Online Talk: Death and the Victorians – A Dark Fascination


In Death and the Victorians, author Adrian Mackinder explores the dark side of the nineteenth century, when hunger for truth about what lies beyond the grave was matched only by the imagination and invention used to find it.

From serial killers to ghosts, we are fascinated by death – and we owe all these modern obsessions with things that go bump in the night to the Victorians.

Pull up a pew in London’s grisly Enon Chapel, stuffed with hundreds of corpses rotting just beneath your feet. Behold the spectacle of the Paris Morgue, where thousands of tourists flocked to view the dead every single day.

Lift the veil on a time when ghosts, poltergeists and ectoplasm were invited into the home, occult societies awoke the old gods and taught ways to cheat death, and science was used to provide concrete proof in the afterlife.

Explore why the Victorian period is still the ‘Golden Age of the Ghost Story’, exemplified by timeless tales of dread from the likes of Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell, Oscar Wilde and Henry James.

Discover how the popular press gave birth to our love of true crime. Be enthralled by the controversial argument that the most notorious murderer of them all, Jack the Ripper, was a work of pure Gothic horror fiction, invented by cynical, opportunist Victorian newspapermen.

By exploring Victorian technology, culture, ritual and practices, this entertaining and enlightening talk exposes a unique era when the world was inventing new ways to connect the living with the dead that endure to this day.

Adrian Mackinder is a British writer and performer. He studied Theology at Bristol University and Victorian Culture at Birkbeck, University of London, which proved surprisingly useful when performing stand-up and improv comedy live in the UK, US and across Europe. Adrian has been writing for over twenty years, and his work can be found on TV, film, in print and online. His first book, Stan Lee: How Marvel Changed the World was published in 2021 through White Owl Books.

All attendees will be sent a recording of the talk.

Image: Sleeping Angel at Highgate Cemetery. Photo by Adrian Mackinder

Ticket Price: £6
Date: October 15th, 2024
Time: 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm