Thursday, June 30, 2016

Flying Saucers and Hidden Worlds: A Brief History of Extraterrestrial Pulp: Guest Post by Jack Womack

Next Thursday, July 7th, we hope you'll join us for a night of extraterrestrial pulp with author and journalist Mark Jacobson as he welcomes world's greatest collector of flying saucer memorabilia Jack Womack. Womack's collection stretches back to the original 1947 sighting by Kenneth Arnold and continues through the paperback heyday of the 1950's and 60's. Kept on file at Georgetown University, it has been compiled into the forthcoming book Flying Saucers Are Real! featuring an introduction by Science Fiction immortal William Gibson.

Following is a guest post by Jack Womack, which will provide a foretaste of the evening's festivities. The above images are also sourced from his collection. Hope to see you there!
In the past seventy years we saw an enormous increase worldwide of the fear of government, the fear of science, and the fear of experts, for multiple reasons. As is now clear, one of the most effective means of initially spreading such paranoia worldwide, and especially in the United States, turned out to be by flying saucer.

Two men--one by pure happenstance, the other by pure deliberation--brought flying saucers into the world as we know them today. In 1943 Richard Shaver, a welder by trade, sent a 10,000 word rant entitled "A Warning to Future Man" to Ray Palmer, editor of the pulp magazine *Amazing Stories*, and the paterfamilias of much that is 20th century woo-woo.

Shaver's narrative told of the Dero, who are survivors of the Old Ones who used to inhabit earth -- the Dero live inside the earth, understand -- and who are responsible for all bad things that happen, everywhere. The Dero are also prone to kidnapping surface women when they press the wrong button on elevators, or go into the wrong subway tunnel afterward subjecting them to unimaginable horrors. Palmer, naturally, immediately rewrote it into a story, "I Remember Lemuris" that he naturally presented as non-fiction. The response was enormous, and sales of the magazine shot up even as science fiction fans complained bitterly that such nonsense was being published as non-fiction.

Later, Shaver told Palmer that he knew of the Dero because he had heard the screams through his welding machine.

Palmer's experience with what came to be known as the Shaver Mystery prepared him to be ready to move when, on June 24, 1947, Kenneth Arnold--a pilot in Washington state--reported seeing nine silver discs flying over the Cascades. He told reporters on the ground when he landed. By June 26, the phrase "flying saucers" was being used worldwide.

Palmer, seeing a new opportunity, moved quickly. While he stayed in touch with Shaver over the years, he refocused on Things in the Sky: and the result was not unlike the appearance of a Celestial Elvis.

Mark and I will be talking about these two characters, without whom we would not have had the X-Files--nor, possibly, some branches of the militia. I'll be drawing upon the information and illustrations on my forthcoming book Flying Saucers Are Real! as we reexamine the beginnings of a belief which, in unexpected ways and unexpected places, wound up in some ways, as was warned, conquering the world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Limited Time Offer: Signed Copies of "The Anatomical Venus" with Special Limited Edition Photo by The Author!
For a limited time: get a copy of the new Morbid Anatomy book The Anatomical Venus--described by The Telegraph as "wonderful and epically illustrated; by Publisher's Weekly as "The Strangest Book of 2016... seductive and confounding" and by The Huffington Post as "enchanting and repulsive"--signed by the author, creative director and Museum co-founder Joanna Ebenstein. This special, signed edition will also include a signed, limited edition photo of the ecstatic wax reliquary effigy of Saint Vittoria in Rome, inset with real human teeth and housing her finger bones. 

Find out more--and order a copy of your own!--here. US Orders Only!

Friday, June 10, 2016

World Making through Personal Symbols: New Class by Rebecca Purcell (Co-creator of ABC Home) with ARAS Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism at the C.G. Jung Center of New York

We are beyond delighted to announce a new class on art and symbolism class taught by Rebecca Purcell (artist and co-creator of the iconic ABC Home) in tandem with our friends at ARAS Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism at the C.G. Jung Center of New York. Entitled World Making Through Personal Symbols, the class will take place over four nights (June 20-23, from 7 pm to 9 pm) and admission is $75 including materials. Tickets can be found here.

In this class, students will explore the history of symbols from several perspectives, learn to utilize the power of symbols in their life and work, and leave class with a finished object, a talisman like these:
To create their work, students will draw on the vast resources of  ARAS Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) at the C.G. Jung Center of New York, a pictorial and written archive of mythological, ritualistic, and symbolic images from all over the world and from all epochs of human history.

