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Dissenters' Chapel, Kensal Green
391 Ladbroke Grove, W10 5AA London, United Kingdom
A torchlit walk through the cemetery and Magic Lantern Show with Kevin Varty
' Astonishment seized me. My bones shivered within me. My flesh trembled over me. My lips quaked. My mouth opened. My hands expanded. My knees knocked together. My blood grew chilly, and I froze with terror.'
The magic lantern is believed to have been invented by Dutch polymath Christiaan Huygens in the seventeenth century. Samuel Pepys reports having attended a demonstration of one in his diary for 1666. The early itinerant lanternists or “gallantry showmen” would set up stall in wayside inns or at country fairs, projecting eerie visions of demons, skeletons and phantoms, which could be utterly terrifying for audiences who had never before seen any form of technology. In the Victorian age with its obsession with the Gothic and spiritualism whole theatres were devoted to magic lantern shows, where magicians would conjure up ghosts and seemingly raise the dead.
For London Month of the Dead 2017, lanternist Kevin Varty will summon up this art of illusions with his 19th Century Magic Lantern in the Anglican Chapel. Watch and quake as skeletons waltz across the wall and nuns bleed to their death despite a life of virtue.
Tickets £15. Each ticket includes one delightful Hendrick’s Gin cocktail and a 20% donation towards a host of restoration projects at Kensal Green Cemetery.
This lantern show in the cemetery is part of the London Month of the Dead 2017.