UnCon 2010

A quick plug for Fortean Times UnConvention 2010

The weekend of 23rd adn 24th of October, the following talk and speakers are on offer

The final line-up for Uncon has now been confirmed, including two
special Sunday panels - Rendlesham and Ufology, with David Clarke, Ian
Ridpath, Peter Brookesmith and special guest Nick Pope, and Forteana and
Fiction, with authors Mark Chadbourn, Adam Nevill and Natasha Mostert.

Saturday

THE BOSOM
SERPENT
- Jan Bondeson
Which Fortean has not heard of the old stories of animals –
like snakes, lizards, frogs and toads – living as parasites in the human
stomach? As the ‘bosom serpents’ nourish themselves from the steady
supply of ready-chewed food, their human host becomes increasingly
emaciated. One day, when he or she lies down snoring, jaws gaping wide,
the head of a snake emerges from the mouth to take its bearings, like
the periscope of a submarine. Since the 18th century, the bosom serpent
has been largely relegated to the realm of folklore, but it is still
with us, incorporated into the modern newspaper myths, like that of the
25-year-old Syrian woman taken into hospital, complaining of severe
stomach pains and found to have a six-foot snake lodged in her
intestines!

Jan Bondeson is a senior lecturer and consultant
rheumatologist at Cardiff University. His first book, published in 1996,
was
The Prolific Countess, a historical study of multiple births. He
has since written many other books, including
Cabinet of Medical
Curiosities, The Feejee Mermaid, The Two-headed Boy and other Medical
Marvels, The Great Pretenders, The Cat Orchestra and the Elephant Butler and the best-selling Buried Alive, a study of the history of the signs
of death and the risk of being buried prematurely.

FORTEAN THEMES IN DOCTOR WHO - Paul Cornell
For
such a long running SF TV show, Doctor Who has touched upon truly
Fortean themes surprisingly infrequently. But what’s there is very
interesting, from the Ancient Astronaut theories of the Jon Pertwee era
to three different sinkings of Atlantis and two different Loch Ness
Monsters. Paul Cornell, writer for the modern version of the show,
charts the history and sums up the approaches.

Paul Cornell is a writer of SF and fantasy in
television, books and comics. His Doctor Who episodes are ‘Father’s Day’
and ‘Human Nature’ / ‘The Family of Blood’. He’s currently writing
Action Comics for DC Comics, and his medical horror pilot Pulse was
screened on BBC3 earlier this year.

MAGICAL
MINDSCAPES
- Paul Devereux
A very visual presentation on the ways peoples down the
ages have invested meaning in their native landscapes (unlike our own
culture). From the Nazca lines to Buddhist soundscapes, from earthen
effigies built by American Indians to ancient acoustic Chinese gardens,
from the music of Stonehenge’s stones to the secret topographical
imagery of pre-dynastic Egypt. And more! Coincides with the publication
of Paul's major new book, Sacred Geography (Gaia Books).

Paul Devereux is a veteran researcher, occasional
broadcaster, and author on things mysterious and strange, with well over
20 books and countless articles to his credit, plus a range of
peer-reviewed papers. He focuses especially on the anthropology and
archaeology of consciousness, exotic geophysical phenomena, and altered
mind states. He lectures around the world to all kinds of audiences and
conducts field research. He's Managing Editor and a co-founder of the
academic publication,
Time & Mind - the Journal of Archaeology,
Consciousness and Culture, a research affiliate with the Royal College
of Art, and archaeology columnist for
Fortean Times.


THE
BLUE DOGS OF TEXAS
- Jon and Corinna Downes
In the early winter of 2004 Jon Downes went to Texas
to make an abortive TV show. Whilst he was there he examined the
skeleton of a blue, dog-like creature. Despite all the claims that these
animals are nothing more than mangy coyotes, Jon became intrigued, and
five and a half years later, together with his new (and eminently
sensible) wife Corinna, he went back to Texas to try and clear the
mystery up. Needless to say, they found even more questions than
answers.

