A Curious Invitation present London Month of the Dead
The First Ghosts
A History of Ancient Spirits with Dr Irving Finkel

Saturday 8th October 2022 at 1:30 pm

There are few things more in common across cultures than the belief in ghosts. Ghosts inhabit something of the very essence of what it is to be human. Whether we personally ‘believe’ or not, we are all aware of ghosts and the rich mythologies and rituals surrounding them. They have inspired, fascinated and frightened us for centuries – yet most of us are only familiar with the vengeful apparitions of Shakespeare, or the ghastly spectres haunting the pages of 19th century gothic literature. But their origins are much, much older…

In this talk, Dr Irving Finkel takes us back to the very beginning. A world-renowned authority on cuneiform, the form of writing on clay tablets which dates back to 3400BC, Finkel spent years scouring these tablets to unlock the secrets of the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians to breathe new life into the first ghost stories ever written. His research revealed an extraordinarily rich seam of ancient spirit wisdom which has remained hidden for nearly 4000 years, covering practical details of how to live with ghosts, how to get rid of them and bring them back, and how to avoid becoming one. For London Month of the Dead 2022, Dr Finkel will not only explore his findings but will also look into more philosophical questions: what are ghosts, why does the idea of them remain so powerful despite the lack of concrete evidence, and what do they tell us about being human?

Tickets £12 including a 20% donation toward a host of restoration projects at Kensal Green Cemetery.

Dr Irving Finkel
Irving Leonard Finkel is a British philologist and Assyriologist. He is currently the Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian script, languages and cultures in the Department of the Middle East in the British Museum, where he specialises in cuneiform inscriptions on tablets of clay from ancient Mesopotamia.

Image credit - A Babylonian tablet dating back to 1500 B.C.E. inscribed with instructions on how to perform an exorcism, Photo © British Museum, line drawing © James Fraser and Chris Cobb for The First Ghosts

Kensal Green Cemetery