Taken from her acclaimed book Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances, Lisa Morton explores our fascination with talking to the dead in this illustrated presentation. Beginning with how the common perception of the seance differs from the reality, Lisa will also explore the history of this extraordinary practice, all the way from Odysseus seeking otherworldly advice and King Saul defying his own ban on witchcraft, to the horrifying Roman witch Erichtho and the medieval necromancers, to the Victorian obsession with Spiritualism and seances. Lisa wraps up this overview with a few words about contemporary psychics, the most recent seance movies, and the current craze for paranormal investigating.

Along the way we’ll meet Edward Kelley, the medium who helped Dr. John Dee converse with angels; the Fox sisters, teenagers surrounded by ‘spirit rappings’; Daniel Dunglas Home, the ‘greatest medium of all time’; Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whose unlikely friendship was forged, then riven, by the afterlife; and Helen Duncan, the medium whose trial in 1944 for witchcraft proved more popular to the public than news about the war. The talk also considers Ouija boards, the Society for Psychical Research, and skepticism vs. belief.

Speaker: Lisa Morton is a screenwriter, author of non-fiction books, and prose writer whose work was described by the American Library Association’s Readers’ Advisory Guide to Horror as “consistently dark, unsettling, and frightening.” She is a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, the author of four novels and over 150 short stories, and a world-class Halloween expert. Her recent releases include Weird Women: Classic Supernatural Fiction from Groundbreaking Female Writers 1852-1923 (co-edited with Leslie S. Klinger) and Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances. Lisa lives in Los Angeles and online at www.lisamorton.com.