Not just one review…
A short wait outside in a particularly wet Scottish rain, followed by a tight squeeze in one of the many ovens…sorry dungeons…sorry venues in the Banshee Labyrinth, could leave one with the mindset of, “Jeez, Peter had better be riveting, or I’ll sit here wearing a severe scowl throughout his entire performance, Dagnabbit!” Well, the mental threat was completely unnecessary. Professor Lamont was fantastic! And funny. Very, very funny!
Covering several areas of paranormal and supernatural belief systems, Professor Lamont managed to deliver illuminating -albeit understandably small- nuggets of wisdom from his areas of research, including miracles, the infamous ‘Indian Rope Trick’ and even the very paranormal area of political spin-doctoring.
If Science and skepticism occasionally suffer from charisma issues, Peter Lamont is a cure. Honestly, science says so.
… but two!
Peter Lamont co-runs The Secret Society with Richard Wiseman. But I can’t say any more than that about it as it’s a secret. But what I can say is Peter Lamont is every bit the intellectual, the entertainer and the stage persona you’d expect from the former president of the Edinburgh Magic Circle and lecturer at the Koestler Unit specialising in the history and psychology of magic and the supernatural.
What we got from Peter was a fascinating talk on the 19th century mediumship world with emphasis on Daniel Douglas Home – a psychic who performed astonishing feats such as flying out of windows, and yet was never exposed as a fraud nor confirmed as genuine proof of the paranormal.
This was followed by a look at how people manipulate the past to meet their own ends – specifically a 19th century book that was cut down and abridged by half during Thatcher’s reign in order to make it less favourable to the poor and the workers and to remove some damning commentary on green-grocers
Finally we had the Indian Rope Trick exposed – the trick of climbing an unattached rope and vanishing. How did this happen? Well if you missed the talk you could always buy his book on the topic.
Peter provided a fantastic and stimulating talk to a full room, definitely one of the more memorable talks I have attended in my three years with Edinburgh Skeptics. And a great example of just how astounding this year’s Fringe is.