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Sat, Jul 29



Part 2: Shannon Taggart’s The Science of Things Spiritual Symposium

Presentations on the history of Spiritualism, the supernatural, and related topics.

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Part 2: Shannon Taggart’s The Science of Things Spiritual Symposium
Part 2: Shannon Taggart’s The Science of Things Spiritual Symposium

Time & Location

Jul 29, 2023, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Auditorium, Lily Dale, NY 14718, USA

About the Event

Symposium, Part II: Presentations on the history of Spiritualism, the supernatural, and related topics.

9:00 am

An Introduction to Lily Dale, with Michele Takei In this presentation, Lily Dale resident, feminist scholar, and founder of Women’s Day Michele (Shelley) Takei, explores what makes Lily Dale both historically important and metaphysically unique. Part one will discuss the town’s past and its essential role in the 19th-century women’s rights movement. Part two will address why defining Spiritualism is difficult, unpacking the slippery definitions embraced at one time or another. Part three will examine the religion’s deep, original, and continuing relationship with science. Shelley will also share a personal story concerning synchronicity and past lives that speaks to Lily Dale’s magic and its ‘site-specific consciousness.’

10:00 am

“You Are to Do What We Say": The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle and his Spirit Guide Pheneas, with Michael W. Homer

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle encountered a spirit named Pheneas through the mediumship of his wife from 1922-1930. Doyle published approximately one-third of these revelations in Pheneas Speaks (1927) and contemplated supplementing them with another book after Pheneas’ prophecies led to the establishment of a worldwide Spiritualist church. But when Doyle died in 1930, several letters were published in which he wondered if spirits from the other side had misled him. Michael W. Homer’s presentation will use previously unpublished materials to explore the séances in which Pheneas appeared to Doyle’s home circle.

11:00 am

Dr. Raymond Buckland’s ‘Wide World of Spirit’, with Steven Intermill, Director of the Buckland Museum, Cleveland

Raymond Buckland first came to prominence in the 1960s as a spokesperson for the modern Witchcraft movement, but he had other metaphysical influences as well. Inspired by his uncle George, Buckland was a student of Spiritualism, acquiring his first spirit board at a young age and continuing his fascination throughout his life. The director of Cleveland's Buckland Museum, Steven Intermill, will explore Buckland's interest in Spiritualism and his summers spent in Lily Dale during his last years. This presentation will also introduce prominent occultists whose interest in Spiritualism overlapped with Buckland, including Austin Osman Spare, Gerald Gardner, and Leo Martello.

Break – 12:00 – 2pm

2:00 pm

Spiritual Spectacles: Mother’s Work and the Shaker Era of Manifestations, with Maria Molteni

The Shakers are often called America’s longest lasting “Utopia.” Since their arrival from England in 1766, they’ve sought to build Heaven on Earth within organized, egalitarian communes. While widely known for their fervent worship styles, strict celibacy and excellent design, a brief period of their history known as “The Era of Manifestations” brought forth exceptionally fruitful spirit communication. From roughly 1837-1857 first-generation Shakers, such as early leader Mother Ann Lee (believed to be the Second Coming of Christ as “Holy Mother Wisdom”), appeared to young Shaker “instruments” who channeled their messages. Visual recordings of these correspondences are now known as the Gift Drawings or “Mother’s Work”. This lecture will contextualize the Era of Manifestations, its overlap with Spiritualism, and some of Molteni’s responsive artwork as artist and researcher-in-residence at Hancock, Canterbury, and Harvard Shaker Villages.

3:00 pm

A History of London’s College of Psychic Studies, with Gillian Matini, Principal, College of Psychic Studies, London.  Founded in 1884, The College of Psychic Studies occupies six floors of a Victorian townhouse in London. It has hosted many of the world’s greatest mediums, including Helen Duncan and Eileen Garrett. Eminent Presidents include Rev Stainton Moses and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Psychic investigator Harry Price tested mediums at the college for his ‘National Laboratory of Psychical Research.’ Generations of scholars have used its fine collection of esoteric books, including Nandor Fodor and Frank Podmore,. The college also houses an astonishing archive, including spirit-inspired art by Georgiana Houghton, Anna Howitt Watts, and Ethel Le Rossignol, along with artifacts such as Helen Duncan’s scrying mirror and Stainton Moses’ crystal ball. Today, the college continues with talks, classes, workshops, and consultations on psychic studies, personal growth, and healing, complimented by exhibitions showcasing spirit-inspired art. In this illustrated presentation, College principal Gillian Matini guides us through the history of this phenomenal institution.

4:00 pm

The Art of Madge Gill: Myrninerest, Marconi, Mars, and Music, with Vivienne Roberts, Archivist & Curator, College of Psychic Studies, London

Madge Gill’s mesmerizing artworks have fascinated audiences for a century. Her impulsive ink drawings of female faces floating within patterned backgrounds of calico are instantly identifiable, as are the thousands of smaller works on postcards, pieces of cardboard, and rare hand-woven textiles. Madge Gill, although popular, remains an enigma. Was she a true advocate of spirit-inspired art, or was this a convenient mask to hide her compulsive urge to create? Was Myrninerest her spirit guide or just Madge’s ‘inner rest’ constructed to make sense of her artistic achievements? Vivienne Roberts will discuss the journey of Madge from Barnardos child to internationally acclaimed mediumistic artist and doyenne of the outsider art world.

5:00 pm

The Trash Stratum, with Phil Ford

Philip K. Dick wrote that "the symbols of the divine show up in our world initially at the trash stratum." Among other things, this means that divine messages will appear in the humblest forms and where you least expect to find them. Even outright trickery and deceit might hold the key to whatever it is you need to hear; as Ramsey Dukes has argued, the charlatan and the magus are not so different and might even end up being the same person. This talk considers the surprisingly complex relationship between truth and trickery in spiritual life and explores the notion of "kayfabe," a kind of play-acting that sometimes can manifest the reality it simulates.

Non-reimbursement: Tickets are non-refundable; no reimbursement for unused or unattended events.


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