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Convention Poster

The Magic Lantern Society & The University of Westminster

are pleased to present a second series of the ever-popular

'Professor Pepper´s Ghost'
Six MORE evenings of optical magic at the old Polytechnic

Fortnightly from Thursday 12 November - Thursday 10 December 2009
and from
Thursday 28 January - Thursday 25th February 2010
The Old Cinema, University of Westminster 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

Admission free

Commencing 7pm sharp


As this series of talks is entirely free it is advisable to come early
Tickets will be issued from 6pm



The Programme

Thursday 12 November @ 7pm

'Professor' Mervyn Heard

An exploration through the playbills and other ephemera of the bizarre ghost-show entertainment known as the phantasmagoria as witnessed in London and the provinces at the turn of the 18th century.

Mervyn Heard is a magic lantern showman and the author of 'Phantasmagoria : The Secret Life of the Magic Lantern'. He is also Chairman of the Magic Lantern Society


Thursday 26 November @ 7pm

Lavater - The Shadow of History
Simon Warner

The noted physiognomist Johann Caspar Lavater (1741-1801) returns for one night only to reclaim his place at the centre of European culture, armed with magic lantern, silhouette apparatus and a curious tale of photographic experimentation in his Zürich cellar.

Simon Warner is a photographer and video artist with interests in the history of photography and visual media. With a NESTA Fellowship he has created a series of impersonations of key figures in European culture and took part in the Arts Council England touring exhibition Alchemy (2006-7).


Thursday 10 December @ 7pm

Visualising the Marvellous: G. A. Smith and his film 'Santa Claus' (1898)
Dr Frank Gray

G. A. Smith (1864-1959) was one of the great early film pioneers. A stage mesmerist and an associate of the Society for Psychical Research, his six 'spooky' films of 1898 represent his fascination with the 'other side' and his close association with late Victorian paranormal culture.

Dr Frank Gray
is the Director of Screen Archive South East at the University of Brighton and a specialist in late Victorian cinema.

Due to circumstances beyond our control Paul Kieve's talk, originally scheduled for 10th December will now take place on 28th January


Christmas Break


Thursday 28th January @ 7pm

Grappling with Ghosts: Staging ghost effects in the modern theatre.
Paul Kieve

Hours in dark theatres, expensive quotes from Pilkington's glass, ill tempered Opera singers in Hamburg and perhaps the world's first ghost doves. This talk explores the fascinating tale of how the original impractical Dircksian Phantasmagoria of the 1850's came into its own in the 1960's and how, even with huge advancement in stage engineering and lighting, is still spookily difficult to stage.

Paul Kieve is one of the UK's most prolific designers of theatrical illusions (The Lord Of The Rings, Zorro, The Invisible Man). He is the only magician to appear in and consult on the Harry Potter movies and is the author of the internationally published book Hocus Pocus. His current projects include Zorro at The Folies Bergere in Paris and the forthcoming musical 'Ghost'.

Due to circumstances beyond our control Dr Frank Gray's talk, originally scheduled for 28th January will now take place on 10th December


Thursday 11 February @ 7pm

Geared to the Stars - Victorian Astronomy through the Magic Lantern
Mark Butterworth

Lectures on astronomy were a common form of popular entertainment in the nineteenth century. With an original Victorian magic lantern projector and delicate, hand painted glass slides from the 1840's, Mark Butterworth recreates one of these illustrated lectures. Using complex and intricate mechanical "rackwork" slides to illustrate astronomical concepts, it gives an introduction to mid-19th century astronomy.

Mark Butterworth researches astronomical history and specialises in understanding how popular astronomy was presented to the general public in the 18th and 19th century. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.


Thursday 25 February @ 7pm

From Anorthoscope to Zoopraxiscope - an A-Z of Victorian animated cartoons
Stephen Herbert

Moving image 19th-century 'toys' - philosophical instruments for the drawing room, intended to promote intellectual discussion and provide amusement for adults as least as much as for children - come to life with this illustrated talk.

Stephen Herbert is a Visiting Research Fellow, Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture, Kingston University London.