Poetic Faith (or, Why Oscar Wilde Declined to Join the London Thirteen Club)

Despite their distinct lack of streaming video options, the ladies and gentlemen of the late 19th century were not short of amusing and instructive pastimes. Late Victorian social media was centered around clubs running the thematic gamut from banal to whimsically outré. During the 1890s, examples of the latter kind ranged from the Whitechapel Club … Read morePoetic Faith (or, Why Oscar Wilde Declined to Join the London Thirteen Club)

Flight From Death: The Quest for Immortality

This acclaimed 2003 documentary was inspired by the also-acclaimed 1973 book The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. Positing that humans’ awareness (and denial) of their own mortality has been the driving force behind civilization, Becker won the Pulitzer Prize for literature and influenced generations of social anthropologists, philosophers and psychologists.

Further Resources re. “Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show”

This post lists some selected “further learning” resources for participants in my Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show presentation via the Atlas Obscura’s Wonders at Home video lecture series. Busting the Ghost Racket Houdini’s Girl Detective: The Real-Life Ghost-Busting Adventures of Rose Mackenberg (2016) I compiled, edited, introduced and republished this anthology of the fabulous Rose … Read moreFurther Resources re. “Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show”

“Death of Hippie” – October 6, 1967

It is nothing new. We have a private revolution going on. A revolution of individuality and diversity that can only be private. Upon becoming a group movement, such a revolution ends up with imitators rather than participants … - Bob Stubbs, “Unicorn Philosophy” We wanted to signal that this was the end of it, to stay … Read more“Death of Hippie” – October 6, 1967

London’s Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

A short video concerning London’s curious Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, a public memorial project initiated by the artist George Frederic Watts. Unveiled in an unfinished state in the year 1900 and still incomplete, the memorial wall features plaques commemorating the deaths of ordinary people who died in attempting to save the lives of others. A … Read moreLondon’s Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

France’s Ancient Burial Brotherhood

A short item from the BBC on the Charitable Brotherhood of Saint-Eloi, founded as a response to the 12th century Black Death and still burying the residents of over thirty French municipalities, including the town of Béthune. During the French Revolution, the Brotherhood was officially dissolved, but continued its activity in secret until 1802, where … Read moreFrance’s Ancient Burial Brotherhood

The Renaissance Faire Danse Macabre

I have a soft spot for the tradition of Danse Macabre enactments as part of the Renaissance Faire circuit’s grassroots, DIY amusement park vibe. Rather like the modern, American take on the Day of the Dead, that tradition stretches back to the counterculture of 1970s California. The original “Bones Band” was founded by an artist/musician … Read moreThe Renaissance Faire Danse Macabre

Memorial Land Art: Alberto Burri’s “Grande Cretto”

In 1985, Italian artist Alberto Burri commenced work on the massive Grande Cretto, a poured concrete sculpture memorializing the central Sicilian mountain town of Gibellina, which had been destroyed by a massive earthquake during the 1960s. The project was finally completed in 2015. The layout of the Grande Cretto mimics (and is built directly over) … Read moreMemorial Land Art: Alberto Burri’s “Grande Cretto”

Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show (July 10, 2020)

I will be hosting this live Zoom presentation via the Atlas Obscura’s Wonder from Home program on the evening of July 10th (US time), concerning the antique “ghost show” I inherited from my father: The Iowa-based Ghost Factory company manufactured and sold all manner of “spookology” effects during the early/mid-20th century. Some of their customers … Read moreUnboxing an Antique Ghost Show (July 10, 2020)

Grave Gardening at the Woodlands Cemetery

Here’s a short CBS presentation on the revival of gardening in “cradle graves” at The Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia. Established during the mid-19th century, The Woodlands was part of the rural cemetery trend, in which landscaped, tree-lined graveyards established on the edges of cities provided welcome respite from urban noise and pollution. Rural cemeteries became … Read moreGrave Gardening at the Woodlands Cemetery