Jonathan Downes is the Director of the Centre
for Fortean Zoology
, an organisation which he founded in 1992. He has
spent the last 20 years wandering around the world in search of hitherto
unknown species of animals. Five years ago, after years of confirmed
bachelorhood, he met administrator and novelist Corinna and a couple of
years later found himself with a new wife, and two lovely
step-daughters. The CFZ has changed immeasurably since Jon got his foot
caught in the tender trap and this is, believe me, no bad thing.

WIRED FOR GOD? - Charles Foster
Siberian shamans,
whirling sufis, entranced Bushmen; hypnotism and magic mushrooms;
hymn-singing in the suburbs and ecstatic drumming in the African night;
speaking in tongues and UFOs, near-death experiences and epileptics
nuns; Neolithic tomb architecture and tantric sex; God-helmets,
God-spots and God-genes. We all have ‘spiritual experiences’. Do they
tell us anything about what it means to be human, and if so, what? Do
they suggest that there's anything out there that is trying to relate to
us?

Charles Foster is a Fellow of Green Templeton College,
Oxford. He has written, edited or contributed to well over 30 books,
including
Tracking the Ark of the Covenant, The Jesus Inquest, The
Selfless Gene, and Wired for God: The biology of spiritual experience.
All his books are fumbling attempts to work out what on Earth we’re
doing on this most extraordinary of all conceivable planets. He lives in
Oxford and spends a lot of time in the Middle East and Africa.


THE SOUTH SHIELDS POLTERGEIST
CASE
- Mike Hallowell
Mike will be talking about the South Shields Poltergeist case, and
the book of the same name which he wrote with fellow researcher Darren W
Ritson. He will also explain how the authors were abused, threatened,
vilified and terrorised afterwards – none of which, intriguingly, he
blames upon the poltergeist. 
During his talk Mike will detail some of
the absurd (and frankly hilarious) criticisms that were levelled at the
authors by sceptics and rationalists across the globe. He will also
recount how the authors were largely vindicated.
 Mike and Darren have
magnanimously forgiven their idiotic detractors, but just want them to
remember that they know where they live.

Mike is a full-time freelancer with twelve books
and over 1,000 features and columns under his belt. He specialises in
Geordie Forteana, which he describes as, “weirdness marinated in brown
ale”. Mike has written his weekly newspaper column
WraithScape for well
over a decade, and possesses one of the largest private archives of
clippings relating to Geordie strangeness. He currently pens the
Backlight column for UFO Matrix and the Geordie Monsters blog for the
Centre for Fortean Zoology’s website. Known as the Wizard of Weird by
his friends and enemies alike, he confesses to being weird, but not a
wizard. Although he is. Sort of.

ON HAVING NO HEAD - Jeremy Harte
Where have they gone, those victims of the scaffold who once walked
through historic houses, carrying their own heads? They were the genteel
version of a goblin deformity found in the woman who ran through a
Yorkshire barn, holding her head before her with light streaming out of
the eyes and mouth, or the headless bear which bounded into a Puritan’s
bedroom in Somerset. In Tudor times, visitors to Man could see the
headless spectres that filled the island, as long as they put their foot
on the foot of a native. Decapitation was no impediment to the headless
and dismembered Wild Hunt seen by the Shaman of Oberstdorf, or to the
cephalophoric saints. St. Denis walked six miles through Paris after his
decapitation. “It’s easy”, he told the crowd, “once you get started”.
Jeremy Harte looks at a 2,000-year old motif and offers some
explanations.

Jeremy Harte is a researcher into the overlap
between folklore and archaeology, with a particular interest in sacred
space, tales of encounters with the supernatural, and the traditions of
Dorset, where he grew up. He has published widely in academic and
alternative journals, and is co-editor of the magazine
Time & Mind. His books include Cuckoo Pounds and Singing Barrows, The Green Man, English Holy Wells and the award-winning Explore Fairy Traditions. He trained as a museum professional, and is curator of the Bourne Hall Museum at Ewell in Surrey.



IT IS ROCKET SCIENCE!
- Helen Keen
Comedian Helen Keen’s award-winning space-based show is soon to become a
Radio 4 series. But you can see it now with a cosmos of costumes, a
meteor shower of jokes, and approximately 99 feet of tinfoil...
Featuring Space Nazis! Satanists! And Actual Aeronautical Engineers! It
Is Rocket Science!
will take you on a whistle stop tour around the Great
Brains who put monkeys, ladies, dogs and gentlemen into orbit.

