1 April 2017 10am – 5.30pm
1 April is the traditional day for hoaxing and japes but deception and deceit riddles everyday communication. From hoax hip-hop stars and haunted houses to military deception and fake news: join the London Fortean Society and Conway Hall Ethical Society for a day of unreal things. Those are charming, others are terrifying.
More speakers to be confirmed.
Fake News panel chaired by Padraig Reidy of Little Atoms.
Ghostwatch: The scariest TV show ever made?
On Halloween 1992 BBC1 viewers watch a chilling live transmission from a haunted house that went terribly wrong. Sarah Greene. Mike Smith and Craig Charles were terrorised. Michael Parkinson ended the program far worse than that. The drama, depicted as a documentary, was frightening, controversial and not shown for another ten years afterwards.
Writer Stephen Volk and director Lesley Manning show excerpts and discuss the making, impact and influence of Ghostwatch on its twenty-fifth anniversary.
Orion: The Man Who Would Be King & The Great Hip Hop Hoax
Jeanie Finlay is an artist and film-maker who creates intimate and personal documentary films and artworks. She will be telling the stories of, and showing excerpts from, two of her films: the Bifa winning Orion: The Man Who Would Be King, Panto!, Bifa and Grierson-nominated The Great Hip Hop Hoax.
Orion: The Man Who Would Be King
From Jeanie’s Director’s statement: “A roller coaster tale of the Nashville music scene in the wake of Elvis Presley’s death, taking in deception, a quest for success, a search for identity and ending in brutal and tragic murder. […] Even if you’ve never heard of Orion, you probably know about the ‘Elvis is Alive’ myth. What I uncovered was that the story of Orion is the story of how that myth got started.”
The Great Hip-Hop Hoax
Californian hip-hop duo Silibil n' Brains were going to be massive. What no-one knew was the pair were really students from Scotland, with fake American accents and made up identities.
Magic, Deception and the Abuses of Enchantment
Mark Pilkington looks at two formerly secret documents, published six decades apart, that reveal the methodologies of psychological manipulation and deception practised by American and British intelligence services. “The Art of Deception, Training for a New Generation of Online Covert Operations”, an internal presentation for the UK’s GCHQ, was leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden earlier this year, while “The Exploitation of Superstitions for Purposes of Psychological Warfare” was published by USAF’s RAND Corporation in 1950.
The similarities between the two papers demonstrate that while the world we live in has changed dramatically in the intervening years, the human mind, and the techniques for manipulating it, have remained very much the same; both papers discuss the exploitation of belief systems and fortean phenomena.
Mark Pilkington is the author of Mirage Men (2010, now a feature documentary) and runs Strange Attractor Press.
More speakers to be confirmed shortly.