The Mysterium is a thoroughly modern exploration of the world’s most bizarre and enigmatic phenomena. Drawing on contemporary folklore, unsolved mysteries and unsettling oddities from the dark corners of the internet, three of its authors delves into some of the strangest and most enduring stories of our modern age.
Host and co-author David Bramwell (The No9 Bus to Utopia/Haunted Moustache/ The Odditorium) introduces the afternoon with a brief look at three fascinating stories from the book:
Why are a million Japanese unable to leave their bedrooms?
The Toynbee Tiler
Who is the mysterious Toynbee Tiler, and why has he or she embedded the message ‘Resurrect Dead on Planet Jupiter’ in over 600 linoleum tiles across North and South America? And what does it have to do with David Mamet??
Salish Sea Mystery
Why do human feet keep washing up on a beach in British Columbia?
David Bramwell – Operation Mindfuck, the story of how a counterculture movement, intent on disrupting our media, just might have been responsible for our post-truth age of fake news.
In the 1960s a mind experiment, Operation Mindfuck, was designed by Robert Anton Wilson and Kerry Thornley to shake the western world out of its grip of rationality and control. It was adopted by fringe groups, including the Cacophony Society and Church of the Subgenus (Bob Dobbs) to spread disinformation through the worship of Eris, goddess of chaos. It led to the creation of Burning Man, Satancon and Fight Club. But was it a victim of its own success, leading to the rise of fake news and The Church of Kek, an occult group who used meme magic to support Trump in 2016? What can we do to stop it? Or should we welcome in this age of uncertainty?
Mark Pilkington – Behind the Flying Saucers
In his 2010 book and documentary film Mirage Men, Mark Pilkington explored the origins of the over-arching American UFO mythology in Cold War counter-intelligence and espionage operations. For this new presentation he’ll consider the UFO lore’s roots in 1940s and ‘50s Red Scare paranoia, and take a look at its most recent manifestation, in rock star Tom Delonge’s ’To The Stars’ project to expose secret extraterrestrial interstellar technologies on Earth.
Jenny Rowe – The Panacea Society.
a secretive religious group which has its roots in the predictions of an 18th Century middle-aged serving maid. Members believe that the true Garden of Eden is located in Bedford, that their Panacea has the power to cure all ills and that God knows the best procedure for baking potatoes.
Jenny is a writer, improviser and actor. She performs dark, improvised Tim Burton-inspired musicals with her company, The Maydays (www.themaydays.co.uk). And she writes science fiction in an occasionally productive way. In 2016 she was asked to play Mabel Barltrop – the founder of the Panacean Society – for The Bedford Play written by Mark Burgess. The Maydays, an award winning improvised comedy and theatre company. As one of the UK’s top schools for improv, we offer critically acclaimed live shows …