Archive for September, 2013

“Forbidden Histories”: New blog by Andreas Sommer, Ph.D.

Andreas Sommer, historian of the human sciences and post-doctoral researcher at the University of Cambridge, has a new blog entitled “Forbidden Histories”. The blog “is primarily concerned with the functions of popular science and disciplinary history as knowledge management and tries to identify a variety of epistemologies and concerns (many of which, interestingly, have been mutually antagonistic), that have prevented mainstream historical information from entering common knowledge.”

Today, Sommer writes about “The Naturalisation of the ‘Poltergeist’“. His text deals with various figures who might be of interest to H-Madness readers, such as Carl du Prel, Charles Richet, and Eugen Bleuler (left):

An example of the historical continuity of scientific interest in unorthodox questions concerns ‘poltergeist’ phenomena, i.e. the very epitome of ‘things that go bump in the night’.

Probably coined by Martin Luther (a professed poltergeist victim) in sixteenth-century Germany, ‘Poltergeist’ means ‘rumbling spirit’. There is a vast amount of historical records of dramatic poltergeist outbreaks afflicting people from all walks of life, not infrequently resulting in interventions by state authorities, which in turn have produced some of the most detailed records. Among the bizarre but apparently robust features of alleged poltergeist phenomena over time are:

  • The centre of events is usually a specific person, often an adolescent.
  • Unexplained recurring sounds are heard, ranging from raps from within walls or furniture to deafening blows.
  • Sounds are sometimes responsive.
  • Household objects of all sizes and weights are observed to move, sometimes slowly and appearing as if carried.
  • Moved objects appear to penetrate closed windows or walls without causing damage, and they are often reported to be hot.
  • Stones are thrown from without, sometimes from a considerable distance.
  • If approaching a person, thrown objects often appear to recoil before the impact and drop to the floor.
  • Large quantities of water suddenly appear and disappear, and fires spontaneously ignite.
  • Persons are hurled out of bed, slapped or beaten as if by invisible hands, and bitten.
  • Writings and drawings appear on walls or in concealed spaces.
  • Apparitions are perceived, sometimes simultaneously by more than one witness.
  • Pets and animals panic or behave unusually.
  • In post-industrial times, disturbances correspond with malfunctions or unusual behaviour of electronic equipment.


Traditionally, poltergeists were believed to be demons, elementals, or spirits of deceased evil humans, and their activities have often been associated with witchcraft and black magic. Far from being condemned as folly or superstition, such views were held by figureheads of the Scientific Revolution, such as Francis Bacon and later Robert Boyle (pictured on the left). While Bacon submitted bills for the penalisation of witchcraft, Boyle sponsored the English edition of The Devil of Mascon, a classical French poltergeist case, for which he wrote the preface. Boyle (who investigated cases of miraculous healings, premonitions and other supposedly supernatural events) also supported colleagues at the Royal Society such as Joseph Glanvill and Henry More who compiled natural histories of poltergeist disturbances and witchcraft. Historians of science have argued that these investigations were inspired by deep worries of religious deviance (such as popular atheism, animism, hylozoism and pantheism), which were perceived to undermine regulative moral functions of Christian belief in the reward and punishment of the soul in the afterlife.

To read the entire piece, click here.

CfP: “Visions of Enchantment: Occultism, Spirituality & Visual Culture” International Conference (Cambridge, UK, May 2014)

Visions of Enchantment:
Occultism, Spirituality & Visual Culture

International Conference

University of Cambridge, 17-18 March 2014

This two-day event is a collaboration between the Department of History of Art, University of Cambridge and the Arts University Bournemouth and is organised in association with the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism. The conference seeks to investigate the formative role that occultism and magic have played in Western and non-Western visual and material culture. It aims to present original research in this feld as well as to establish a productive dialogue between academics with a particular research interest in occultism and visual culture.

We invite proposals from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, provided that they present innovative insights into visual, symbolic or material aspects of the esoteric tradition.

