Medicines of Uncertainty (slow radio for wellbeing)

By Sarah Scaife

Uncertainty can be an unsettling aspect of ill health. Come on a gentle journey into more hopeful ways of being with not knowing. Can uncertainty become a friend during times of dis-ease?

A series of six pieces broadcast on Soundart Radio 102.5FM and online: Tuesdays at 1:30pm, 09 Feb to 27 April 2021, with a fortnightly repeat. You can listen again on SoundCloud > here

Beliefs, Ritual, and Popular Myths

Ex Historia- Humanities Forum
Roundtable Discussion- Beliefs, Ritual, and Popular Myths
Date/Time: Feb. 18th from 5:30-6:30pm
Panelists’ Bios
Ryan Denson- Classics, and Ancient History 
Ryan’s research centers upon examining the imaginative ideas of sea monsters and anthropic marine entities in Greco-Roman antiquity. Consequently, much of his work deals with popular narratives involving sea monsters like the Andromeda myth and some Christian hagiographic narratives of Late Antiquity.
Crystal Hollis- Archaeology/History
Crystal specialises in medieval/early modern parish culture and community by studying historic graffiti in churches. Much of her work includes an emphasis on the relationship between formal church art, parish life, and religious traditions.
Sarah Scaife- Drama
Sarah’s research engages with the agency of magico-medical artefacts situated in the liminal space between science and ritual, such as Renaissance pop-up anatomy books and the folding almanacs worn on the body of Medieval doctors, repurposed in a contemporary art practice. 
Anna Milon- English Literature
Anna looks at the Horned God, a modern pagan deity, as an environmental figure in fantasy fiction and live action role playing. Her project touches on folklore and the folkloresque, pagan studies, game theory, animal studies and the nascent field of LARP studies.

Do not read the Latin: Latin as satanic signifier in supernatural horror cinema

An article by Nicholas Banner in the Classical Receptions Journal

“This article examines the tropological use of the Latin language to evoke the diabolical in supernatural horror cinema. When Latin is intoned in a suitably Gothic context, horror-savvy audiences have every reason to foresee the Devil and his minions arriving in short order, and are rarely disappointed. This article examines the genealogy of this trope, modelling the prolegomena to an intellectual history of cinematic Satanic Latin. The first part of the analysis traces the development of the trope through literature via the European and American Gothic traditions, the writings of the Decadents, and supernatural horror literature. The analysis then broadens to encompass Occultism, the occult, and ‘occulture’ more generally as important aspects of the discourse-community within which Satanic Latin functions. Finally, the scholarly concept of ‘re-enchantment’ from the history of religions is brought to bear on the semiotic role of Satanic Latin in its performative cinematic context.”


Experiencing Magic: What the Buddha might have to say in an age of lockdowns


Thursday 7 January  and Sunday 17 January 2021, 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Book Now: £10 or £8 or £5 – email

Join our conjuror-in-residence,for a highly interactive, online event that uses magic to explore how we can live in challenging times by taking inspiration from the philosophy of the Buddha.

Brian isn’t an ordinary magician, and this isn’t your everyday magic performance. His day job is a Professor in Sociology at Exeter University. As part of that he has become interested in how entertainment magic can be used to promote dialogue. This all new format uses magic tricks to illustrate Buddhist ideas that can help meet today’s challenges.

So feel free to join in the fun if you have been to one of Brian’s previous sessions at the Centre or online.

Magical Fiction Forum


The Magickal Women Partnership proudly presents the Magical Fiction Forum: Fairy tales, fantasy, magical realism, surreal fiction: this forum aims to bring together leading authors and scholars to discuss the impact and influence of texts that transcend their genre and leave readers enchanted and transformed. Online via Zoom.

Popular Magic Café: Follow Up

Missed the Popular Magic Cafe? Never worry, you can watch the discussion on YouTube, HERE

There were so many fascinating questions, that Crystal and I decided to compile a reading list and a travelling list inspired by our conversation. Though we did take very different approaches to it: while Crystal presented a selection of rigorous academic texts, I was mostly motivated by the feeling of ‘Is this book fun? It sounds like it would be fun…’

Find both our lists below, as well as some fascinating locations for your post-COVID travel plans.

Crystal’s List:

Champion, M., 2015. Medieval Graffiti: The Lost Voices of England’s Churches. Ebury Press.

Easton, T., 2014. Portals of Protection. SPAB Winter, 53–57.

Easton, T., 2012. Burning Issues. SPAB 44–47.

French, K.L., 2001. The people of the parish: community life in a late medieval English diocese, The Middle Ages series. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pa.

