‘The Colony of the Mad’

The history of Geel, and the future of mental healthcare

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Shaman’s Revenge?

the birth, death and afterlife of our romance with tobacco

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The Lotus Eaters

The island drug culture of Homer’s Odyssey, and where we might find it today

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Stranger than Fiction

From mind control to the Truman Show: how paranoid delusions colonised popular culture

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Sargant Battle for the Mind cover

Over the Edge

William Sargant and the Battle for the Mind

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Iranian tile

The Green Jam of ‘Doctor X’

Science and literature at the Club des Hachischins

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Dreaming While Awake

A history of sane hallucinations

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Movie Poster

The Pope of Opium

Thomas de Quincey, the archetypal drug fiend

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Holmes

“Watson: the Needle!”

Sherlock Holmes and cocaine

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Illuminati image

‘Darkness over All’

John Robison and the birth of the Illuminati conspiracy

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Robert W Paul

Adventures in the Fourth Dimension

The Time Machine and the birth of cinema

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Chavinoid Stela

Enter the Jaguar

The temple ruins of Chavin in Peru reveal the role of hallucinogenic plants in the origins of Andean civilisation

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Cliffe Bonfire Society 150 years

We Burn to Remember

Bonfire Night in Lewes: its riotous origins and survival against the odds

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James Tilly Matthews

James Tilly Matthews and the Air Loom

The secret life and turbulent times of the first man to believe that his mind was being controlled by a machine

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Soldier

The Last Cargo Cult

On the remote island of Tanna in the South Pacific, the worshippers of the mysterious John Frum are still waiting for their promised American cargo…or are they?

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘The Fruitful Matrix of Ghosts’

The psychic investigations of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Faerie Dance with Mushrooms

Mushrooms in Wonderland

Was Victorian fairy art and lore inspired by actual experiences with mind-altering fungi?

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Jamin on one of the sacred stones

The Sacred Stones of Borneo

When the Kelabit people of the Borneo highlands first came into contact with the the modern world during World War 2, they were still erecting ceremonial megaliths

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War of the Worlds book cover

Man of the Year Million

The evolution of H.G.Wells: the Darwinian terrors of The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau and The War of the Worlds.

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symphonie fantastique painting

Opium and the Symphonie Fantastique

The fever dreams of Hector Berlioz, and the role of opium in the composition of his nightmare masterpiece

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Joseph Schneller, Zuchthaus-Chikane, undatiert

The Art of Mind Control

The influencing machine in visionary and outsider art

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Sign of Maitreya by Roerich

The Rites of Roerich

Artist and mystic Nicholas Roerich, after recreating the world of the ancient Slavs for Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, tracked its surviving traces in an epic quest through the Himalayas

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Colonel Despard

Edward and Catherine Despard

The remarkable mixed race marriage of Colonel Edward Despard, executed for high treason in 1803

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