November 18, 2015
As part of Saturday Encounters for Spanish contemporary artist Dora García’s show at the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, I SEE WORDS, I HEAR VOICES, historian Christopher Laursen will speak on how experiences of an extraordinary physical phenomenon – the poltergeist – transform people’s lives in ways that may marginalize or empower them. His November 21st talk, “The Poltergeist,” looks at an anomalous phenomenon in which people observe objects moving with no apparent cause, strange sounds, spontaneous fires, and other unusual, spontaneous physical manifestations.  As a PhD Candidate at the Department of History at the University of British Columbia, Christopher’s dissertation examines how ideas about the poltergeist phenomenon changed in the twentieth century in North America and Britain.  In this talk, he will focus on the ways in which experiencers have been marginalized in historic poltergeist case studies. Christopher’s research has taken him to archives that hold case studies in England and the United States over the past several years.  He actively participates in a symposium series with interdisciplinary scholars that examines the relationship between consciousness and the further reaches of the imagination held at the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory and Research in Big Sur, California.  He has forthcoming essays in Super Religion (edited by Jeffrey J. Kripal, 2017) and with the speculative fiction writer Eden S. French, Damned Facts: Fortean Approaches to the Study of Religion (edited by Jack Hunter, 2016).  He contributed encyclopedic entries for the book Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics edited by Matt Cardin (2015).  He has written on his research for the British magazines Fortean Times and Paranthropology.
Historian Christopher Laursen on the poltergeist as part of Spanish contemporary artist Dora García’s show at the Power Plant
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Where: The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Ontario When: Sat., Nov. 21 @ 2-3 p.m. ADMISSION FREE