OGOM Halloween Events

Throughout October, Open Graves, Open Minds have a series of seasonally spooky events to celebrate Halloween. See the full post for more details.

In the Company of Wolves: Werewolves, Wolves and Wild Children 2023

18.00–20.30 BST, 20 October 2023, online.

This event invites you into the company of wolves to listen to their voices as they sound in ‘our interpreted world’. You will be drawn into innovative research on the cultural significance of wolves, wild children and werewolves as portrayed in different media and genres.

In this evening of lively illustrated talks, we will situate the werewolf in a broader context of animality and sociality, challenging the simplistic model of the werewolf as the ‘beast within’, and embracing the werewolf as ‘spectre wolf’. Attendees can also take part in a challenge to redeem the wolf, join a discussion on wolves and lies based on Marcus Sedgwick’s essay on writing wolves and lies, and participate in werewolf flash fiction writing (40-50 words). We are launching the paperback edition of the OGOM Project book In the Company of Wolves which will be available at 30% discount to all our delegates.

Of all the Gothic monsters, the werewolf best expresses our ambivalent concerns with nature, both the natural world and our inner nature that is our animal heritage. This event is a chance to explore our own divided existence and the relationship of human beings to their environment. Wolves themselves are highly social and yet are portrayed culturally as monstrous predators; we look at the symbol of the wolf in various narratives. We look, too, at stories of wild children – often thought to have been raised by wolves – and what light they cast upon our emergence as linguistic, storytelling creatures from wild nature. 

Link to event https://www.opengravesopenminds.com/in-the-company-of-wolves-2003/

Booking via Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/in-the-company-of-wolves-werewolves-wolves-and-wild-children-2023-tickets-715491082087?aff=oddtdtcreator

Blog about event https://www.opengravesopenminds.com/ogom-news/in-the-company-of-wolves-werewolves-wolves-and-wild-children-out-in-paperback-augusts-2023/

Writing the Occult: Vampires

Saturday 28th October, 1pm-9pm (UK time) online.

This event is for writers and readers in the vampire genre. It includes lively sessions by folklorists, writers and academics on such topics as making the vampire trope your own; vampire adaptations; the vampire as romantic lead; world-building for vampire tales; Gothic feminism; And more! Dr Sam George will be presenting on the folkloric vampire and its representation in fiction. The event is unique in featuring legendary writer Jewelle Gomez author of The Gilda Stories (1991). Gomez is celebrated this month in The Guardian as ‘the black lesbian writer who changed vampire fiction and the world’You can view the full programme and the speakers here https://writingtheoccult.carrd.co/

Booking via this Eventbrite page. Early bird tickets £40 (until 30th September). Regular tickets £45 (until 26 October).

Event on OGOM blog https://www.opengravesopenminds.com/events/writing-the-occult-vampires-28th-october-2023-online/

‘Winged Fiends: The Dark Origins of the Fairy’, Sam George 

29th October, Guy’s Hospital Chapel, London SE1

The event is part of the annual festival of arts entitled London Month of the Dead. This year’s grand calendar boasts a haunting array of over 60 talks, walks, workshops, and performances, each meticulously curated to ensnare hearts and minds alike. Placed throughout the hidden crevices of this ancient metropolis, you will be entertained by an enigmatic cadre of writers, artists, historians, experts, academics, practitioners, and performers—bearers of secrets and whispers from the shadowy depths.


The prevalent innocent idea of fairyland is far from the shadowy realms of the dead, and yet there are many resemblances between them. Despite their wands and glitter, fairies have a dark history, and surprisingly gothic credentials. In The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies (1682), fairy minister and folklorist Robert Kirk argued that fairies are ‘the dead’, or of ‘of a middle nature betwixt man and angels’This association is particularly prominent in Celtic lore. Writing in 1887, Lady Jane Wilde popularised the Irish belief that fairies are ‘fallen angels […] the devil gives to these knowledge and power and sends them on earth where they work much evil’.

It was widely believed in society at that time that fairies inhabited a shadowy spirit world. However, when Peter Pan debuted in the early 1900s with its prominent character of Tinker Bell, fairies began to lose their malevolence and became increasingly confined to the nursery. This is far from the notion of dark fairies with their shadowy history in folklore. Folkloric fairies steal children, drive people insane, blight cattle and crops – and drink human blood. Barrie, of course, was aware of their dark side. Despite the fairy dust and glamour, Tinker Bell is dangerous and vengeful like a deadly fairy temptress. At one point in the story, she even threatens to kill Wendy.

In folklore, fairies are often a demonic or undead force; one which humans need to seek protection against. As folklorist Katharine Briggs has noted in her Dictionary of Fairies. What is more, Fairyland has a hunger for human blood. This links fairies to the vengeful dead and to vampires. Diane Purkiss’s history of fairies, includes a Scottish Highland legend which warns that you must bring water into the house at night, so the fairies don’t quench their thirst with your blood. Very old fairies, like vampires, were said to wrinkle and dry up without fresh blood. The Baobhan Sith are vampiric Scottish fairies. These beautiful green banshees have hooves instead of feet, they dance with and exhaust their male victims then tear them to pieces. Like many fairies, they can be killed with iron. Dearg-Due are Irish vampiric fairies or “Red Blood Suckers”. They were thought to be influential on Sheridan Le Fanu’s female vampire tale Carmilla (1871).

Halloween is supposedly a time when the veil between our world and the shadow world is extremely thin. A time when encounters between humans and fairies are likely. This talk offers a warning to the curious, if you go seeking winged friends, they might not be as benevolent as you think!

More details: londonmonthofthedead.com/darkfairies.html