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.

Cruel Intentions: Haunted Food & Doomed Relationships in Gothic Literature – Alessandra Pino – Zoom

“He stripped me, gourmand that he was, as if he were stripping the leaves off an artichoke…”

“Til death do us part” carries terrifying significance in some of our most beloved Gothic tales, where feasts are of the flesh, brides are devoured, and bitter tangerines try to warn of impending doom…

From Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and Angela Carter’s short story The Bloody Chamber (quoted above), Alessandra Pino will dissect how food and consumption symbolise more than just sustenance in Gothic literature, unveiling the haunting and horror experienced primarily by female characters in the form of marriage and entrapment.

How does food signal a betrayal of trust? How can a meal give away cruel intentions and murderous instincts? Alessandra will discuss how edible imagery in these stories reveals something sinister lurking beneath the surface and hints at danger ahead. Within these pages lurk gluttonous Gothic villains who devour their victims with greed and glee, while seemingly well-mannered romantic “heroes” with something to hide are exposed by the bitter tang of a sour tangerine, or a barely-touched breakfast banquet. Often, the most dangerous people are the ones closest to you…

Alessandra Pino is a PhD candidate at Westminster University, studying anxiety and the edible in Gothic literature. She is currently co-writing A Gothic Cookbook, a celebration of food and drink in some of the genre’s best stories. Her co-author is food, drinks and travel journalist Ella Buchan, who writes for publications including National Geographic Traveller. The cookbook is illustrated by Lee Henry, a graphic designer and artist whose clients include food companies and stalls at London’s Borough Market.

Malice in Wonderland – Hugo Vickers Zoom Lecture

Hugo Vickers’s life took a dramatic turn in 1979 when the legendary Sir Cecil Beaton invited him to be his authorised biographer. The excitement of working with the famous photographer was dashed only days later when Cecil Beaton died. But the journey had begun – Vickers was entrusted with Beaton’s papers, diaries and, most importantly, access to his friends and contemporaries. The resulting book, first published in 1985, was a bestseller.

In this talk, Malice in Wonderland, Vickers shares excerpts from his personal diaries kept during this period. For five years, Vickers travelled the world and talked to some of the most fascinating and important social and cultural figures of the time, including royalty such as the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, film stars such as Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews, writers such as Truman Capote, and photographers such as Irving Penn and Horst. Lady Diana Cooper, Clarissa Avon and Diana Vreeland took him under their wings. And not only did he seek out Beaton’s friends – Vickers sought out the enemies too, notably Irene Selznick.

Drawn into Beaton’s world and accepted by its members, Vickers the emerging biographer also began his own personal adventure. The outsider became the insider – Beaton’s friends became his friends. Malice in Wonderland is a fascinating portrait of a now disappeared world, and vividly and sensitively portrays some of its most fascinating characters as we travel with Vickers on his quest.

Hugo Vickers is a writer and broadcaster, who has written biographies of many twentieth century figures, including the Queen Mother, Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough, Cecil Beaton, Vivien Leigh, a study of Greta Garbo, Alice, Princess Andrew of Greece, and his book, The Private World of The Duke and Duchess of Windsor was illustrated with pictures from their own collection. Mr Vickers’s book, The Kiss – The Story of an Obsession won the 1996 Stern Silver Pen Award for Non-Fiction. Malice in Wonderland is his most recent book

Every Day is Halloween with Lisa Morton on Zoom

When Ministry put out “(Every Day is) Halloween” in 1984, they probably had no idea how prophetic that song would prove to be. In the 1980s and prior, celebrating Halloween was limited to one day a year and mostly English-speaking countries, but in 2021 Halloween is both a global culture and a daily lifestyle.

How did an autumn festival based on ancient Celtic beliefs conquer the world? Halloween is now at the center of a gigantic year-round industry (haunted attractions), has provided the basis for everything from Facebook groups to tattoos to sitcoms, and is celebrated in unexpected places like Russia, China, and Mexico. The story of Halloween’s explosive growth is all about canny retailing, uncanny art, and our shared love for what scares us.

Lisa Morton is considered one of the world’s leading experts on Halloween and the supernatural. Her books include Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween, The Halloween Encyclopaedia, Ghosts: A Haunted History, and Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances. She is also an acclaimed writer of horror fiction and a six-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®. She lives in the Los Angeles area and online at lisamorton.com .

Metaphysical Michael Jackson – Shannon Taggart – Zoom lecture

During her study of Spiritualism, Shannon Taggart encountered mediums who claimed to be in contact with the spirit of Michael Jackson. These séance experiences led her to contemplate the mysterious life and afterlife of the ‘King of Pop.’ This illustrated presentation will consider Michael Jackson’s curious dead/alive status and explore him as the ultimate liminal figure, blurring the binaries: black/white, male/female, child/adult, good/evil, human/god, man/animal, reality/fantasy, and even the states of awake/asleep. Materials drawn from popular culture will demonstrate Michael Jackson’s status as a contemporary mythical figure and reveal his parallels with the gods, saints, and shamans of the past.

Shannon Taggart is an artist based in St. Paul, MN, USA, exploring the intersection between Spiritualism and photography. She first became aware of Spiritualism as a teenager, after a medium revealed details about her grandfather’s death that proved to be true. In 2001, she began photographing where that message was received:  Lily Dale, New York, home to the world’s largest Spiritualist community. Her project expanded to include séance rooms around the world in a quest to find and photograph ectoplasm – the elusive substance that is said to be both spiritual and material. Taggart’s work has been exhibited and featured internationally, including at The Gallery of Everything in London, and within the publications TIME, New York Times Magazine, Discover, and Newsweek. Her images have been recognized by Nikon, Magnum Photos and the Inge Morath Foundation, American Photography and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. Taggart’s monograph, SÉANCE (Fulgur Press, 2019), was named one of TIME’s ‘Best Photobooks of 2019.’

IMAGE TITLES:

1. Statue of a Woman, Egyptian, c.1550 B.C.-1070 B.C., Field Museum, Chicago, USA.

2. The Spirit of Michael Jackson, by medium Sylvia Howarth.

The Krampus & The Old, Dark Christmas with Al Ridenour / Zoom lecture

The Krampus, a folkloric devil associated with St. Nicholas in Alpine Austria and Germany, has lately been embraced outside his homeland as a sort of icon of a countercultural Christmas. While jarringly out of place with the modern English holiday, in the old world from which he comes, the Krampus fit right in. The Alpine Christmas was a season haunted by ghosts, witches, devilish horsemen, and even murderous incarnations of Catholic saints. Central to this folklore are the Perchten, Alpine demons on which the Krampus is based. In Austria, these creatures were connected to Frau Perchta, a witch-like being who threatened naughty children with disemboweling. In Germany, her peer was Frau Holle, ruler of a fabulous realm hidden beneath a mountain deep within the Thuringian Forest.

 

Al Ridenour, author of The Krampus and the Old Dark Christmas, returns to The Last Tuesday Society for a virtual presentation jam-packed with rarely seen photographs and archival film clips. His book, the only in-depth English-language study of the Krampus and has been praised by LA Times critic Elizabeth Hart as “gleefully erudite,” a work that “deserves to become a classic.” Ridenour also writes and produces the popular folk- horror/history podcast Bone and Sickle, has crafted Krampus masks and suits for purchase and organized Krampus plays and parades in his hometown of Los Angeles.

Clay, Folklore, and Landscape in Cornwall’s Clay Country with Zenna Tagney / Zoom

The Clay Country is an area of mid-Cornwall that is the site of the only large-scale extraction of kaolin, or ‘China Clay’, in the UK. This is due to its remarkable geology: kaolin is derived from granite at a particular stage of decomposition, and Cornwall is the only place in the UK where this is found in abundance. The working area of Clay Country, which has been radically shaped by the clay industry over the last 250 years, covers around 25 square miles of land, mostly former moorland, but also including villages and other settlements, and coastal ports.

The culture of the area is deeply connected with the landscape, and has been shaped along with it. For example, local stories tell of pellars (‘wise women’) whose remedies use products from the land, piskies that might lead you astray on the moors, and spirits that inhabit the earth. Zenna Tagney’s haunting and stirring ceramics and sculptures explore the folklore and culture of the Cornish Clay Country. Here, illustrated by her own work, Tagney will tease out some of the interwoven threads of place and story, landscape and culture, in this important but often overlooked area of Cornwall.

Bio: Zenna Tagney is a Cornish artist and community project facilitator. Zenna creates ceramic and mixed-media sculpture, incorporating materials gathered directly from the Cornish landscape. Her work draws inspiration from her upbringing in the world of traditional Cornish music and culture, and draws on themes and characters from local stories, folklore, and traditions. She is particularly interested in how these tales and traditions are embedded in the landscape. She has been exploring this relationship in the context of her home area, the ‘Clay Country’ and investigating how shifting landscape and industry has affected the folklore of this area.