Fortean London

Things have been a bit quiet of late so I thought I'd tell you a bit about my proposed Summer Holiday trip to London.

Me being me there are two things that are quite important - firstly I want to pack as much into my time there as possible and secondly I want there to be a strong Fortean theme running throughout.

There was one item in the calendar I wanted to see - I'm a member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) so I thought I'd better try and get to one of their lectures so that was a fixed point in terms of dates, everything else could potentially be fitted in around it. So I started looking around at what is on in London that I could fit in.

Firstly I was delighted to find that I could take in a lecture by Benjamin Creme - emissary for Maitreya (basically the second coming and he's already here - apparently he lives somewhere in the East End of London - I wonder if I could pop round for a cup of tea?). I know the basic Maitreya story having been to a couple of Edinburgh based lectures - the lecturer was inspired to join the movement after hearing Creme talk. So he must be inspirational! Oh and he's in his 80's so best to get him whilst I still can!

Next up is a talk and walk by Scott Wood of the South East London Folklore Society (SELFS). Part of the London Magtastic series of events Scott will "take a short tour around London Bridge which will
feature ghostly, monstrous and magical sites. See the sites of a magical
battle with a ghost, the legend of Mary Overy, a wife's ghostly onslaught,
the wizard-artist's studio and much more
". Sounds good to me.

And as announced on the Fortean Times Message Board there's a walk around the Bow area of London taking in some of the locations visited by Spring Heeled Jack. "Sunday July 13th 7:30pm. Spring Heel Jack walk in Bow. Exploring the mystery and legends of the 1838 manifestation of Spring
Heeled Jack at the location of one of his most dramatic encounters.

A stroll around Bow Necropolis preceeds a drift around Bow ending
at Bearbinder Lane and the Morgan Arms pub (possibly SHJ's fav pub!). Meet outside Bow Road tube at 7:30pm (walk takes between 1 and 2 hours depending on numbers)."

Exhibitions of a Fortean nature abound - The Treasures of Tutankhamun at the O2 Dome, the Terracotta Warriors at the British Museum (with a quick diversion to see their Crystal Skull) and even a Jack the Ripper exhibition. University College London are also having a themed series of lectures at the moment - the theme being cryptozoology. Regretably their talk for this month clashes with Maitreya, so I'm afraid UCL misses out here.

There are various other diversions on offer as well - a trip to the Hunterian Museum - an anatomcial museum with a few extra pieces making it a genuine Cabinet of Curiosities, Highgate cemetery is a possible - I've been a few times in the past but weather permitting it's always worth a trip. The site of the Highgate Vampire incident and all the associated highjinks as well as the location for many a Hammer Horror film! You know it's got to be good. And if I time it right I should be able to get on a guided tour of the Western Cemetery - an area which now is only open to tours (the Eastern cemetery is open on a daily basis).

As well as all of this there are drinks with various Forteans, general shopping and a trip to the National Records Office at Kew to track down my ancestors.

Unfortunately the timing doesn't work for the London meeting of Skeptics in the Pub (although they did ask if I would like to give a talk) nor Chris French's monthly research lectures at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU) at Goldsmith's College. But then I guess you can't have everything!

All told a trip full of Fortean potential and the only one that was deliberatley planned was the SPR date. It's amazing what you can find when you look!

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