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Muncaster Castle Paranormal Conference 2009

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Things that go bump in the brain: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Paranormal and Anomalous Experiences
(in collaboration with UK-Skeptics - an educational charity)

Launching with a Welcome Reception in historic and reputedly haunted Muncaster Castle on Friday 18th September, this weekend conference will present papers from experts in subjects such as: -

Apparitions and Haunting
Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences
Survival of Bodily Death
The Sociology of Belief
Conspiracy Theories
UFO Sightings
Psychical Research
The Role of the Paranormal in Cult Movies

The speakers will include a mix of “skeptics” and “believers” so the question and answer sessions as well as the networking and socialising opportunities are likely to be interesting! Confirmed speakers include Prof Chris French, Dr Jason Braithwaite and Nick Pope to name but a few.

As well as the daily programme on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th September, there will be a gala dinner hosted by Peter Frost-Pennington of Muncaster Castle and Dr Jason Braithwaite, Cognitive Neuropyschologist from Birmingham University in the Castle on Saturday night.

Booking Facts
Places at this exciting and interesting conference are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Tickets to the conference only cost £65 per person if purchased before 1st July 2009 (Early Bird Package) or £75 after that date and include:

Evening drinks reception (8 to 10pm) in Muncaster Castle on Friday 18th September
Conference presentations/papers on Saturday 19th between 9.30 am and 5.30 pm
Conference presentations/presentations / papers on Sunday 20th between 10.00 am and 3.30 pm

Tea, coffee and biscuits each morning and afternoon session on Saturday and Sunday
A two course hot fork buffet style lunch on Saturday and Sunday
Full entry to Muncaster Castle, Gardens and Owl Centre during normal public opening times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Castle closed on Saturdays)
The conference ticket does not include accommodation or dinner on Friday or Saturday evenings. The three course Conference Dinner on Saturday 19th is an additional cost of only £45 per person. This includes a reception drink and 2 glasses of wine. For delegates only able to attend one day, the cost is £40 per person per day if booked before 1st July 09 or £45 per day after that date.

For delegates only able to attend one day, the cost is £45 per person if booked before 1st July 2009 or £50 per day after that date. Delegates only able to attend one day may also book the Friday evening Reception separately, at a cost of £12.50 per person (early bird option) or £15 if after 1st July 09.

For full information on the conference and booking details please visit the Muncaster Castle website.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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This should be a real good

This should be a real good conference and one I have been awaiting the announcement for.  I really wish I could have let you all know it horizon a lot sooner but I wasworn to secrecy.

I'll certainly be attending and I'll look forward to seeing any of Mysteriousbritain forum members who may also be there :)

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This sounds like a great

This sounds like a great event, hopefully I will be able to attend.

Ophiel's picture
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looks really cool - hope i

looks really cool - hope i will be there as well.

Will contact the castle for a form asap as my hunch is this will sell out quite quickly.

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Red Don
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I missed the first

I missed the first conference but heard about it from Ian and Dan.  I'll have to see if I can make this one though.  Does anyone know who the speakers are yet?

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Ian Topham
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I found the following on the

I found the following on the UK-Skeptics website promoting th econference:

The Psychology of Anomalous Experiences - Chris French
Chris French is a Professor of Psychology and Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths. He has published over 100 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims. He is the editor of The Skeptic magazine (UK version).

The Haunted Brain: Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Anomalous Cognition. - Jason Braithwaite
Dr Jason Braithwaite is a Senior Research Fellow at the Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, University of Birmingham. His mainstream research interests are the visual cognitive neurosciences, more specifically - visual selective attention, memory and awareness. He publishes widely in top international peer-reviewed journals in the field of visual cognition. Dr Braithwaite has also published studies investigating aspects of hallucination and anomalous cognition including Apparitions / Hauntings, the Out-of-Body Experience and Near-Death Experiences.

The Ministry of Defence X-files - Nick Pope
Nick Pope used to work at the Ministry of Defence, where from 1991 to 1994 he was posted to a division where his duties included investigating UFOs. Initially sceptical, his official research and investigation convinced him that the UFO phenomenon raised important defence, national security and flight safety issues. He was particularly interested in cases where the witnesses were pilots or where UFOs were tracked on radar. Nick is now recognised as a leading authority on UFOs and the unexplained.

Interpreting the anomalous: finding meaning in out-of-body and near-death experiences. - David Wilde
David Wilde gained his undergraduate Degree in Psychology with Human Physiology at the University of Sunderland in 1996. Following that he graduated with an MSc in Environmental Psychology at the University of Surrey in 1997. After working for a time as an Environmental Psychologist, he took up a research post in 2000 at the University of Sheffield working in the field of Palliative Care. In 2005, he attained a Diploma in Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology from Liverpool John Moore's University and in the same year joined the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester, working as a research and teaching assistant. David is currently a PhD candidate at Manchester investigating the occurrence and phenomenology of out-of-body and near-death experiences. Outside of work, he enjoys a wide variety of activities such as reading, hill walking, computing and visiting the cinema and theatre.

