image by @caricatureclub

Jourdemayne, the Witch of Eye

Jourdemayne was burned at Smithfield in London for witchcraft in 1441. Friend to the eminent and educated of her time, she was sought by many for her knowledge of dark matters.

Jourdemayne writes about …

... belief in the supernatural: what and why; where does it lead us? She also occasionally suffers from mission creep. Sorry.

I am editor of …

The Skeptic is the UK’s only regular magazine to take a critical-thinking and evidence-based approach to pseudo-science and the paranormal.

The latest issue:

Quotes & Testimonials

"Everyone's favourite skeptical witch, Jourdemayne, with superbly written thoughts on superstition, religion and the human condition"
Crispian Jago

"My two favourite bloggers ... are Petra Boynton and Jourdemayne ... Jourdemayne draws her insights from a different background: profound historical knowledge of the extraordinary things people have believed in. She then uses this to contextualise more contemporary matters."
Jack of Kent

"... the erudite and charming Jourdemayne ..."
Jack of Kent

"This is brilliant - must read"
('Priests, Pederasts & Privilege')
David Colquhoun

The Anglian Wolf Society

I support the work of The Anglian Wolf Society, which operates a sanctuary for wolves in North Bedfordshire. Its aims are to:

• educate and inform the public about wolves
• promote and support wolf conservation
• give people who would like to study or work with wolves the chance to do so

Please visit their site and donate if you can. You can even visit, and learn more about these wonderful and often misunderstood animals.

The Garden of Earthly Delights Revisited

Continuing with Halloween, for your delectation ….

Chris Berens is a Dutch painter. I first saw his work in Amsterdam, but he’s since done exhibitions in New York too. That’s good to know: he deserves all the recognition he gets.

Berens may seem to come a little out of left-field, but I can see two clear influences, melded beautifully together.

The first is his fellow-countryman Heironymous Bosch, so beloved of hippies and stoners in the 60s. Surreal landscapes, animals and images appear in both their works, equally effectively.

The second is film, and I mean 35mm film, not moving stories shot on digital video. Apart from the distinctive colour palettes, one of the things that makes 35mm so viscerally recognisable,

atmospheric and emotional is – paradoxically – a technical limitation. Look at a film – lots of stuff is out of focus. The depth of field is adjusted to be sharp on the things to which you are paying attention, and everything else is dreamily fuzzy. Ditto Berens paintings.

The human eye/brain combo works the same. We experience creates sharp, highly coloured images in the centre of our vision where we’re paying attention, but we have fuzzier images – conceptual bookmarks, if you like – at the periphery. (Here’s some interesting stuff on it by Milner & Goodale). Perhaps we read Berens’ dreamily out-of-focus elements as belonging to the subsonscious, more than the conscious worlds.

Do visit his website for more.