The supernatural and the ordinary world have not always been as separated as they seem in our modern world of smartphones, bullet trains, and state-of-the-art hospitals. As long as people have had problems, they have turned to occult or unorthodox methods to solve them, and they have often left behind fascinating stories and records of their practices. Spiritualists, seances, and Halloween fortune-telling games were all once part of the everyday world, and frequently had more influence over American culture than many people think. This exhibition showcases a range of items from across the Kislak Center collections, including recent acquisitions such as the Charles Rainsford Collection of Alchemical and Occult Manuscripts as well as herbal and alchemical treasures. The Worlds Between explores connections between the history of science and the occult, traditional folk magic, and mystical knowledge traditions. Lecture and Opening Reception Friday, October 27, 6:30 PM Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, sixth floor west
Join scholar and folklorist Cory Thomas Hutcheson as he shares stories of the past influenced and inspired by the Kislak Center’s collection of occult documents and ephemera and shows how some of these beliefs and practices continue to be relevant even in the age of the iPhone. Cory Thomas Hutcheson is a doctoral candidate and lecturer at Pennsylvania State University in Harrisburg, where he teaches courses in composition, religious history, popular culture, and folklore. His research regularly explores everyday American spiritual expression—particularly ritual and magic, as well as the grotesque, the horror genre, festivals, and children’s games.