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Schedule subject to change and adjustment.

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Panel [clear filter]
Friday, May 15
 

6:00pm

The Victorian Asylum
The Victorian mental asylum is an institution that continues to capture the imagination. If the book you are reading or the show you are watching is set in one, the ambiance and atmosphere are immediately established. However, these were real places, occupied by real people; not simply literary tropes.

Why did they come into existence? What did the people who operated them think they would accomplish, and how? Who went there, and what did they do while there? Why did the asylums look the way they did? And, can we learn anything from them of use today?

Professor Verdigris Wetware, MS, MD, the Medical Superintendent of the Mechanicsburg Asylum will take you on a tour of the idea that was the Asylum; and also, for your added fascination, will demonstrate a small collection of generally harmless electrotherapeutic devices.



Friday May 15, 2015 6:00pm - 6:45pm
Salon D Radisson

7:00pm

What Big Teeth You Have – The Darker Side of Fairy Tales
Delving into the monsters and brutality lurking within the pages of fairy tales and folklore, and presented by renowned artist Abigail Larson, this panel will dig well past the depths of children’s bedtime stories and into the fears that shaped these cautionary tales.

Presenters


Friday May 15, 2015 7:00pm - 7:45pm
Salon D Radisson

8:00pm

Edgar Allan Poe and 19th Century Pseudoscience
Presented by Chris Semtner of the Poe Museum, this panel will present an open discussion regarding the Master of Horror and the influences of science and pseudoscience as understood in the 19th century.

Presenters


Friday May 15, 2015 8:00pm - 8:45pm
Salon D Radisson

9:00pm

Freakshow
Sinister stories and hellish historical accounts of freaks, fakirs, illusionists, snake oil salesmen and all matters odd. Modern day practitioners of the art of the circus sideshow “Karnevil” will guide you through the crowded tents of yesteryear, full of mummies, spinsters, six legged men and other circus freaks! Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.

Presenters


Friday May 15, 2015 9:00pm - 9:45pm
Salon D Radisson

10:00pm

Crowley in Context: Victorian London and the Beast
This Salon will explore the social, spiritual and political climate of London during the life of Alistair Crowley and his impact on the cultural landscape. We will examine his involvement in fraternal societies, his body of work and his relationships with other occultists of the day. Time permitting, we’ll take a closer look at the The Book of the Law, new aeon magick and how they resonate with (and break away from) the ideologies of the day.

Professional adventurer Soror L.V.X. wears many hats (most of them fancy). When she’s not digging for the past as an Archaeologist, performing burlesque throughout the mid Atlantic or crafting wearable art, she’s investigating the history of modern magick. Her presentations for the Nightshade Society will focus on western occultism in the Victorian/Edwardian and current contexts. With a decade of experience in the modern movement, her perspective is that of a practitioner with a background in history.

Presenters


Friday May 15, 2015 10:00pm - 10:45pm
Salon D Radisson

11:00pm

Low Lives: Thugs and Criminal Culture in Victorian London
Explore the seedy underbelly of Victorian culture- Beyond the veneer of etiquette and propriety thrives a host of gangs, brothels, saloons, and gambling dens. Meet some of their denizens, from thugs to confidence men and bank robbers, and learn how they lived and diedÖ Presented by Michael Locascio of Dellamorte & Co.

Friday May 15, 2015 11:00pm - 11:45pm
Salon D Radisson
 
Saturday, May 16
 

12:00pm

The Eterna Files: Reading, Part 1
Leanna Renee Hieber is on book tour for her latest Gaslamp Fantasy novel with Tor books, THE ETERNA FILES! From Tor: Imagine The X-Files meets Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series and set in Victorian London and New York City–welcome to The Eterna Files, where the race for immortality touches off a far greater danger than two misguided offices of stalwart paranormal detectives could have bargained for. That which frightens death is cause for terror indeed.

Presenters
avatar for Leanna Renee Hieber

Leanna Renee Hieber

Author at Tor Books, Actress, Playwright, Perky Goth
Leanna is an actress, playwright and award winning, bestselling author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels (Gaslamp Fantasy) for adults and teens, such as the Strangely Beautiful saga, the Magic Most Foul saga and the Eterna Files saga with Tor books. Her Strangely Beautiful saga won... Read More →



Saturday May 16, 2015 12:00pm - 12:45pm
Salon D Radisson

1:00pm

Beauty Beyond the Veil
The most beautiful expression of love and grief in the Victorian era was the tradition of post mortem photography. To capture a last glimpse of a loved one forever on film became an art form. Come take a look at examples of this art while learning the ins and outs of recognizing post mortem versus living subjects. The symbols used to convey loss and grief, the props of mourning, and the deep beauty of a love that passes beyond the veil of death. After the panel, there will be the opportunity to take your very own “post mortem” pictures. We will be setting up a tableau including some of the symbolism discussed.

