Exploring Halloweek 2023

For those who were unable to join us at the College in London to explore our Halloweek open house, we invite you on a descriptive voyage through the displays...

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

During Halloweek, 24–31 October 2023, The College of Psychic Studies was a phantasmagory of art, spirit photography and artefacts that celebrated the season. From the spectral to the witchy, the ephemeral to the ectoplasmic, Halloweek had it all. Nodding to the history of seances, there were spirit trumpets, obsidian scrying mirrors, automatic writing slates and evidence of poltergeist activity. And bringing us from the 1800s to the modern day was the College's incredible collection of mediumistic and visionary art. We share a few Halloweek exhibition highlights... 

Relics from séance history 

The fourth floor – once used as a laboratory by psychic investigator Harry Price (1881-1948) who was testing the authenticity of the mediums of the day - celebrated the pioneers of mediumship and magic. Here were treasures tracking the history of Spiritualism, including automatic writings by The College of Psychic Studies' founder William Stainton Moses and treasures from the early days of the Ghost Club. 

Visitors were invited to take a seat in the trance cabinet. As students at The College of Psychic Studies know, trance cabinets have been used to communicate with spirits since Victorian times. They were also invited to snap a spooky selfie at the séance table, from which echoed the eerie sounds of a séance recording from 1968.  

Phantasmagorical photography

A real Halloweek treat was the Haunted Air room by Ossian Brown. Ossian Brown is an artist, musician and composer who many know from the music groups Coil and Cyclobe. This eerie collection of trick-or-treat Halloween photos were from Ossian's personal collection. The room was curated for the College by Ossian himself, and featured vintage photographs from Ossian's Haunted Air book.

Haunted Air images © Ossian Brown

Elsewhere in Halloweek were samples from our incredible spirit photography collection – one of the world's largest. This included spectral photographs of spirits as well as fascinating 'action shots' from Victorian seances. Don't miss Madge Donohoe's ephemeral Skotographs - photographs projected from thought forms.

A visual adventure into the ineffable 

The art on display dated from the 1800s to the present day. These works invited us to experience the ineffable through colour and form. They included works by Madge Gill, Alice Pery, Alice Essington Nelson, Florence Seth and so many more. 

A firm favourite was the room dedicated to Aleksandra Ionowa, known as Finland's Hilma af Klint. We opened this room (above) in 2022, marking the first time this artist's work was shown outside her home country. Another Halloweek highlight was the room dedicated to Anna Mary Howitt Watts (above), a founding member of the College. 

Halloweek also included many artworks shown for the first time, including a show-stopping orange flower, channelled by Sidney Manley. This large work was donated to the College in 2023. Artworks by previous College art competition winners Catherine Garrigue (above) and Cara Macwilliam (below) were also on display, as well as shortlisted artist Allen Moore o2o's automatic works (below), also donated to us in 2023.

The Ethel Le Rossignol room 

Adorning the deep blue walls of the lecture hall were Ethel Le Rossignol's gilded masterpieces (below). Meditating on these paintings was a transporting experience, and one that was entirely unique to the College. Ethel Le Rossingol donated her entire collection of A Goodly Company paintings to us in 1968, and they were on display here for all to enjoy.

The Spooky Soiree

Our Spooky Soiree was a wonderfully convivial evening. We enjoyed the warm-hearted company of so many of you, who came along to the College to explore the exhibits and enjoy a drink in the Library. Thank you to everyone for supporting this event. We had so much fun, and really enjoyed having you at the College!

 Read the review of Halloweek in Condé Nast TravellerJoin our newsletter for updates on our events, art competitions and more.