Strange Things Among Us 2021 Summer Exhibition

Our Strange Things Among Us exhibition, held in summer 2021, was a stand-out show that fulfilled every curiosity with the ethereal and ghostly.

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

The College of Psychic Studies' Strange Things Among Us exhibition was a show that fulfilled every curiosity with the ethereal and ghostly, as well as offering a little something out of the ordinary as we emerged from the 2021 lockdown.

Through artworks, photography and artefacts, the show took visitors on a journey to discover how the invisible has been portrayed from Victorian times to the present day. Intriguing displays of spiritual belief, scientific theories, artistic endeavours and psychical investigations prompted contemplation of the unseen and the world beyond. By focusing on what we cannot normally see such as energies, auras, souls, visions, spirits and ghosts, our aim was to prove that it is the strange things among us that have the power to evoke awe and wonder in our lives.

A nod to our former President, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The College of Psychic Studies occupies six floors of a Victorian townhouse in South Kensington, London, close to the Natural History Museum. Its most famous former President is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Spiritualist and creator of the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes. In 1926, with the help of the College's vast esoteric library, he wrote a two volume History of Spiritualism and his Professor Challenger novel, The Land of Mist. Both included prominent spiritualists connected to the College's history.

With a nod to Conan Doyle and the College's literary connections we decided to celebrate the skilled raconteurs that over the centuries have graced societies, clubs, dining rooms and parlour firesides with their encounters of the spirit world. Sharing the extraordinary has always captivated audiences and by taking its title from a book of ghost stories which was published in 1863 and recently discovered in the College library, Strange Things Among Us continued that tradition. 

Strange things...

Photographs from the famous Ghost Club where members swapped experiences of supernatural happenings and never seen before relics relating to the prolifically reported hauntings of the Borley Rectory as well as highlighting the enigma of UFO sightings were all important features of the exhibition.

This was a summer like no other, where guests were invited to peer into a parallel world and ponder over the ectoplasmic apparitions in spirit photography, mediumistic and psychic drawings that pulsate with the otherworldly energies, ouija boards, spirit trumpets and planchettes from the darkened seance rooms. There was also the opportunity to learn about the original spiritualistic influencers in a room that was once a laboratory for testing mediums. For the exhibition, this room was dedicated to the seers and scientists that shaped the history of the modern spiritualist movement.

A room devoted to Austin Osman Spare appealed to those who are fascinated by the occult and magick. Spare was an artist of great talent and we offered a rare opportunity to study some fine examples of his work, which was accompanied by a large selection of important books on the occult including Aleister Crowley's Equinox and a first edition of Francis Barrett's The Magus from 1801.

A moment's pause

Before stepping out into the real world again, visitors were encouraged to take a few moments of quiet contemplation in the meditative space of our Sanctuary. Those who felt inspired by what they have seen, we encouraged to enter our summer art competition. It focused on the theme 'Inspiration from the Invisible'. The winner was announced on 31 August 2021. 

Engaging talks

Alongside the exhibition, there were demonstrations, workshops and talks by College tutors and visiting experts. Introductions to tarot, palmistry, mediumship, spirit art and automatic writing were all on offer for ages 18 and above. There was also be an opportunity to meet the curators by joining one of the exhibition tours.

The College of Psychic Studies is an educational charity that began in 1884 under the name of the The London Spiritualist Alliance. As one of the oldest establishments of its kind, the nature of our work has evolved to incorporate a more general and widely-based exploration of consciousness beyond matter. It offers a comprehensive curriculum of courses and workshops as well as lectures and consultations with leading mediums, healers and experts in subjects as diverse as mediumship, numerology, astrology, tarot and palmistry.

Curators

Gill Matini - College Principal gill@collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk.

Vivienne Roberts - College Curator ​vivienne@collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk.

Visitor Information

Opening times: 5 June - 6 August 2021  11am – 5pm  Tues - Sun (Closed Mondays)

Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, South Kensington, London, SW7 2EB
Nearest Tube South Kensington (Circle & District) and Gloucester Road (Piccadilly)

Admission: Members free / Non-Members a £5 suggested donation / All ages welcome

Events: Book demonstrations, workshops & tours online at collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk

Images: Hi-res images can be can be arranged by contacting Vivienne Roberts at vivienne@collegeofpsychicstudies.co.uk