Gardiner, M., 2007. Graffiti and their Use in Late Medieval England. Ruralia VI, 265–276.

Graves, C.P., 1989. Social space in the English medieval parish church. Econ. Soc. 18, 297–322.

Jones-Baker, D., 1993. English Mediaeval Graffiti and the Local Historian. Local Hist. 23, 4–19.

Marks, R., 2004. Image and devotion in late Medieval England. Sutton, Stroud.

Meeson, B., 2005. Ritual Marks and Graffiti Curiosities or Meaningful Symbols? Vernac. Archit. 36, 41–48.

Oliver, J., Neal, T. (Eds.), 2010. Wild signs: graffiti in archaeology and history, BAR international series. Archaeopress, Oxford.

Ovcharov, D., 1977. Ship Graffiti from Medieval Bulgaria. Int. J. Naut. Archaeol. Underw. Explor. 6, 59–61.

Pacey, A., 2007. Medieval architectural drawing: English craftsmen’s methods and their later persistence (c. 1200 – 1700). Tempus, Stroud.

Pritchard, V., 1967. English Medieval Graffiti. Cambridge University Press.


Anna’s List:

Various, 2019. Magic and Witchery in the Modern West: Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of ‘The Triumph of the Moon’, eds. Shai Feraro, Shai, Ethan Doyle White. Palgrave Macmillan.

Various, 2017. Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Modern Paganism, ed. Kathryn Rountree. Palgrave Macmillan.

Various, ongoing. Folk Tales of Place. The History Press.[1]

Bailey, R. N., 1996. England’s Earliest Sculptors. Toronto.

Greenwood, S., 2005. The Nature of Magic. Routledge.

Hutton, R., 1996. The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. OUP.

Roud, S., 2004. A Pocket Guide to Superstition of the British Isles. Penguin.

Hellebore zine:

The Enquiring Eye journal:

[1] This is a multi-volume project. Folk Tales are grouped by county or geographic location.



Bunhill Fields, London


Crossbones Graveyard, London


St Vedast alias Foster, London


St Margaret of Antioch Cowlinge, Suffolk


St Clements, Rodel, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides


Minster Church of St Mary, Stow in Lindsey, Lincolnshire


Doon Hill, Aberfoyle


Bradford on Avon Barn, Bradford-on-Avon


Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, Devon


Tarr Steps, Exmoor National Park, Somerset


Minster Church, Boscastle, Cornwall


Men-an-Tol, Penzance, Cornwall

Popular Magic: Then and Now

Date And Time

Tue, 17 November 2020

18:00 – 19:30 GMT

This conversation about popular magic and folk customs is open to everyone and forms part of the Being Human Festival Cafe initiative.

About this Event

What kind of things do you do ‘just for luck’? Writing a wish on a piece of paper, burning it and drinking the ash with your New Year’s champagne, tying a ribbon on a special tree for good fortune, wearing a ‘lucky’ necklace to a job interview – these small rituals permeate our daily lives. They are difficult to categorise, belonging neither to any mainstream religion, nor aligning strictly with pagan revivals like Wicca or Druidry. Instead, these little rites exist on the fringes of other faiths and beliefs, often combining elements from different religions. What does unite them is a belief in magic.

Join Crystal and Anna in a conversation that will take you through medieval churches and pagan sacred sites in search of popular magic. The two speakers will explain the symbolism behind common popular magic traditions and uncover the unexpected ways in which they still persevere today.

The conversation will take place via Zoom. It is free to attend, but please register using the link below to give the organisers a sense of numbers. The conversation is 40 minutes long with 20 minutes for questions and discussion – you are welcome and encouraged to bring your own magical items for the discussion portion of the programme.

The Sorcerer’s Handbook: Medieval Arabic Magic in Context

A Leverhulme-funded research project, University of Exeter, 2019-2022.

This project focuses on a collection of magical texts attributed to an influential medieval scholar of the Arabic language, Sirāj al-Dīn al-Sakkākī (d. 1229 CE). We are producing an edition and translation of his grimoire, accompanied by a co-authored volume of essays.


Arcane: The History of Magic

A new podcast by Magic and Esotericism Group member Samuel P. Gillis Hogan. Check out the introductory episode here!:

“Magic has been practiced throughout our history, yet many people do not know that it was an ever-present part of our past. While the significance of magic in history has been established by scholars, Arcane attempts to bring this fascinating knowledge beyond academic circles to be enjoyed by everyone. This brief episode introduces: the podcast, its aims, and me – Samuel Gillis Hogan, a PhD researcher specializing in the history of magic.”