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Saint Valentine: Patron of Lovers and Epilepsy

Saint Valentine: Patron of Lovers and Epilepsy

St. Valentine of Terni, a third-century Roman saint, was known as the patron saint of lovers. He had the reputation of healing the sick and is said to have restored the sight of Julia, the daughter of Asterius his jailer.

European Mysticism: A case for criminal law?

European Mysticism: A case for criminal law?

Europe witnessed a revival of Catholic mysticism during the “culture wars” — or the secular-religious conflicts of the nineteenth-century — during which the Catholic Church struggled with anticlericalism and the establishment of liberal governments (Clark and Kaiser, 2003).

Psychiatry and Psychopathology of Paranormal Phenomena

Psychiatry and Psychopathology of Paranormal Phenomena

Anyone inquiring into the nature of paranormal experiences and events does so with some apprehension and at some peril to himself. To remain wholly impartial in the face of inexplicable and disturbing phenomena is a difficult achievement, and inevitably one is swayed by one’s own biases which may take the form of a determined scepticism or an equally determined belief in the objective reality of the occult.

Explaining the Unexplained: Warranting Disbelief in the Paranormal

Explaining the Unexplained: Warranting Disbelief in the Paranormal

For well over a century, psychologists have attempted to understand belief in psychic or paranormal phenomena (e.g. Carpenter, 1873; Jastrow, 1886). In doing so, they have traditionally approached such beliefs as erroneous, and often the product of misattribution of normal (i.e. non-paranormal) experiences. Such experiences have been attributed to malobservation, probability misjudgement, gullibility and wishful thinking, while belief in the paranormal has been associated with low intelligence, marginal social status, inadequate education, and a lack of critical thinking (e.g. Gilovich, 1991; Irwin, 1993; Wiseman and Watt, 2006).

Real Monsters and Imagined Horror Stories Evolved

Real Monsters and Imagined Horror Stories Evolved

All normally developed humans are equipped with cognitive machinery dedicated to threat detection and handling, machinery that has been assembled and fine-tuned incrementally by a long process of natural selection. We have evidence to suggest that horror fiction runs on the same machinery.

The Rise of Obscene Public Anatomy in Victorian London

The Rise of Obscene Public Anatomy in Victorian London

Established in England in 1851, at the height of popular interest in anatomy, Dr Joseph Kahn’s Anatomical and Pathological Museum was intended to show the “wondrous” structure of the body and to warn of the harmful consequences to the health of abuses that “distort or defile” its “beautiful structure”.

Hunter’s Resurrection, Corpse Art, and the Stolen Irish Giant

Hunter’s Resurrection, Corpse Art, and the Stolen Irish Giant

By the middle of the eighteenth-century, medical science in Britain was rapidly evolving. Surgeons had split from the Worshipful Company of Barbers as a professional guild in 1745, forming the Company of Surgeons. This was the forerunner of the Royal College of Surgeons, which was created by Royal Charter in 1800, and the reason we do not call hospital consultants “Doctor” — barber-surgeons held no medical degree.

The Psychology in American Film Noir and Gothic Thrillers

The Psychology in American Film Noir and Gothic Thrillers

Insanity, paranoia, and psychology have long been a staple of American film noir thrillers. These motion pictures provide insight into an evolving American popular culture landscape from World War II through the postwar era and function as cultural, industrial, and aesthetic products of Hollywood’s classical studio system during a fascinating period of the American film industry.

The Hideous Rise and Fall of Celebrity, Murderous Pathology

The Hideous Rise and Fall of Celebrity, Murderous Pathology

Celebrity pathology was born in England one hundred years ago, when Sir Bernard Spilsbury’s identification of scar tissue on a fragment of putrefied flesh found in the cellar of 39 Hilldrop Crescent secured the conviction of Hawley Harvey Crippen for the murder of his wife. Exactly a century later, the same case that witnessed the rise of this new star in the forensic firmament is engulfed in a controversy that suggests his time has passed.

Nightmares, Sleep Paralysis and Witchcraft Accusations

Nightmares, Sleep Paralysis and Witchcraft Accusations

The historical record shows that personal experience of bewitchment was multifarious, concerning livestock, goods, chattels, and agricultural processes. However, over the last five centuries the majority of those experiences that were deemed severe enough to lead to the formal accusation, prosecution, or physical assault of supposed witches, concerned people suffering from ill health, or some other form of physical or mental discomfort.

Witch-Children: The Forensic Myth of the Innocent Child

Witch-Children: The Forensic Myth of the Innocent Child

In a world that agonises over perennial betrayal, cruelty, war, mass slaughter, and other failures of humanity, we passionately long for exemplars of unadulterated goodness — and the child, like some sacred icon, has been traditionally placed upon an imaginary altar so that we might revere virtues lacking in ourselves. This is the benchmark of romanticism: to seek virtue and beauty in groups, places, and times which are remote and relatively unknown. Such lack of knowledge preserves the impeccability of the icon.

The New Psychological Spaces for the American Gothic

The New Psychological Spaces for the American Gothic

Upon approaching the subject of the American Gothic short story, one encounters diverse places in which the narratives take place: different geographies, cartographies and spaces that define the atmosphere of the stories themselves.

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Bloody Serial Killers of History’s Worst Murder Sprees

Bloody Serial Killers of History’s Worst Murder Sprees

This article discusses how serial killers do not resemble those we see in cinema or literary works. In truth, the percentage of female serial killers has been...

The Vile Atrocities of Blood Countess Erzsébet Báthory

The Vile Atrocities of Blood Countess Erzsébet Báthory

Countess Erzsébet Báthory continues to draw the interest of historians, critics, artists, and in the process, one could argue, the victimising of...

‘Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural’

‘Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural’

‘Gothicka: Vampire Heroes, Human Gods, and the New Supernatural’ is an attempt to explain, as accurately and in the simplest terms as one can...