pat Morris was Senior Lecturer in Zoology at Royal Holloway, University of London, and retired (early) in 2002 to spend more time with his taxidermy. He taught many students who now work in wildlife conservation, and also taught evening classes for adults for 20 years. He is well known for his studies on mammals, especially hedgehogs, dormice, water voles and red squirrels. He is a past Chairman of the Mammal Society and holder of its Silver Medal. He was a Council Member of the National Trust for 15 years and Chairman of its Nature Conservation Advisory Panel. He is President of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, a former Vice President of the London Wildlife Trust. He served on a Government Enquiry into aspects of the badgers and TB problem and for 3 years was co-Director of the International Summer School on the Breeding and Conservation of Endangered species, based at Durrell Zoo in Jersey.

He has published over 70 scientific papers, mostly on mammals and written about 20 books on bats, dormice, ecology of lakes and general natural history, with total sales of around 250,000. His popular book on hedgehogs has remained in print since 1983, his New Naturalist monograph on the hedgehog was published in 2018. He was a consultant to major publishers and the BBC Natural History Unit, for whom he also contributed radio and TV programmes for 20 years. He has travelled to more than 30 countries, including five expeditions to Ethiopia and 19 visits to the USA covering 47 of the States.

In his spare time he has pursued a longstanding interest in the history of taxidermy and was appointed the first Honorary Life Member of the Guild of Taxidermists. He published papers and 8 books on this topic and serves as one of the Government’s taxidermy inspectors for assessing age and authenticity of antique taxidermy in connection with CITES controls. The Society for the History of Natural History awarded him its Founder’s Medal and he was made MBE by the Queen in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List and has a devoted (biologist) wife, married in 1978.

He speaks in a purely personal capacity and not on behalf of any of the organisations with which he is involved, past or present.

The Future of Psychedelic Spirituality by Rick Strassman on Zoom

Psychedelics magnify and clarify spiritual feelings and ideas. The psychedelic renaissance in the West—within research and non-research settings alike—emphasize the “mystical-unitive” spiritual experience—one devoid of a sense of self, content, or verbal information. Modeled on an Eastern religious platform of enlightenment, this approach shapes one’s preparation for a psychedelic session, determines how one manages the acute experience, and then integrates it. On the other hand, the foundational spiritual text of the West, the Hebrew Bible, emphasizes the “interactive-relational” experience; that is, “prophecy,” while not a single case of the mystical-unitive state appears. While I expected our DMT volunteers to undergo mystical-unitive sessions, to both their and my surprise, effects were nearly exclusively interactive-relational. Further inquiry revealed that the degree of phenomenological overlap with Hebrew Biblical prophetic experience is striking; however, the overlap regarding informational content was much less so. I will discuss the prophetic model, its relevance to the psychedelic state, and advantages over the mystical unitive approach.

 

A native of Los Angeles, Rick Strassman obtained his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences from Stanford University, and his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. He trained in general psychiatry at UC Davis in Sacramento and took a clinical psychopharmacology research fellowship at UC San Diego. Joining the faculty at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in 1984, his clinical research with melatonin discovered its first known function in humans.

Between 1990-1995 he performed the first new US clinical research with psychedelic drugs in a generation. His studies involved DMT, and to a lesser extent psilocybin, and received federal and private funding. From 1995-2008 he practiced general psychiatry in community mental health and the private sector. He has authored or co-authored nearly 50 peer-reviewed papers, has served as guest editor and reviewer for numerous scientific journals, and consulted to various government, non-profit, and for-profit entities. His book DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2001) has sold 250,000 copies, been translated into 13 languages, and is the basis of a successful independent documentary that he co-produced. In 2008, he co-authored with Slawek Wojtowicz , Luis Eduardo Luna, and Ede Frecska Inner Paths to Outer Space. His first novel, Joseph Levy Escapes Death, a tale of near-fatal illness, love, loss, and poor health-care, appeared in 2019.

Rick was raised in a Conservative Jewish family, bar mitzvah, and as an adolescent attended Camp Kinneret and Camp Ramah. He studied and practiced Zen Buddhism for over 20 years under the tutelage of a major Western Zen order, was ordained as a layman, and founded and led an affiliated meditation center in Northern California. He returned to his Jewish roots in his mid-40s. His interest in prophecy and psychedelia resulted in his 2014 book DMT and the Soul of prophecy. He is currently Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the UNM School of Medicine, and lives in Gallup New Mexico.

Curated by Maya Watson

Maya Bracknell Watson is an interdisciplinary artist, poet, performer, retired cult leader and psychedelic and parapsychology researcher. Having just graduated from Chelsea College of Arts, her work over the last six years has been informed by her concurrent shamanic training, work with the Wixárika (Huichol) tribe from Mexico, and role as a research assistant under Dr David Luke of Greenwich university in the study of the psychedelic compound N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and other worlds. Walking between the worlds of the arts, science and the occult, she combines media and investigative techniques from each to inform and articulate one another in the exploration of ontology, consciousness and altered states, mytholopeia and mythology, ecology, the human condition and its relation to the environment, otherness and mortality. She describes her practise and research as contemporary Memento Mori (‘remember you will die’), and explores what that means in a time of mass ecocide and species extinction.
Follow her on the crooked path on Instagram @maya_themessiah

Psychedelic lecture series – lecture 1 – by Dennis McKenna on zoom

details to follow

 

Curated by Maya Watson

Maya Bracknell Watson is an interdisciplinary artist, poet, performer, retired cult leader and psychedelic and parapsychology researcher. Having just graduated from Chelsea College of Arts, her work over the last six years has been informed by her concurrent shamanic training, work with the Wixárika (Huichol) tribe from Mexico, and role as a research assistant under Dr David Luke of Greenwich university in the study of the psychedelic compound N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and other worlds. Walking between the worlds of the arts, science and the occult, she combines media and investigative techniques from each to inform and articulate one another in the exploration of ontology, consciousness and altered states, mytholopeia and mythology, ecology, the human condition and its relation to the environment, otherness and mortality. She describes her practise and research as contemporary Memento Mori (‘remember you will die’), and explores what that means in a time of mass ecocide and species extinction.
Follow her on the crooked path on Instagram @maya_themessiah

Welsh Fairy Tales by Viktor Wynd on Zoom

Let Viktor Wynd share a nightcap with you, tuck you into bed and tell you Fairy Tales to send you into a deep sleep of strange dreams. Be warned these are not the Ladybird or Disney versions and may not be suitable for the tenderist ears.

Wales has some of the richest, most marvellous and most wonderful fairy tales – Viktor Wynd will tell you some more of his favourites, replete with supernatural beings and strange happenings.

Viktor Wynd, proprietor of London’s eponymous (nay infamous) Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & UnNatural History has spent the last twenty five years telling stories to audiences across the globe. Fascinated by traditional fairy tales his repetoire includes tales from The Brothers Grimm, The Arabian Nights, Scandinavia, Russia, Italy, France, Irieland, Africa, Papua New Guinea & North America – so far.

Tales From The Arabian Nights by Viktor Wynd for Valentine’s Day by Zoom

On Valentine’s Day let him come into your bedroom and tell you some of his favourite, most exotic and possibly even erotic tales from the legendary Arabian Nights, there will be treasure, there will be Genii, betwitchings, transformations, all in a world of wonder

 

Viktor Wynd, proprietor of London’s eponymous (nay infamous) Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & UnNatural History has spent the last twenty five years telling stories to audiences across the globe. Fascinated by traditional fairy tales his repetoire includes tales from The Brothers Grimm, The Arabian Nights, Scandinavia, Russia, Italy, France, Irieland, Africa, Papua New Guinea & North America – so far.

 

Mr.Wynd will be drinking Malmsey Wine (Madeira) this Monday evening and strongly recommends you do too – or perhaps a glass of Marsala Wine or even Whiskey. That said if you would rather have a cup of cocoa or chamomile tea that would also no doubt be delightful, though you may find that not only will an alcoholic drink help you enjoy the stories, but, certainly if you have enough, help you to slip into a deep sleep as well

Irish Fairy Tales – The Further Adventures of Paddy O’Dwire – Viktor Wynd

Let Viktor Wynd share a nightcap with you, tuck you into bed and tell you Fairy Tales to send you into a deep sleep of strange dreams. Be warned these are not the Ladybird or Disney verisons and may not be suitable for the tenderist ears.

Ireland has some of the richest, most marvellous and most wonderful fairy tales – Viktor Wynd will tell you some more of his favourites, replete with supernatural beings and strange happenings.

Viktor Wynd, proprietor of London’s eponymous (nay infamous) Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & UnNatural History has spent the last twenty five years telling stories to audiences across the globe. Fascinated by traditional fairy tales his repetoire includes tales from The Brothers Grimm, The Arabian Nights, Scandinavia, Russia, Italy, France, Irieland, Africa, Papua New Guinea & North America – so far.

Curious Coffins and Haunted Dolls by Dr Louise Fenton – Zoom Lecture

The first part of the lecture will focus on the curious miniature coffins that were found on Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh in the early nineteenth century.

Each of these miniature coffins contains a tiny crafted doll. They still remain a mystery, however, Louise Fenton will offer the various theories that surround these intriguing objects that are on display in the National Museums Scotland, and offer her own thoughts. The second part of the lecture will examine the cursed and haunted dolls that have been abandoned and collected within Greyfriars Kirkyard by City of the Dead tours. Louise has had access to work up close with these dolls and she will share her research to date, telling tales of arson, harm and hauntings. This is a fully illustrated lecture.

Dr Louise Fenton is a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and a cultural and social historian. She teaches contextual studies in the School of Art and supervises PhD students; she is also an artist and illustrator and uses drawing within her research. Her interest in New Orleans Voodoo began when studying for her PhD which she was awarded from the University of Warwick in 2010. Most recently Louise has appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘Beyond Belief’ and is a consultant on a new drama for BBC 3. Her research covers Haitian Vodou, New Orleans Voodoo and Witchcraft, especially curses and cursed objects.

Surreal Things – Surrealism and Design – Ghislaine Wood – Zoom

Surrealism was one of the most influential movements of the 20th century and had a profound impact on all forms of culture. It was a philosophy and a way of life for some of the most brilliant artists and writers of the century.This is the first exhibition to examine in depth Surrealism’s impact in the wider fields of design and the decorative arts and its sometimes uneasy relationship with the commercial world. From the sensuality of Dalí’s Mae West Lips Sofa to Schiaparelli’s extraordinary Tear dress, Surrealism produced some of the most emotive objects ever created.

In this ground-breaking exhibition , works in all media from artists and designers such as Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, Max Ernst and Joan Miró were used to explore some of the movement’s dominant themes with a range of objects spans painting, sculpture, bookbindings, jewellery, ceramics, glass, textiles, furniture, fashion, film and photography.

Ghislaine Wood is the acting director of The Sainsbury Centre, she has curated many exhibitions including ‘Surreal Things’ at The V&A & ‘Art Deco by The Sea’ at The Sainsbury

Treasures from The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic with Simon Costin – Zoom

Join Simon Costin, the museum’s director, live from the museum in Cornwall where he will show and discuss some of his favourite treasures from the collection. The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, formerly known as the Museum of Witchcraft, is a museum dedicated to European and world witchcraft and magic, located in the village of Boscastle in North Cornwall, in the south-west of England. It houses exhibits devoted to folk magic, ceremonial magic, Freemasonry and Wicca, with its collection of such objects having been described as the largest and most important in the world.

The museum was founded by the English folk magician Cecil Williamson in 1951 to display his own personal collection of artefacts. Initially known as the Folklore Centre of Superstition and Witchcraft, it was located in the town of Castletown on the Isle of Man. Williamson was assisted at the museum by the prominent Wiccan Gerald Gardner, who remained there as “resident witch”. After their friendship deteriorated, Gardner took over the running in 1954, renaming it the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft. Gardner’s Castletown museum remained open until the 1970s, when Gardner’s heir Monique Wilson sold its contents to the Ripley’s Believe-it-or-Not company.

Later in 1954, Williamson, who had removed his collection from the Isle of Man opened his own rival back in England, known as the Museum of Witchcraft. Its first location was at Windsor, Berkshire, and the next at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire; in both cases it faced violent opposition and Williamson felt it necessary to move, establishing the museum in Boscastle in 1960. In 1996 Williamson sold the museum to Graham King, who incorporated the Richel Collection of sex magic artefacts from the Netherlands in 2000. The museum was badly damaged during the Boscastle flood of 2004 but thankfully, due to the quick thinking of Graham and his staff, virtually nothing was lost. In 2013 ownership was transferred to Simon Costin and his Museum of British Folklore.

Simon Costin studied Theatre Design at Wimbledon School of Art and since leaving in the mid 80’s, Simon has grown to become an internationally respected art director, set designer and curator. Costin’s artwork has been displayed in many exhibitions worldwide, at venues as diverse as a forest in Argyll, the ICA in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His lifelong passion for Folklore has resulted in the launch of the Museum of British Folklore, a long-term project which aims to establish the UK’s first ever centre devoted to celebrating and researching the UK’s rich folkloric cultural heritage. Since 2013 he has also been the owner and director of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall.