Why we love a fright at Halloween.

Image Credit: Photographby Alamy Stock Photo. Halloween is here again and although it seems to get more commercial each year, one constant remains – giving each other a good fright. The startle response, whether from a particularly convincing trick-or-treater on your doorstep or a fright in a horror movie, seems to be close to a […]

An Old Case of Near-Death Experience.

Reports of people having “near-death” experiences go back to antiquity, but the oldest medical description of the phenomenon may come from a French physician around 1740, a researcher has found. The report was written by Pierre-Jean du Monchaux, a military physician from northern France, who described a case of near-death experience in his book “Anecdotes […]

The Moon & the Crow.

“The Moon and the Crow”, Photograph by Gideon Knight of the United Kingdom, is the winner of the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for 2016. Knight lives near Valentines Park in London and he visits regularly in order to take photographs. One winter evening the perfect tableau presented itself: a rising full moon […]

Messalina, the Sex-Obsessed wife of Claudius.

Valeria Messalina was the third wife of emperor Claudius. She was notorious for being an absolute nymphomaniac. She married Claudius in A.D. 38 and they had two children, who were rumoured to have actually been fathered by Caligula as she was a frequent attendee to his many banquets and orgies. After Caligula was finally murdered, […]

Compendium Of Demonology & Magic c. 1775.

A selection of pages from an 18th-century demonology book made up of more than 30 exquisite watercolours showing various demon figures, as well as magic and cabbalistic signs. The full Latin title of Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros, roughly translates to “A rare summary of the entire Magical Art […]

Newgate to Tyburn The Final Journey.

It is the evening of 23 October 1783, and in a secluded spot on the King’s highway John Austin and an accomplice are mercilessly beating and robbing a stranger. This act of brutality marked the beginning of the end, not only for Austin, but for an ancient ritual that had been enacted since the 16th […]

Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ published 1897

Bram Stoker – Credit: Charvex (via Wikimedia) Born 1847.-Died 1912 Bram Stoker was an Irish author best known for his classic vampire novel, Dracula. He was born in Dublin in 1847 as the third of seven children. His father was a civil servant, the same career Bram took up after graduating from Trinity College with […]

‘Impasse’ Creating Beauty out of Trauma.

Impasse, photo by Susan Burnstine A ghostly figure is seen advancing – or departing – in Susan Burnstine’s photograph, taken on her uniquely customised camera. She suffers from night terrors, and uses her photography to tackle them. “My mother, who was a musician and artist, suggested I draw, paint or sculpt my dreams to understand […]

The Horror that was Bethlem Hospital, London.

It was not until 1890 that the status of lunatics was changed, in Britain by Parliamentary legislation, from prisoners to patients. Asylums were prisons disguised as hospitals, where the poor and incurable could be swept out of sight, It was a far cry from the charitable intentions of Simon FitzMary, who founded Bethlem in Bishopsgate […]

‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe.

In this poem, one of the most famous American poems ever, Poe uses several symbols to take the poem to a higher level. The most obvious symbol is, of course, the raven itself. When Poe had decided to use a refrain that repeated the word “nevermore,” he found that it would be most effective if […]