Helen Keen is a comedian and writer. In 2005 she won the first Channel 4
New Comedy Writing Award. Since then she has written for, among others,
Channel 4’s
Friday Night Project and BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show.
Her own live shows mix stand-up with science, storytelling and dodgy
props to spin comedy out of such arcane and unlikely subjects as
19th-century Arctic exploration, or the development of the space rocket.
“This sophisticated rising star is one to watch”
The Guardian


ALIEN BIG CATS OF OZ - Rebecca Lang
It’s one of our
greatest wildlife mysteries: are there really big black cats running
around Australia and New Zealand? The big cat mystery has been the
subject of much debate and fascination for more than a century in the
Antipodes, where it has been blamed for significant stock losses, pet
deaths and terrorising people living in rural areas. Rebecca will
discuss some of the best cases that have come to light in the past 30
years, which appear to support the existence of Alien Big Cats in Oz,
and delve into the rich vein of wartime big cat sightings that could be
the source for the Kiwi cat conundrum.

Rebecca Lang is an Australian journalist and editor who has written
about a number of fortean subjects during her 20-year career including
table-tilting, yowies, big cats and min-min lights. Along with Michael
Williams, she is the co-author of the recently-published
Australian Big
Cats: An Unnatural History of Panthers and is affiliated with the Centre for Fortean Zoology. She also owns the Australian fortean website Strange Nation and is affiliated with the Centre
for Fortean Zoology.

THE ABUSES OF ENCHANTMENT - Mark Pilkington
In this
audio-visual presentation Mark shows how military and intelligence
operators have shaped and exploited beliefs in UFOs, ghosts, monsters,
vampires, and elements from folklore and conspiracy theory to create an
armoury of supernatural weapons of mass deception. The inspiration for
these toys, tools and techniques has come from a range of sources
including fiction, cinema, stage magic, advertising and occultism.

Mark Pilkington has written for Fortean Times, the Guardian, Sight & Sound, The Wire, Frieze, The Anomalist and a host of other magazines and journals. His book Mirage Men: An Adventure into Disinformation, Paranoia and UFOs was published in July 2010.  Mark also runs Strange Attractor Press,
editing and publishing its occasional Journal, organising events and
exhibitions and broadcasting on Resonance FM. When not squinting at
words, Mark can be found playing synthesisers and electronic gizmos with
musical outfits including Disinformation, The Asterism, Raagnagrok and
Urthona

THE RENDLESHAM FOREST UFO INCIDENT: DECONSTRUCTING A MYTH - Ian Ridpath
In the past quarter of a century, the Rendlesham Forest incident has
become one of the top ten UFO cases in the world as voted by UFO
believers, and is now often described as the “British Roswell”. Here,
skeptical investigator Ian Ridpath looks at the main points of the case
and provides explanations for each in turn, correcting various
misunderstandings and pointing out how various unsubstantiated claims
have passed uncontested into a body of unreliable knowledge that has
already taken on the status of a modern myth. For further information on
the results of Ian’s investigations, see
 his website.

Ian Ridpath is a popular writer and broadcaster on astronomy 
and space
with a particular interest in the way astronomical 
phenomena are
misidentified as UFOs. He produced the first full 
explanation of the
Rendlesham Forest UFO case back in 1984 and 
marvels at the way the myth
has grown ever since.

BERWYN: THE WELSH ROSWELL? - Andy Roberts
On 23 January 1974, people living in and
around the Berwyn Mountains of North Wales were startled by an enormous
explosion accompanied by lights in the sky. Other lights were seen on
the mountainside and police switchboards were jammed with calls from
terrified witnesses. Fearing a plane had crashed a local nurse drove on
to the mountain road where she saw a huge glowing light on the remote
hillside. Rumour had it she was ordered off the mountain by the military
and over the next few days, the area was flooded with police and others
searching the mountains. Over the years various sources have come
forward to suggest a UFO had crashed or landed and was retrieved by the
military, earning the case the title of the Welsh Roswell. UFOs, cover
ups, MIBs, lights in the sky – the Berwyn Mountain UFO case has every
UFO motif going! Andy Roberts has spent 12 years investigating the
events and new evidence has recently come to light that has shaken his
scepticism about some aspects of this complex UFO case.

Andy Roberts is a veteran fortean
researcher, author and a frequent contributor to
Fortean Times. His
interests centre on the point where the human instrument interacts
with aspects of the external environment, and how these perceptions
create experiences and beliefs which suggest the universe is really a
multiverse; specific areas include UFOs and ufology, urban legends,
cryptozoology, psychedelic drugs, mountain legends, ritual
landscapes and much more. In the real world Andy is a senior manager for
a Housing Association.

Sunday

LIGHTS, CAMERA, COVERT ACTION: THE DEEP POLITICS OF HOLLYWOOD - Matthew Alford and Robbie Graham
Focusing on two little-known cases of government and military
interference in Hollywood, this talk highlights the seriousness with
which Washington has long regarded the potential of motion pictures to
shape popular perception of fortean issues and events. Robbie Graham
will document in detail efforts made by the United States Air Force to
tame the UFO-related content of a 1959 episode of the Steve Canyon TV
series, bringing it in line with the CIA Robertson Panel’s
recommendation to demystify UFOs through mass media channels. Matthew
Alford will elucidate the bizarre circumstances surrounding the
mysterious disappearance and death in 1997 of Hollywood screenwriter
Gary Devore, shining a light into the most shadowy corners of Tinseltown
to reveal a tapestry of spies, lies and murder. Discussing these and other cases through the lens of “deep politics”,
Graham and Alford will examine the clandestine influences at work in
Hollywood today.

Matthew Alford is the author of Reel Power: Hollywood Cinema and
American Supremacy (Pluto Press, 2010). He has a Masters degree in
History, Film and Television from the University of Birmingham and a
Ph.D from the University of Bath. He has written for peer-reviewed
journals such as
Westminster Papers for Communication and Culture, 49th
Parallel, and Global Media and Communication. His work with Robbie Graham has featured in The Guardian, New Statesman,
Filmfax and Fortean Times. They have appeared on BBC Radio Scotland’s Movie Cafe and are featured in the Canal+ television documentary Spies
in Hollywood.

Robbie Graham has a Masters degree in
Cinema Studies from the University of Bristol where he is currently a
full time doctoral candidate examining Hollywood’s historical
representations of UFOs and potential extraterrestrial life. Robbie has
spoken about his research as a guest on America’s
Coast to Coast AM radio show and his individual work on UFOs and Hollywood has featured in a variety of publications including Fortean Times, Paranormal Magazine, UFOlogist and UFO Data.


THE VAMPIRE RABBIT AND ITS KIN
- Gail-Nina Anderson
Sweet, fluffy little bobtails? Not a bit of it! See the hidden side
of rabbits and hares as folklore, art and popular culture reveal some
surprising beliefs. From Mary Toft (who gave birth to quite a few) to
the Venerable Bede, Boudicca, James Stewart and the Easter Bunny, this
talk explores humanity’s weird relationship with the Lagomorph.
Fertility, witchcraft, divination, pagan symbolism, a non-existent
goddess and the world’s largest knitted art-work, not to mention the
mysterious Vampire Rabbit of Newcastle, an inexplicable sculpture that
has spawned its own mythology; down the rabbit-hole, it’s stranger than
you think.

Dr Gail-Nina Anderson is an elderly Goth who has
spent a lifetime nurturing her natural streak of morbidity. Trained as
an art historian, she works in Newcastle as a freelance arts journalist
and lecturer, specialising in the imagery and folklore of vampires. She
lectures academically on Pre-Raphaelite art, and is currently organizing
an exhibition for Japan. She has had several short stories published
plus the occasional exhibition catalogue. A contributor to
FT, assorted UnConventions and Weird Weekends, her worldly delights
are mourning jewelry and red wine.

QUEEN VICTORIA’S STALKER - Jan Bondeson
After her coronation in
1838, Queen Victoria was relentlessly pursued by a weird teenager,
Edward ‘the Boy’ Jones, who had an uncanny ability to sneak into
Buckingham Palace without being detected. Once, he broke into her
bedroom and stole her underwear, and at least twice he sat on the
throne. As a result of his multiple intrusions into Buckingham Palace,
the Boy Jones became a media celebrity and a major headache for Lord
Melbourne’s government, who went to extraordinary lengths to get rid of
him. In this talk, the Boy Jones will be compared with other palace
intruders and celebrity stalkers, and the moral question of what lengths
the authorities should be allowed to go to ‘remove’ a royal stalker,
potential assassin or terrorist will be discussed. After all, the Boy
Jones was held captive in breach of habeas corpus for longer than any
wartime saboteur or fascist, IRA member or Muslim terrorist.

Jan Bondeson is a senior lecturer and consultant
rheumatologist at Cardiff University. His first book, published in 1996,
was
The Prolific Countess, a historical study of multiple births. He
has since written many other books, including
Cabinet of Medical
Curiosities, The Feejee Mermaid, The Two-headed Boy and other Medical
Marvels, The Great Pretenders, The Cat Orchestra and the Elephant Butler and the best-selling Buried Alive, a study of the history of the signs
of death and the risk of being buried prematurely.

IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY: NEW LIGHT ON THE
RENDLESHAM MYSTERY
- Dr David Clarke
Thirty years have passed since the Rendlesham
forest UFO sightings, often described as “Britain’s Roswell”. This
presentation seeks to find an alternative to the belief/disbelief
debate, one that is more satisfying from the fortean perspective. I will
argue that once such events are interpreted as contemporary legends the
boundaries between fact and fiction, truth and falsity become less
polarised. I will suggest that Rendlesham and  other reports of
“anomalous lights” are best seen as real, extraordinary experiences,
transformed  by the wider myths and legends of Western society.

Dr David Clarke is head of the Journalism
department at Sheffield Hallam University. He is the author of 10 books
and is a frequent contributor to
FT and TV and radio
productions on UFOs and other fortean phenomena. He has a PhD in
Folklore and is the consultant for The National Archives (TNA) for the
ongoing release of the UFO files collected by Britain’s Ministry of
Defence. His book,
The UFO Files, was published by TNA in September
2009.


RETURN
TO SUMATRA: ON THE TRAIL OF THE ORANG-PENDEK
- Richard Freeman
In September 2009 Adam
Davies, Dr Chris Clark, Dave Archer and Richard Freeman visited the
jungles of Western Sumatra on their latest expedition in search of the
unknown species of upright walking ape known as the orang-pendek. Deep
in the cloud forests around the volcanic lake of Gunung Tujuh, they
finally found it.

Richard Freeman is a cryptozoologist who has
hunted for the orang-pendek in Sumatra, the African dragon Ninki-Nanka,
the giant crested serpent know as the naga in Indo-China, and the
infamous Deathworm of Mongolia’s Gobi desert. He is a former zookeeper
who has worked with over 400 species of animals, and zoological director
of The Centre for Fortean Zoology. He has written a number of books,
including
Dragons: More Than a Myth and Explore Dragons. His latest is The Great Yokai Encyclopedia: An A-Z of Japanese Monsters.

SEX AND THE
POLTERGEIST
- Alan Murdie
Poltergeists are among the best-attested paranormal
phenomena. Many theories have been put forward to explain such
manifestations, but their origin and the force behind them still remain a
mystery. Since the 1930s a number of researchers have theorised that
there is a sexual component in outbreaks of poltergeist activity. In
this lecture Alan Murdie reviews these ideas, and considers what part
sex may have played in a number of classic poltergeist cases, and
whether there is an underlying sexual element behind poltergeist
manifestations.

Alan Murdie is a lawyer specialising in
intellectual property law, civil liberties and the protection of
vulnerable people from excessive debt enforcement. He also has a
long-standing interest in fortean subjects, was chairman of the Ghost
Club between 1998 and 2005 and chairs the Spontaneous Cases Committee of
the Society for Psychical Research. He has investigated numerous
hauntings and anomalous phenomena both in Britain and abroad. He has
written and broadcast extensively on the topic of ghosts and
poltergeists and is the co-author of the
Cambridge Ghost Book (2000),
author of
Haunted Brighton (2006) and Haunted Edinburgh (2007), and
writes the regular
Ghostwatch column for FT.

AMAZING DOPE TALES! - Andy Roberts
The Verve tried to tell us – wrongly – that
‘The drugs don’t work’, Oasis queried our location when they were
getting high, while Donovan exhorted us to partake of the e-lect-rical
banana (bound to be the very next craze, apparently). Whatever your
stance, drugs have underpinned popular culture for the past 50 years and
some pretty strange rumours and urban legends have sprung up about
them. Hippy pipe talk and government propaganda have both conspired to
create a miasma of fortean drug tales weirder than you can possibly
imagine. In ‘Amazing Dope Tales!’ Andy Roberts – backed up by some
entertaining audiovisual material – takes a cynical look at drug rumour
and belief, from reefer madness to blotter tattoos, via acid in the
water supply and all points in between.

Andy Roberts is a veteran fortean
researcher, author and a frequent contributor to
Fortean Times. His
interests centre on the point where the human instrument interacts
with aspects of the external environment, and how these perceptions
create experiences and beliefs which suggest the universe is really a
multiverse; specific areas include UFOs and ufology, urban legends,
cryptozoology, psychedelic drugs, mountain legends, ritual
landscapes and much more. In the real world Andy is a senior manager for
a Housing Association.


A HISTORY OF TALKING TO THE DEAD
- Gordon Rutter
We
all know about EVP and ouija boards but what came before? From the
earliest records of talking to the dead to the modern day, this is an
attempt to answer one of the most important questions of all - whether
we have an existence after death. Attempts to talk to the dead have
encompassed a range of techniques from low to high tech, but which is
most succesful and on what evidence? The oldest known book, one of the
world's most prolific
inventors, and the creator of Sherlock Holmes all put in appearances.

Gordon is a veteran Fortean and frequent
contributor to
FT and other magazines. For the last 10 years he has
organised the Edinburgh Fortean Society (so, if you live in Edinburgh
he’d be more than happy to see you there). Gordon is the author of
Paranormal Newcastle and Paranormal Edinburgh, and of the forthcoming Ghosts on Film 3. Lifelong interests in mushrooms and photography have
also helped Gordon in his fortean pursuits, and his day job is as a
Biology teacher. To date, he has never witnessed a ghost, Nessie or
Bigfoot, but he lives in hope.

UFOS AND CLIMATE CHANGE - Ian Simmons
Conspiracy theories usually get judged on
the basis of the claims that they are making, be they about UFO
evidence, 9/11, Princess Diana or, most recently, climate change.
However, can the form and structure of a conspiracy theory tell us
anything about its viability? How does the idea that climate change is a
conspiracy foisted on us by self-interested environmentalists compare
to the idea that world governments are concealing the truth about UFOs,
and other classic theories? Do the way the theories developed and the
people who developed them show commonalities, and what does this mean
for the likelihood of them being true?

Ian has been writing and sorting clippings for FT since the early 1990s, covering all sorts of topics from fairies
to creationism, skinwalkers to animal cyborgs. He recently edited volume
14 of
The Anomalist: Electricity of the Mind. He lives in Newcastle
Upon Tyne, where he works in science communication.

HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR THEE! BROADSIDE BALLADS AND BROADSHEETS OF 17TH CENTURY ENGLAND - Lucie Skeaping, with Robin Jeffrey on lute and cittern
Comical, political, scandalous or just plain lewd, broadside ballads
acted as both the pop songs and the tabloid press of their day. Printed
in their thousands and sold in the streets, taverns and theatres, they
served up a mix of gossip, remedies, strange happenings, political
comment and sex, revealing a world remarkably similar to our own. With
songs and projected images, and accompanied by lute and cittern, Lucie
explores the content of the ballads, their language, historical context
and tunes - and invites the audience to join in a chorus or two. This
presentation is based on Lucie's book Broadside Ballads (Faber Music)
winner Music Industry Award for Best Classical Music Publication.

Singer,
writer and broadcaster Lucie Skeaping trained at the Royal College of
Music and has been researching and performing broadside ballads since
the 1970s, giving concerts throughout the world with her ensemble The
City Waites. She presents BBC Radio 3’s
Early Music Show, and writes a regular column for BBC Music Magazine.
Collaborations include Shakespeare's Globe, National Theatre and RSC
and she can be heard on numerous soundtracks, including Simon Schama’s
History of Britain, Peter Ackroyd’s London, and Polanski’s The Pianist. Her many recordings include The Musitians of Grope Lane (‘Highly Recommended’ Penguin CD Guide).

SPECIAL PANEL: FORTEANA AND FICTION - Mark Chadbourn, Adam Nevill and Natash Mostert
Our
special panel of prominent names from the world of fantastic literature
– including Mark Chadbourn, Adam Nevill and Natasha Mostert - will be
focusing on the links between forteana and fiction as they discuss the
influence of strange phenomena and personal experience on their writing.
Further guests still to be announced!

Mark Chadbourn, novelist, author of among others the 'mytho-fantasy trilogies,
The Age of Misrule and Kingdom of the Serpent. He is currently writing The Sword of Albion
series set in Elizabethan England in which the not wholly benign forces
of faerie are a reality. Mark is a former print journalist with
encounters of the fortean kind on his CV, a TV script editor and screen
writer and has penned a Hellboy
novel.

Adam Nevill is a London-based novelist, author of Banquet for the Damned, inspired by Colin Wilson. In his latest, Apartment 16,
the spirit of Aleister Crowley meets a hellish Francis Bacon-like
artistic vision in a haunted London apartment block. A Heavy Metal nut,
for almost ten years Adam was the editor of Virgin's erotica imprint.

Natasha Mostert is a South African-born, London-based novelist, author of Season of the Witch and The Keeper.
Remote viewing, out of body experiences, Zero Point Field and withcraft
are strong components of her work. With degrees in Lexicography and
Applied Linguistics Natasha is also a keen kick boxer.

SPECIAL PANEL: RENDLESHAM - THE DEBATE - Nick Pope, Peter Brookesmith, Dr David Clarke and Ian Ridpath
30
years on from the strange events of December 1980 the Rendlesham Forest
UFO encounter remains one of the most controversial in the history of
British ufology. Was it really ‘Britain’s Roswell’, in which American
servicemen came face to face with an extraterrestrial craft? A simple
case of misidentification involving a nearby lighthouse? An elaborate
hoax? Or something else? Our expert panel – including the MoD’s one-time
UFO desk jockey Nick Pope, FT columnist David Clarke, astronomer
Ian Ridpath and ufological troublemaker Peter Brookesmith – will
attempt to separate the fact from the fiction in this special
anniversary debate.

Author and journalist Nick Pope worked for
the Ministry of Defence for 21 years. Between 1991 and 1994 he was
posted to a division where his duties included investigating UFOs.
Initially sceptical, his official research and investigation convinced
him that the UFO phenomenon raised important defence, national security
and flight safety issues. He was particularly interested in cases where
the witnesses were pilots, or where UFOs were tracked on radar. Nick is
now recognised as a leading authority on UFOs, the unexplained and
conspiracy theories.

Peter Brookesmith was the scheming mastermind behind the best-selling partwork The Unexplained
(Orbis 1980-3), from which he graduated with an advanced degree in
scepticism and an indelible interest in anomalous experiences and the
folklore they inspire. Among other things he has been an advertising
copywriter, feckless graduate student, editor of school science texts
for the Nuffield Foundation, semi-pro bass player, and assistant baker.
His first honest job was in a brewery. He has written a number of books:
on ufology, plagues, bugs and bacteria, handguns, and horses. He lives
in Wales with a rifle, a pick-up truck, and an imaginary cat.

Dr
David Clarke is head of the Journalism department at Sheffield Hallam
University. He is the author of 10 books and is a frequent contributor
to
FT and TV and radio productions on UFOs and other fortean
phenomena. He has a PhD in Folklore and is the consultant for The
National Archives (TNA) for the ongoing release of the UFO files
collected by Britain’s Ministry of Defence. His book,
The UFO Files, was published by TNA in September 2009.

Ian
Ridpath is a popular writer and broadcaster on astronomy and space with
a particular interest in the way astronomical phenomena are
misidentified as UFOs. He produced the first full explanation of the
Rendlesham Forest UFO case back in 1984 and marvels at the way the myth
has grown ever since.

 

 

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