Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit Invited Speaker Series
In September 1591, a prosperous Wroclaw shoemaker killed himself by cutting his own throat. To avoid the shame associated with suicide and to ensure he received a religious burial, his family concealed the damning evidence.
But the shoemaker did not rest in his grave. The whole town was disturbed by his ghost which made noises, appeared to some, and oppressed others. The Council was convened and the man’s corpse was exhumed and examined; what they found shocked the whole community.
In this talk, we will conduct an historical paranormal investigation to look at the many factors which have led to perfectly sane, intelligent people coming to believe that there was a mischievous and dangerous ghost in their midst, including:
- The history of the Wroclaw and its many historical and cultural infuences
- The context of sixteenth century religious and folkloric belief
- The historic understanding of biology and bodily decay
- The social psychology of scapegoating behaviour and ritual
- The similarity between many varieties of supernatural revenant folklore across Europe, some of which persists to this day.
Deborah Hyde has been Editor-in-Chief of The Skeptic Magazine for over five years. She speaks regularly at conventions, on podcasts and on international broadcast media about why people believe in the supernatural - especially the malign supernatural - using a combination of history and psychology. She thinks that superstition and religion are natural - albeit not ideal - ways of looking at the world.
Dates & times
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