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Babylonian Ghosts from Tablets of Clay

This illustrated lecture will look at the very practical attitude evidenced by ancient Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians towards their dead. This is noticeable with regard to what they thought happened to people when they did die, and the cosmic system understood to operate in the background, as well as how professional exorcists dealt with ghosts of individuals who were unsettled and who, for one reason or another, came back. The evidence from cuneiform documents as a whole suggests that there was no debate in the Mesopotamian mind as to whether ghosts really existed; their existence was taken for granted and ghosts were regarded with sympathy. Consideration of these points within the wider range of ancient studies raises interesting reflections on deep human beliefs and the way in which they are surely unchanging. Dr Irving Finkel is Assistant Keeper of the Ancient Mesopotamian script, languages and cultures department at the British Museum. He is the curator in charge of cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia, of which the Middle East Department has the largest collection - some 130,000 pieces - of any modern museum. Dr Finkel specialises in ancient Mesopotamian medicine and magic and is also interested in literature, religion and the history of ideas in this part of the world.
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College of Psychic Studies
College of Psychic Studies - The College was founded in 1884 by a group of eminent scholars and scientists. Its purpose was to facilitate formal investigation into the psychic and mediumistic phenomena that were such a topic of debate in the Victorian era. With great courage, this group of distinguished people, some notable in science, others from within the ranks of the Anglican clergy, defied the prevailing canons of respectability in order to proclaim to a world of increasing materialism that human personality survives bodily death and that this is capable of demonstration.

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