The ASSAP Seriously Suspicious Conference that I advertized here: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/ben-emlyn-jones-at-assap-seriously.html, has gone ahead with great success. The Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena holds regular conferences on specialized matters as well as their annual Seriously Strange weekend event. That was in
this year and I badly wanted to attend it, but it clashed with UFO Truth.
They've done an event about Vampires, "Seriously Staked"; demons, "Seriously
Possessed"; and UFO's, "Seriously Unidentified". I'm glad they
decided to do one about conspiracy theories too. I must pay special thanks to
Alyson Dunlop who was a speaker at the Reading
conference and recommended me to the organizers, see: http://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/programme-173-podcast-alyson-dunlop.html.
The event was held in a lecture theatre at Goldsmiths, ; it is a large college in
Lewisham consisting of buildings of various architectural periods tucked in
between shopping streets and railway lines near the docklands. About a hundred
people attended; a good crowd. I met up with some folk I was already acquainted
with and met some new faces as well. Two friends accompanied me, Andrew
Burlington, known online as "Victor Nevada", see: http://hpanwo-radio.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/programme-196-podcast-alien-interview-20.html,
and Colin Woolford, see: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/alien-autopsy-and-anthony-peake.html.
One of the speakers was the King of the Skeptics himself, Prof. Chris French of the Anomalistic Psychology Unit at
Goldsmiths. He's actually a really nice guy and we got on very well. He did one
of two lectures about satanic ritual abuse. He disagreed strongly with the
other speaker who covered the subject, Tim Tate. The speaker I was most looking
forward to hearing was Prof. Karen
Douglas, a social psychology expert from the University
of London . She gave a lecture
outlining her views, but I managed to have a private word with her and she gave
me more information. We talked about her recent publication that was rather
heretical in nature, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/conspiracy-theorists-more-sane-than.html.
My old friend Andy Thomas turned up
and discussed the logical reasoning behind conspiratorial ideas. It was good to
hear somebody talk about how conviction to do with conspiratorial thinking can
be based on evidence, not just fallacies and delusion. Christopher Thresher-Andrews is a student of Prof. French's and he
did an interesting talk, with audience participation, about confirmation bias
and other cognitive functions that he believes can make us more susceptible to
conspiracy theoretical ideas. This involved playing games and thought
experiments. Trystan Swale couldn't
get there in the end. I must admit I was relieved. I'm not sure exactly how we
would have interacted if he had been there; but I assure you, despite
everything, I would have behaved professionally for the sake of the spirit of
the conference and I was willing to show him basic courtesy, see here for
My own talk was a condensed version of my lecture on Helen Duncan and the 1944 Witchcraft
Trial, including new updated information, and it went well. The audience
enjoyed it. Here's an online review: http://www.badwitch.co.uk/2016/11/seriously-suspicious-conspiracies-helen.html.
I don't think the event was filmed, but if it wasn't I'll record a studio
version of my talk. All in all this was a really good event. Thanks to Norie
Miles and everybody else who organized it. Thanks to the speakers, and thanks
to everybody who came along. University
See here for the studio facsimile of my lecture: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/ben-emlyn-jones-live-as-assap-seriously.html.
Some more photographs of the day: