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We Are Fascinating Project Launch Night "Truth about the Satanic Panic & Other Modern Myths with Prof. Chris French"

  • The Albany 240 Great Portland Street London, England, W1W 5QU United Kingdom (map)

This event is the first of the "We Are Fascinating Project" season of Talks from entertaining experts and insightful individuals. The Talks will each be capped off with a Q&A between the speaker and the audience. It's a social, it's a learning opportunity, it's a little like an interactive book....where the reader gets to ask direct questions to the author.

Speaker Professor Chris French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, as well as being a Patron of the British Humanist Association and a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society. He has published over 130 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences.

In the context of the recent rise in historical sexual abuse allegations, it is helpful to consider the "Satanic Panic" that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.

Many of the beliefs that fuelled those waves of hysteria, where children were taken from their innocent parents and nursery schools were excavated in the search for fantastical underground altars, are not supported by any convincing empirical evidence.

The evidence put forward to support the claim that Satanic abuse was real and widespread, came from dubious sources: children interrogated using inappropriate highly suggestive questioning and memories ostensibly “recovered” from adults during therapy.

A generation after the "Satanic Panic", the world is confronted with a new era featuring the internet, social media and "fake" news. The same principles that fed the fear factory and insanity 30 years ago rolls on into new territories such as the rise of the White Supremacists.

Come and hear Professor Chris French of Goldsmiths explain what happened, how it happened, why it happened......and why it can be seen as happening again in a new form.

Professor French frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims, as well as writing for the Guardian and The Skeptic magazine which, for more than a decade, he also edited. His most recent books are Why Statues Weep, co-edited with Wendy Grossman, Anomalistic Psychology, co-authored with Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, and David Luke, and Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience co-authored with Anna Stone.

Tickets are £10 in advance or £15 on the door.