Thursday 26 October - Last day

The Supernatural Correspondence of Sir Hans Sloane and The Psychology of Halloween 

  • Thursday 26 October
  • From 7pm
  • Mayor’s Parlour, Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, W8 7NX

The Science of the paranormal: The Supernatural Correspondence of Sir Hans Sloane
Sir Hans Sloane, 1st Baronet, PRS (16 April 1660 to 11 January 1753) was an Anglo-Irish physician, naturalist and collector noted for bequeathing his collection to the British nation, thus providing the foundation of the British Museum. 

Sloane Square, Sloane Street, Sloane Grammar School and Sloane Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are named after Sir Hans. His first name is given to Hans Street, Hans Crescent, Hans Place and Hans Road, all of which are also situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

In this lecture, long-time friend of Kensington and Chelsea's science programme, Dr Lisa Smith presents some of the more bizarre, breathless and speculative aspects of Sloane’s correspondence, not least his exchanges with William Derham (1657 to 1735), the rector at Upminster in Essex…

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The Psychology of Halloween
Opinion polls repeatedly show relatively high levels of belief in ghosts even in modern Western societies. Furthermore, a sizeable minority of the population claim to have personally encountered a ghost. 

This talk by Professor Chris French will consider a number of factors that may lead people to claim that they have experienced a ghost even though they may not in fact have done so. 

Topics covered will include:

  • hoaxes
  • sincere misinterpretation of natural phenomena
  • hallucinatory experiences and pareidolia (seeing things that are not there)
  • inattentional blindness (not seeing things that are there)
  • the fallibility of eyewitness testimony
  • the possible role of complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound
  • photographic evidence
  • electronic voice phenomenon (EVP)
  • the role of the media

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