Under the guidance of the instructor, through research of images and texts from the ARAS archive, class discussion, and a lecture by Ami Ronnberg--ARAS curator and editor of the Taschen's Book of Symbols--students will explore the history of thier own, personally, significant symbols and their relation to both the Jungian notion of archetypes and the collective unconscious, as well as Purcell's individual research exploring symbols in relation to the creative process. Students will leave with a broadened view of the significance of symbols, and how to harness and utilize symbols in their life and work. The final project will be the transformation of a personal symbol into a small, physical talisman/amulet, to serve as a reminder of ones character/values and as a confirmation of one's inner/subconscious world.

Tickets can be purchased here. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The History of Medieval Automata With Dr Elly Truitt, Bryn Mawr College, Next Thursday June 16th

Lancelot, in metal armor, fights two copper knights, at an enchanted castle, in the 13th century prose romance Lancelot of the Lake. (Image: Lancelot do lac, France, ca. 1470. Paris, BnF, MS. Fr. 112.)

Next Thursday, June 16th, we are deeply excited to be hosting Elly Truitt of Bryn Mawr for an illustrated lecture to celebrate the release of her book Medieval Robots: Mechanism, Magic, Nature, and Art. (Tickets here). As she explains:
Centuries before Asimovs Three Laws of Robotics, before Fritz Lang's Metropolis or Çapeks Rossum's Universal Robots, before Vaucanson's digesting duck, people imagined, designed, built, and pondered the possibilities and pitfalls of creating artificial people, animals, and other natural objects. Medieval robots are the hidden past of our robotic present, and they were ubiquitous in medieval culture. They appear throughout the Middle Ages and were used to embody complex ideas about the natural world and the heavens, including belief in demons and knowledge of mechanical engineering.
Following are some images from her talk that Dr Truitt was kind enough to send along;  Hope very much to see you there! Tickets can be purchased here.

A mechanical wine-servant, designed by the Kurdish engineer Ismail al-Jazari, in The Book of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, ca. 1206. Designed to be a mechanical version of the human servants who would otherwise be serving wine at the Artuqid court in Diyarbekir. (Image: Syria or Egypt, 1315, Copenhagen, David Collection 20/1988):

The walled garden of the chateau of Hesdin, in northern France, with the elaborate machinations of Fortune, below. The estate was the site of elaborate gardens with mechanical animals, birds, musical instruments, and fountains in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. (Image: France, ca. 1350. Paris, Bibliothèque national de Paris, MS Fr. 1586):


Page from a book of drawings by Villard de Honnecourt, ca. 1225. Villard was a draughtsman and builder, and included drawings of many mechanical designs, including a mechanical eagle, a trick goblet, and a mechanical angel. (Image: Paris, BnF, MS Fr. 19093):

Alexander the Great encounters two golden knights guarding a bridge in India, from the Romance of Alexander (ca. 1180). (Image: France, 14th century. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 264):

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Introducing "Mrs Satan," Spritualist Medium, Free Love Advocate, and Journalist Victoria Woodhull : Guest Post by Artist and Scholar and Residence Shannon Taggart

In the following guest post, Morbid Anatomy Artist and Scholar and Residence Shannon Taggart introduces us to the exceptional feminist figure Victoria Woodhull; dubbed “Mrs. Satan” by her vilifiers, she was not only a Spiritualist Medium but also the first woman to run for president (in 1872), a stockbroker, journalist, publisher, and free love advocate, all at a time when women were still denied many basic rights.

The life of Victoria Woodhull will be explored in an upcoming lecture Morbid Anatomy Museum lecture by Dr. Cristina Zaccarini on the afternoon of June 11. This is just one component of a five-day series exploring Spiritualism and its historical connections to feminism with talks, live demonstrations, and workshops that invite the audience to experiment with Spiritualist practice. The program is co-hosted by mediums Lauren Thibodeau and Susan Barnes from Lily Dale, NY, the world’s largest Spiritualist community. You can find out more about Saturday's talk here, and more about the series here.
 “Yes, I am a Free Lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional, and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please, and with that right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere.” – Victoria Woodhull 
Spiritualist Medium Victoria Woodhull was not only the first woman to run for president in 1872, but also a stockbroker, journalist, publisher, and free love advocate. Amidst a life of scandal and vilification, and even dubbed “Mrs. Satan” by the press, Woodhull was an accomplished woman even by contemporary standards: Woodhull did this all at a time when women were lacking in many basic rights to their children and property, protection from rape, and citizenship. In the upcoming lecture Free Love Advocate and Presidential Candidate: The Revolutionary Feminism of Victoria Woodhull, Cristina Zaccarini will illustrate the myriad ways that Woodhull’s achievements were inextricably linked to the spiritual and intuitive abilities she exercised throughout her lifetime.