Presenters


Saturday May 16, 2015 1:00pm - 1:45pm
Salon D Radisson

5:00pm

Vampirism & Premature Burial in Early Modern London
Come learn about a time in English history where the lines between life and death were blurred due to medical misunderstandings. You’ll hear about the fear and commonality of being buried alive, and the lengths people went to in order to control that fear.

History of medicine scholar, Nicole Salomone, regales us with tales of the undead and the mostly dead in Early Modern London. Come on a journey to some of the darkest areas of the Enlightened Age.

Presenters


Saturday May 16, 2015 5:00pm - 5:45pm
Salon D Radisson

6:00pm

The Occult Renaissance of the 19th century
The Victorian era was not only a period of scientific and technological advances, but also of metaphysical and occult awakening. Come hear about the movers and shakers of the Victorian occult (including the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley) and the stories that didn't make it into the history books. Presented by Starwolf of Foresight.

Presenters


Saturday May 16, 2015 6:00pm - 6:45pm
Salon D Radisson

7:00pm

Paranormal Panel
Join us for another lively discussion of popular topics in the paranormal today. Bringing together helenistic pagan Holly Abair, demonologist and paranormal investigator Kevin Meares, Omnimancer Arthur oyer, Historian Dru Rusanski, ordained priest Father Joe Broz and paranormal investigator Matthew Tierney this will prove an interesting look at the paranormal side of life and what really is out there in the dark.


Saturday May 16, 2015 7:00pm - 7:45pm
Salon D Radisson

8:00pm

Edgar Allan Poe and Victorian Mourning
Presented by Chris Semtner of the Poe Museum, this panel will open discussion and present how Victorian Mourning relates to the works of Poe. From burial and funerary practices to the obsession that Victorians held with death and aspects of the macabre to better understand the workings of the great writer.

Presenters


Saturday May 16, 2015 8:00pm - 8:45pm
Salon D Radisson

9:00pm

To Our Dearly Departed: Victorian Mourning Attire and Custom
An Enthusiast’s Guide to the appropriate etiquette of how best to fashionably express your anguish. The Victorians truly were remarkable in the many strict rules and rituals surrounding every aspect of their daily lives. Naturally, Death shall be no exception.

In this Lecture we will offer up guidelines straight from the grandest funeral customs of the Victorian Era, complete with the discussion of the stages of mourning in fashion as well as how to properly participate in a formal funeral procession.
Mourning Attire is encouraged. Somber reflection optional.

Saturday May 16, 2015 9:00pm - 9:45pm
Salon D Radisson

10:00pm

The Murder Castle of the World’s Fair
Three miles west of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair stood a building, known to locals as “The Castle”, and advertised as The World’s Fair Hotel.

The man who owned, as well as designed it, built it for one purpose, to draw in women traveling to the bustling city of Chicago for the fair, and murder them all.

Join professional ladykiller J.R. Whitcomb of “Karnevil” in a dissection of Herman Mudgett a.k.a. Dr. H.H. Holmes, his methods, his madness, and his Murder Castle.



Saturday May 16, 2015 10:00pm - 10:45pm
Salon D Radisson

11:00pm

Virtue and Vice: Gilded Age Sexuality
Modesty was a public virtue in the gilded age, behind closed doors was another matter entirely. This 45 minute panel explores the vicious side of Victorian sexuality. Visual aids, live entertainment, medical devices, brothel “menus”, notable perpetrators of immorality and film will be discussed and viewed. The presenters have diverse interests and backgrounds and look forward to sharing their research with the deviants of the Nightshade Society. This panel is strictly rated 18+.

Saturday May 16, 2015 11:00pm - 11:45pm
Salon D Radisson

12:00am

Field Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos
Grimm Investigations presents THE FIELD GUIDE TO CTHULHU MYTHOS. Topics covered will range from Abd Al-Hazred to the Mi-Go to Nyralayhotep to possible defenses (if any) which you could hope to rely on if encountering one of the unspeakable horrors of the night.


Sunday May 17, 2015 12:00am - 12:45am
Salon D Radisson
 
Sunday, May 17
 

11:00am

The Eterna Files: Reading, Part 2
Leanna Renee Hieber is on book tour for her latest Gaslamp Fantasy novel with Tor books, THE ETERNA FILES! From Tor: Imagine The X-Files meets Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series and set in Victorian London and New York City–welcome to The Eterna Files, where the race for immortality touches off a far greater danger than two misguided offices of stalwart paranormal detectives could have bargained for. That which frightens death is cause for terror indeed.

Presenters
avatar for Leanna Renee Hieber

Leanna Renee Hieber

Author at Tor Books, Actress, Playwright, Perky Goth
Leanna is an actress, playwright and award winning, bestselling author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels (Gaslamp Fantasy) for adults and teens, such as the Strangely Beautiful saga, the Magic Most Foul saga and the Eterna Files saga with Tor books. Her Strangely Beautiful saga won... Read More →



Sunday May 17, 2015 11:00am - 11:45am
Salon D Radisson

1:00pm

Dark Continent
A special conversation on how a lesser explored and in some ways misunderstood Dark Continent of Africa plays into the Steampunk genre. An entire continent cannot revealed in one hour. Therefore, El Corsario Negro will focus on the nature of those things most common to us... The things we have watched on screen and read over the last 200 years or so. Zombies: walking dead or more? The mojo missing from Harry Potter? When Africa meets Pirates in the Caribbean. Moreover, how this is not so different from the not so Dark Continents everywhere else.

Presented by Doyaun Chavez De Valda aka El Corsario Negro.

When he is not busying himself in his IT Company where he has been a Managing Partner for 7 years, El is normally about developing a number of side projects involving the creative arts. With over 25 years of Acting, Dance, Production, Design, and multiple talks on world history and culture, he has turned up for SPWF 2015 to introduce his personal brand of Speculative Fiction, which has spawned a number of successes in various venues and crews. El has worked with Spoleto USA, Produced and Directed “A Series of One Act Plays”.

He has performed on stage with a number of acting troupes, as well as performed vocally in an Off-Broadway Operetta. After surviving a life-threatening cancer, he took a major break from performance and still maintains a wide vocal range when not dealing with side effects from treatment. He was last caught dabbling in the famous or infamous Khalwa of NERO LARP, which he created and designed to introduce multicultural world thought for a group he mentored. You will still find his work in their world setting. Currently his company Starwatch Omega Enterprises, LLP., has finally begun a production subsidiary called Jaha Studios to pursue his own world setting called Alternate Aerth of which his group The Steampunk World Order (facebook link https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkWorld )plays a major role.

You will not find him often without his right hand man Dr. Gerrard Evans. When they are not fighting for whatever is in that coffee cup...not coffee, they are constantly discussing how to bring history and politics into the discussion. During the 2012 debate cycle they played truth tellers to the statements of the candidates, often to rousing exchanges and external commentary.

Foremost is his need for success but his passion for exploring themes and ideas that push the envelope. The creed of Starwatch is “Great minds seeking to accomplish the extraordinary.” And he hopes he will be able to inspire you to do the same.



Sunday May 17, 2015 1:00pm - 1:45pm
Salon D Radisson

2:00pm

Edgar Allan Poe Poe and Visual Arts
Presented by Chris Semtner of the Poe Museum, this panel will present the influences of Visual Arts on the great writer and how great the artistic interpretations would deliver a deeper understanding of Poe’s work during his time.

Presenters


Sunday May 17, 2015 2:00pm - 2:45pm
Salon D Radisson

3:00pm

Superhuman: Stories of Houdini
The name Harry Houdini is legendary, as one of the great magicians, and as the greatest escape artist to have ever lived. The tales of his life sound more like myth than history, yet many of them truly happened. Houdini aficionado, J.R. Whitcomb of “Karnevil,” will take you on a whirlwind tour of the life of Houdini, from his humble beginnings as a traveling magician, to his rise to fame, to his battles with false mediums, and lastly, his untimely demise. These tales will be supplemented with demonstrations of some of the effects that made Houdini’s early career, along with explanations of the methods behind them.



Sunday May 17, 2015 3:00pm - 3:45pm
Salon D Radisson

4:00pm

What is Wrong with Romantic Vampires?
Seems like vampires get a bad repute now a days. With Twilight, True Blood, even some recent movies with Dracula himself. But is it really all so wrong? Join Ahmetia Campbell (movie buff), Katerina Campbell (occult buff), and Kevin Meares (demonologist and vampire buff) in a look back on the history and tropes of the vampires!


Sunday May 17, 2015 4:00pm - 4:45pm
Salon D Radisson