Acceptable topics may include, but are by no means limited to, the following areas:

• Alchemy and Hermetic symbolism;

• Astrology and astrological illustrations;

• The visual and material culture of witchcraft, black magic and sorcery;

• Talismans, totems, fetishes and other apotropaic objects;

• Occult and spiritual aspects of Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Hindu art and architecture, including sacred iconography, sacred architecture, manuscript illumination and the material culture of worship, ritual performance and festivity;

• Theosophy and modern visual culture;

• The visual and material culture of other occult movements and societies, including Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Mesmerism, Spiritism, the Salon de la Rose+Croix, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Satanism and New Age Spirituality;

• Surrealism and the politics of the occult;

• The influence of occultism and the spiritual on other avant-garde movements, including Symbolism, Expressionism, Futurism, Cubism, Constructivism, Dada and Abstract Expressionism;

• Occult art, counter-culture and radical/subversive politics;

• Women artists and the occult;

• Gendered, sexual and ‘queer’ ramifcations of esoteric art;

• Photography, spiritism, séances and automatic drawings/paintings;

• The supernatural in performance, cinema, experimental flm and video-installations;

• Occultism and magic in contemporary visual culture.

Papers should be 20 minutes in length and will be followed by a 10-minute Q&A session. Abstracts of no more than 500 words and a short bio-sketch of no more than 150 words should be sent as a single Word.doc to by 31 October 2013. We plan to publish the proceedings of this conference. Please indicate therefore whether you would be interested in further developing your paper for a publication of collected essays after the event.

Confrmed keynote speakers are Professor Antoine Faivre (Sorbonne), Professor M. E. Warlick (University of Denver), Professor Emilie Savage-Smith (University of Oxford), Dr Marco Pasi (University of Amsterdam) and Dr Sarah Turner (University of York).

For more information, please visit

The Conference Committee

Judith Noble (Arts University Bournemouth)

Rachel Parikh (Magdelene College, University of Cambridge)

Daniel Zamani (Trinity College, University of Cambridge)

Conference: Psychotherapeutics from the York Retreat to the Present Day (London, October 2013)

Conference: Psychotherapeutics from the York Retreat to the Present Day

UCL Centre for the History of Psychological Disciplines

Friday, 11 October 2013 at 11:00 – Sunday, 13 October 2013 at 18:00 (BST)

London, United Kingdom

A 3-day international conference bringing together historians, clinical practitioners and anthropologists to present original research and discuss the development of psychotherapies since the 18th century.


 Friday 11th October


10.30 Registration opens, Old Refectory, UCL Main Building


Welcome address


18th and 19th Centuries


Edward Brown (Independent scholar)

François Leuret:  Nineteenth Century Psychotherapist

Sharlene Walbaum (Quinnipian University, Connecticut)

Moral Therapies Before the York Retreat: Work and Therapeutics in 18th C English and Scottish Asylums’

Andrea Korenjak (Paris-Lodron-University, Salzburg)

Music and “Moral Treatment”: Music as Therapeutic Medium in the 19th Century as Reflected in Present-Day Music Therapy Concepts

Lunch 12.30-14.00


Late 19th Century


Sarah Chaney (University College London)

The Action of the Imagination: Daniel Hack Tuke and Late Victorian Psychotherapeutics


Thibaud Trochu (University of Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Lourdes’s ‘miraculous’ healings as viewed by a protestant scientist


C. Bartolucci and G.P Lombardo (University of Rome Sapienza)

The renewal in the diagnosis and treatment of the abnormal subjects according to Enrico Morselli(1852-1929)

15.00-15.30 coffee break


Early-Mid 20th Century


Monika Ankele (University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf)

Occupational Therapy in Germany during the Weimar Period (1918-1933)

David Freis (European University Institute, Florence)

Subordination, Authority, Psychotherapy: Mental Hygiene and Politics in Interwar Vienna

Simon Taylor (Columbia University New York)

Between Philosophy and Psychotherapeutics: Existential Analysis and the Birth of Anxiety


Psychiatry in the ‘60s and ‘70s

Peter Agulnik, Craig Fees, David Kennard, David Millard, & John Hall (British Psychological Society)

Harnessing personal experience in understanding the development of therapeutic communities and environments: an Oxford case history

Kateřina Lišková (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic)

Everything for the Couple: Sex Therapy in Czechoslovakia during Normalization

Saturday 12th October


Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis


Susan Lamb (McGill University)

Importing, Appropriating, and Condemning Psychoanalysis:Adolf Meyer’s Use of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalytic Technique at Johns Hopkins, 1913-1917

Arthur Eaton (University College London)

Undercurrents: the history of lay psycho-analysis in the USA

Dee McQuillan (University College London)

Bringing Psychoanalysis to Bloomsbury: Strachey and the Translation of Freud into English.

12.00-13.30 lunch


Art Therapies

Susan Hogan

History of Art Therapy

Imogen Wiltshire (University of Birmingham)

On the Historical Origins of British Art Therapy: Arthur Segal, Painting and German Modernism

Cristina Hanganu-Bresch (University of the Sciences, Philadelphia)

The Proof is in the Brush-Stroke: Diagnosing and Treating Psychiatric Patients through Art

14.30-15.30 coffee break


Transcultural Contexts

 Nancy Rose Hunt (University of Michigan)

Neurasthenia and Vernacular Therapies the Colonial Situation of the Congo


Yu-Chuan Wu (Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taiwan)

Psychotherapy at Home: Morita Therapy for Neurotic Disposition in Japan, 1919-1945

Roland Littlewood (University College London)

Anthropological Approaches and Transcultural Psychiatry


Sunday 13th October



New Paradigms in Modern Psychotherapy


Sonu Shamdasani (University College London)

Notes on Wellbeing in 20th Century Psychotherapy


Felicity Callard (University of Durham)

Behavioural Therapy and the Calibration of Anxiety

Rachel Rosner (Independent Scholar)

To Manualize Psychotherapy: Aaron T. Beck and the Creation of the Manualized Treatment Protocol



Hallucinogens and Psychotherapy


Matei Iagher (University College London)

Ronald Sandison and the Use of LSD in Psychotherapy

Jelena Martinovic (University of Lausanne)

Bootstrappers Seeking to Understand Creativity: Experimental Science, Psychiatry and Cybernetics (1960-1970)


Sarah Marks

Stanislav Grof and LSD Psychotherapy

14.30-15.00 coffee break


Concepts and Debates in Modern Psychotherapy


Stephanie Pache (University of Lausanne)


Ulrich Koch (Johns Hopkins University)

Cruel to be kind? The politics of professionalism and the controversies over therapists’ displays of emotions in the consulting room (ca. 1940-1980)

Andreas Sommer (University of Cambridge)

Discarnate Spirits as Pathogens and Cure in Modern Western Psychiatry

For tickets, click here.

New Release: Paris Requiem, by Lisa Appignanesi

Arcadia Books has now published a new edition of Lisa Appignanesi’s novel Paris Requiem:

Paris,1899. Capital of the crime passionnel. The city is electric with excitement…

Preparations for the universal exhibition and the dawn of a new century have hit fever pitch. But the sensual spectacle of the belle époque is overshadowed by racial and social tensions, as the Dreyfus affair unleashes a riotous surge of anti-semitism into its midst enters James Norton, an American charged with bringing home his brother Raf and their high-spirited sister Ellie. When the body of the beautiful Jewish woman Raf loves turns up in the Seine, and her sister is discovered in the sprawling Salpétrière asylum, the siblings are drawn into a dark web of violence, madness and death. As James reluctantly tackles his mission, it emerges that he and Paris share a history – one that is not altogether unlinked to the turbulent present that now confronts him.

Click here for a recent review of Paris Requiem in The Independent.

Appignanesi is also the author of several non-fiction books such as the acclaimed Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors, which inspired the new exhibition taking place at the Freud Museum this season.

Colloque international : “La Salpêtrière, un théâtre de l’hystérie. D’une scène à l’autre : Charcot, Freud, Lacan” (Paris, octobre 2013)

Colloque international des 4 et 5 Octobre 2013 

400 ans de la Salpêtrière

120eme anniversaire de la mort de Jean-Martin Charcot 

L’Association Psychanalyse et Médecine (APM)


l’Université Paris XIII

en partenariat avec

l’Université de l’Etat de Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)

l’Université Veiga de Almeida(UVA-RJ) 

 et l’Association Insistance



La Salpêtrière, un théâtre de l’hystérie

D’une scène à l’autre : Charcot, Freud, Lacan


Vendredi 4 Octobre 

Université Paris XIII-Villetaneuse, Amphithéâtre 5


Samedi 5 Octobre 

Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Amphithéâtre  Charcot


Entrée gratuite

Le nombre de places étant limité, il est recommandé de s’inscrire ici


Journée du Vendredi  4 Octobre

Comité scientifique


Marie BARTHELEMY , Pr Elisabeth BELMAS , Eric BIDAUD, Anne BOURGAIN , Pr Jean- François  CHIANTARETTO, Pr Aline COHEN, Pr Marco Antonio COUTINHO JORGE, Pr Gilbert FABRE, Laure GODINEAU , Patrice GUERIN, Marie JEJCIC, Pr Marie Claude LAMBOTTE, Pr Vladimir MARINOV , Pr Marie-Anne PAVEAU, Pr Antonio QUINET, Pr Juliette VION-DURY


