In my last post I flagged up a couple of events coming up that seemed like they might be quite interesting; last weekend I managed to toddle off and enjoy one of them, so I thought I’d share the experience.
The London College of Psychic Studies turned 90 at the weekend, or their residency in their permanent home in South Kensington did, at any rate. To celebrate, they opened their doors to all comers, putting on a display of art and artefacts that have been collected over the years.
The college itself is in a tall, but narrow house sandwiched into a standard Kensington terrace. A few doors down is a casino, lurid lights spilling out on to the street – at a glance Mrs Pootler wondered whether that was the college, but no: the college has a more down-to-earth approach to its particular niche. Hogwarts, it ain’t.
I explored the college from the basement up (looking for, but not finding any hidden passageways). The first room was dedicated to Arthur Conan Doyle, president of the college in its early days when it was still directly connected with the Spiritualist church. Archive footage, books, photos and newspaper clippings were the order of the day. Similarly, the next room was dedicated to newspaper clippings from various spiritualist papers.
A stuffed library and reception area on the ground floor gave way to a further three floors of rooms resplendent with photos and artwork – some of the art was ‘automatic’, drawn or painted when in a trance state or whatnot. Here are a few further snaps I took (note: the pallid, reflected face you can half glimpse in some of the photos is either me or Mrs Pootler, not a ghost):
A favourite quote to end on, from a poster advertising Spiritualist lectures (capitalisations intact):
The Priest offers you a Book and Dogmas. The Occultist offers you a Key and Facts.
For the avoidance of doubt, I’d take imagination and art over either, but it’s nice to paddle around and get different perspectives.
If you’ve got some favourite esoteric haunts around London, let me know in the comments and I’ll check them out.