Ours is a haunted world. Belief in and fear of ghosts, demons, and unseen forces is an undeniable part of human experience. The Lilly Library’s summer exhibition, “Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians” explores this fascination in items from the Lilly’s collections from the occult grimoires of Agrippa to stories of modern day ghost hunters stalking their spectral prey in the gaudy pages of 20th-century pulp magazines and comic books.
Please join us for a lecture and reception on August 28 at 5:00 to celebrate the closing of our summer exhibition. Exhibition curators Rebecca Baumann and L. Anne Delgado will highlight some of the mesmerizing narratives that emerge from the pages of the items on display. Rebecca Baumann, a Reference Associate at the Lilly Library and PhD candidate in the Department of English, will discuss the relationship between magic and the print culture as well as the history of the Lilly Library’s acquisitions in this collecting area. L. Anne Delgado, a Lecturer in the Department of English who completed her PhD at IU and has written extensively on esoteric topics, will focus on spiritualism, science, and the curious emergence of ectoplasm in the 19th century. She will introduce a cavalcade of historical figures both exalted and forgotten: lauded stage magicians jealously guarding their craft, scheming mediums who used the public’s hunger for ghosts to develop their own unique forms of performance, and psychical researchers who tried to reconcile science with spirits.