Still widely consulted and appreciated, the works of the nineteenth century Cornish folklore collectors Robert Hunt, William Bottrell, and Margaret Courtney were published against a background of profound upheaval within Cornish society, as its traditional industries collapsed and a third of its population emigrated to the American continent and to the antipodes. Their successors, the folklorists of the early to mid twentieth century, are less well known, but their collections were of similar scope and likewise amassed during a period of societal change. Two of the most significant of them were William Henry Paynter and Barbara Catherine Spooner, both of whom were active as folklore fieldworkers during the inter-war period. This talk sets their practices in context, using archival and published sources, and explores beliefs in the supernatural at a time when such beliefs were in retreat.

Speaker: Jason Semmens, M.A., is the Director of the Museum of Military Medicine and an independent scholar with particular research interests around the history of vernacular beliefs in the supernatural in the South West of England from the sixteenth to twentieth centuries.

Your host for this even is Dr. Amy Hale is an Atlanta-based anthropologist and folklorist writing about esoteric history, art, culture, women and Cornwall in various combinations. Her biography of Ithell Colquhoun, Genius of the Fern Loved Gully, is available from Strange Attractor Press, and she is also the editor of the forthcoming collection Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses from Palgrave Macmillan. Other writings can be found at her Medium site and her website