The social psychology of conspiracy beliefs - Karen Douglas
Karen Douglas received her PhD in social psychology from the Australian National University and has worked in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She is currently a senior lecturer at the University of Kent. Karen's research examines the psychological factors underlying people's beliefs in conspiracy theories. She is also interested in language and communication, persuasion and attitude change, and justice beliefs. Karen's research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the British Academy. She has published her work widely in social psychological journals and books.

Psi as Unconscious: A review of some recent research developments in parapsychology - Chris Roe
Chris Roe graduated with his PhD from Edinburgh University in 1996 and now works at the University of Northampton where he is senior lecturer in Psychology and Research Leader for the Psychology Division. In 1999 he won the D. Scott Rogo Award for Parapsychological Literature and was a Perrott-Warrick Researcher 2000-5, working on a project to explore the interaction between sender, receiver and experimenter in free response ESP experiments. He currently serves as a Board Member for the Parapsychological Association and as a Council Member of the Society for Psychical Research. He is Editor of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research and an Editorial Consultant for the European Journal of Parapsychology. His research interests include the nature and origin of paranormal beliefs and experiences as well as experimental tests of putative PK and ESP effects, particularly looking for psychological correlates.

The Lure of the Dark side: Sex, death and the paranormal in cult movies - Xavier Mendik
Xavier Mendik is Director of the Cult Film Archive an internationally renowned research centre into cult and underground cinema based at Brunel University. The author of several books, he has published on a wide variety of cult and horror film traditions and acted as consultant and presenter for the Donnie Darko (Director's cut) DVD and the Channel 4 documentary 100 Greatest Scary Moments. Xavier also established and runs the highly successful Cine-Excess Cult Film Conference and Festival an annual event held in London which brings together leading international scholars and critics with global cult filmmakers

A Matter of Life and Death: A Sceptical Look at Spiritualism - Emma Louise Rhodes
Emma-Louise Rhodes is a sceptical researcher of psychic phenomena and the Spiritualist faith. Articles published include 'Psychics on eBay', 'Psychics and the Media' and 'Spiritualist Churches: A Look Inside'. In the summer of 2008 she played the critically acclaimed role of hypnotist Tara Lee in the London Fringe premiere of 'Crackshot', her original and provocative play dealing with the nature of belief and illusion. Emma-Louise also runs the website 'A Matter of Life and Death'

A Neuroscientist looks at the Paranormal - Christine Mohr
Christine Mohr gained her PhD from the University of Zurich in 2001, she then completed post-doctoral work at the Functional Brain Mapping Laboratory of the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland and the University Hospital of Alberta (Department of Psychiatry) in Canada. Since September 2004, she has been working as a lecturer at the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Bristol. In 2008 she co-edited a special edition of the international Neuroscience Journal CORTEX on the Neuropsychology of Paranormal Experiences and Beliefs. Christine's main scientific interest is the understanding of"odd" behaviours and thoughts in normal and clinical populations from a neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric perspective. Apart from the overt pathological behaviour in psychiatric populations, there is a wide variety of similar behaviour also apparent in the normal population (e.g., telepathy, precognition, out-of-body experiences, magical thoughts, etc.) Why are these latter individuals healthy and not psychiatric cases?

Between the Worlds: Mediumship in the 21st Century - John Walliss
Dr John Walliss is Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Religion and Director of the Centre for Millennialism Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Liverpool Hope University. His research interests are situated broadly in the study of contemporary millennialism/apocalypticism, particularly in the areas of millennialism and violence and the influence of apocalyptic texts within popular culture. Towards the end of his PhD work he became interested in spiritualism, and has researched the role that mediumship plays in maintaining bonds between the living and the dead, the lives of mediums themselves and the process by which they became mediums. He has published widely, most notably The Brahma Kumaris as a Reflexive Tradition (Ashgate, 2002), Apocalyptic Trajectories: Millenarianism and Violence in the Contemporary World (Peter Lang, 2004), Apocalypse in Uganda: The Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God (Ashgate, forthcoming), and Apocalyptic Texts and Popular Culture (Equinox, forthcoming). He is also editor for the Sheffield Phoenix Press series The Apocalypse and Popular Culture.

Ophiel's picture
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there is a link on UKS with

there is a link on UKS with pictures and bios of the speakers - ian - put a link up here???????

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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No problem.  The link is

No problem.  The link is here.

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That is not a flattering

That is not a flattering picture of Jason Braithwaite.  I've heard him speak before.  He's not bad, but I think he's a bit slimmer now.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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It's just out of focus a

It's just out of focus a little :)  I think it's a pretty good line of speakers.  A good mix of skeptics and believers.  There are some good pubs in Ravenglass as well, so it should be a good weekend.

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Daniel Parkinson
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Ian Topham wrote: There are
Ian Topham wrote:

There are some good pubs in Ravenglass as well, so it should be a good weekend.

I thought there were only two pubs, I have a pretty good idea as I have been wrecked in both of them - Ian you were probably there -, are there more?

Anyway Ravenglass is an ancient Roman Port, and Muncaster is situated in a fantastic location in the lakes, so you can count me in - especially if there are more pubs to explore. Conference looks good too :-)
The last one I attended was a good weekend.



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