Scott Wood of London Fortean Society highlights a few upcoming events that explore the supernatural, folkloric or otherwise strange.
London’s most paranormal bunch, in a nice way, are the London Fortean Society whose event on 30 April is a dissection of the Derbyshire Mummified Fairy, a hoax created by prop-and-illusion-maker Dan Baines. As well as a dissection of the hoax, Dan will explain why he did it and the strange repercussions that followed. He says the talk will be "a modern account on what can happen when one unexpectedly opens a door to a long-forgotten world and the secrets it can uncover".
Lost thoughts and archives are covered in Marginal Presences: Unorthodox Belief And Practice, 1837-2014 at Senate House on 23 April from 1pm. The symposium is dedicated to "the marginal but persistent minority with their restless doubts, controversial lifestyles and utopian dreams". Included in that are Professor Roger Luckhurst on Pervert, Cannibal, Occultist, Negrophile: The Case of the Forgotten Modernist, William B Seabrook; and Preserving The Unlawful: An Anonymous Hoarder Of Suppressed Material In The Library, delivered by Dr Richard Espley. And there’s plenty more delicious ephemera in the full programme besides.
For more unknown pleasures, Mark Pilkington hosts Robert Irwin, author of The Arabian Nightmare and Prayer Cushions of the Flesh, revealing lost Arabic stories in Tales Of The Marvellous And News Of The Strange at the Last Tuesday Society on 27 April. Here be "monsters, lost princes, jewels beyond price, a princess turned into a gazelle, sword-wielding statues" that survived from "a single ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul". Some of these stories — though 1,000-years-old — are new to the English-speaking world.
More folk stories will be told at Yellow Door Storytellers which hosts an evening of tales on 26 April. This is behind the actual yellow door of Manero's Private Members Club from 6pm on Kingsland Road. John Hess provides fairy tale tunes, and Vanessa Woolf-Hoyle resets folky scares in the contemporary city. The full line up is on the Facebook event page.
For something more overtly theatrical, on 19 April there is a reading of the play The Spiritualists at Conway Hall from 4pm-6pm. It's the story of a fake medium who unravels when she meets a sceptical woman and events that she usually fakes start to happen for real.
Finally, an exhibition of illustrations inspired by Britain’s grisliest folklore is being held at Studio 73 in Brixton Village until 25 April. "Through the medium of print, pencil, paint and pig’s blood," we’re told, "these three warlocks have studied cursed tomes ancient and modern. And now they bring you a compendium of much that is odd from around these most ancient and sceptred of lands". Sounds pretty good.