 Comité d’organisation 


Marie-Laure ABECASSIS – Christine ARBISIO.- Victor-Georges BARANOWSKI – Evelyne BARSAMIAN – Gabriel BINKOWSKI – Sebastien BOGAJEWSKI – Anne BOURGAIN – Ludovic DESJARDINS – Virginie FUSEY – Marie-France GRINSCHPOUN – Alain GUERIN – Elodie JACQUES – Christopher LECLERC – Paolo LOLLO – Lou Andreas MARCHAUT – Stéphane MARKOVIC – Benjamin ROYER – Alexandra VASQUEZ D’ALMEIDA –


Journée du Samedi 5 Octobre


Comité scientifique

Pr Jean François ALLILAIRE, Pr Fethi BENSLAMA , Pr François BRICAIRE, Pr Danièle BRUN, Pr Jean-Yves DELATTRE, Pr Patrick GOUDOT, Pr Patrick GUYOMARD, Andrée LEHMANN, Dr Michèle LEVY-SOUSSAN, Dr Alain de MIJOLLA, Dr Gilda SABBSAY FOKS, Pr Daniel WILDLÖCHER


Comité d’organisation

Marie-laure ABECASSIS, Anne BOURGAIN, Daniele EPSTEIN, Dr Houchang GUILYARDI, Dr Alain LELLOUCH, Danièle LEVY, Paolo LOLLO, Michelle MOREAU RICAUD, Josette OLIER, Genevieve VIALET BINE.

Tous nos remerciements au Comité Psychiatrique Abbevillois pour son soutien

Article: “The enduring legacy of Freud – Anna Freud” (BBC News)

BBC News has a new article dated 7 September entitled

“The enduring legacy of Freud – Anna Freud”

The legacy of Sigmund Freud – the founder of psychoanalysis is well known. But perhaps less so is the impact his daughter Anna had, and continues to have, on child psychoanalysis.

Her involvement began at the age of just 13, when she took part in her father’s weekly discussions on psychoanalytic ideas.

Controversially, she is also believed to have received some informal therapy from her father.

By the time of her death in 1982, Anna Freud’s work had revolutionised how we treat children in many walks of life, such as in hospital – with longer visiting hours when children are having treatment – and in the judicial system, where screens and video cameras are used when children have to give evidence.

To read the entire article, click here.

To hear Claudia Hammond’s account of the life and legacy of Anna Freud in Radio 4’s Mind Changers, click here

Hampstead Theatre Presents “Hysteria” (By and Directed by Terry Johnson)

1938. Hampstead, London.

Sigmund Freud has fled Nazi-occupied Austria and settled in leafy Swiss Cottage. At eighty two years old, he aims to spend his final days in peace. However, when Salvador Dalí turns up to discover a less than fully dressed woman in the closet, peace becomes somewhat elusive…

An acknowledged Modern Classic, Terry Johnson’s hilarious farce explores the fall-out when two of the twentieth century’s most brilliant and original minds collide.

Double Olivier award-winner Antony Sher makes a highly anticipated return to Hampstead Theatre in a play that also raises intriguing questions about Freud’s radical revision of his theories of hysteria. His recent theatre credits include The Captain of Kopenick andTravelling Light at the National Theatre.

Terry Johnson returns to Hampstead Theatre following the sell-out hits Old Money starring Maureen Lipman and David Mamet’s Race. His many award-winning productions includeEntertaining Mr SloaneThe Graduate and La Cage aux Folles in the West End.

Running time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 20 minute interval.

Please note that this play contains scenes of an adult nature.

In association with Theatre Royal Bath Productions.

Image courtesy of The Freud Museum

For more information, click here.

%d bloggers like this: