The next Edinburgh Fortean Society meeting will be an online, live, social meeting on Tuesday the 13th of April at 7.30pm (BST).
Come along and have a chat and find out about future plans and indulge your Fortean social life!
Email Gordon or DM us on Twitter for the meeting ID and password.
In conjunction with the London Fortean Society, Scott Wood will be talking on Urban Legends.
People share urban legends a lot, be they tiny rumours or full blown horror stories, but where do these stories come from and what do they represent? Using three examples of urban legends Scott Wood considers ways of how urban legends are formed and their meaning with stories of the helpful terrorist, the dead body on public transport and the hidden insult. There may be swearing. Urban legends are pieces of cultural ephemera that are also narrative demonstrations of society’s concerns, prejudices and rational blind spots. Urban legends are our contemporary folklore – coarsely humorous, cruel, bigoted and endlessly fascinating.
Scott is the author of London Urban Legends: The Corpse on the Tube and the co-founder of the London Fortean Society.
This talk will be presented live via Zoom and then archived on Youtube.
Organicism and Psychical Research: Where Mushrooms and Mediums Meet
As much as parapsychologists have employed physics and technological metaphors to understand psychical phenomena (spiritual telegraph, waves, forces, and so on), other researchers have also drawn from organismic and biological models in their efforts to ‘matter the paranormal’ through the language of science. Historical examples include Franz Anton Mesmer’s (1784-1814) notion of ‘animal magnetism’ as a subtle fluid that flows through and connects all lifeforms, and which may be manipulated for all manner of therapeutic purposes. Biologist and psychical researcher Hans Driesch (1867-1941) offered a vitalist interpretation of parapsychological phenomena, and Rupert Sheldrake’s ‘New Science of Life’ (Sheldrake, 2009) is a more recent example of this trend. Even the term ‘ectoplasm’ – referring to a mysterious semi-physical substance exuded from the bodies of entranced mediums in Victorian séances – is derived from cellular biology and the research of the physiologist Charles Richet (1850-1935). Both organicist and mechanist interpretations of psychical phenomena are expressions of the same impulse to fit the paranormal into the established frameworks of the hard sciences. Drawing on examples from my own fieldwork with a mediumship development circle in Bristol, this presentation makes the case that an organismic framework might shed new light on the kind of spirit communication that takes place in mediumship development circles, where the paranormal is ‘mattered’ through the biology of the physical body.
Steve Jones : Tales from the Haunted Bathrooms
Toilets and bathrooms are among the most haunted places in buildings. Steve will tell tales of the dead man in the gents’, the phantom groper of Wakefield, his strange experience in Newark and other tales that may make you in need of a bathroom yourself!
Steve founded and runs the Wakefield Pagan Moot, organises the West Yorkshire Pagan Meetup, is the West Yorkshire representative for the CFZ and from 1998 to 2019 was the UK’s only openly pagan magistrate. Steve’s interests include folklore, forteana, paganism and the paranormal. He has appeared on local and national TV and spoken at several fortean events.
Online at YouTube from 7.30pm
The next meeting of the Edinburgh Fortean Society is our traditional Christmas meal / drinking session. Don’t worry, its not a video on Youtube of Gordon drinking and eating! It’s a Zoom meeting so we can all join in – be prepared with a question to test your fellow Forteans with!
Tuesday the 8th of December at 7.30pm (GMT)
Where : Zoom
Starts : Dec 8, 2020 07:30 PM London
Email gordonrutter at gmail.com for the Meeting ID and passcode.
From the Dark Wardie Steps to the Ominous Tally Toor : North Edinburgh Nightmares
“What’s at the bottom of Wardie Steps?” was the question my Grandfather asked me all those years ago.
He was a man with a lifetime of experience at sea who acquired the rank of Chief Petty Officer and would later sail on countless vessels in Scottish waters and afar.
During his years, my Grandfather relayed many tales of local history to me and many ghost stories.
It was here that my curiosity began. The tale of a trawlerman terrorised onboard a cursed voyage only to appear face to face with a ghostly nautical apparition scared me to no end.
After hearing the frightening tale of “Slange Var,” I remained hooked.
My passion for ghost stories commenced at a young age. I discovered many terrifying tales from the boundaries of North Edinburgh. Now so shall you.
Listen to a terrifying recollection from an ex-employee of the ominous Craigcrook Castle.
Discover the alarming tale of a mysterious bed inside a Granton property and the recently deceased owner who returned to reclaim his prize possession.
The talk goes live at 7.30pm BST on Gordon’s Youtube channel.
Sharon Hill is a licensed geologist in Pennsylvania with a life-long interest in anomalous natural phenomena and paranormal belief. A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University Geosciences program, she also obtained a Masters of Education focused on Science and the Public from the State University of New York at Buffalo and works as a manager for the Department of Environmental Resources of Pennsylvania in the Mining bureau. She is a contributor to Fortean Times magazine, has published journal articles about ghosts in popular culture, and authored the book Scientifical Americans: The Culture of Amateur Paranormal Researchers.