Weird Science: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience

September 9, 2023Den Grå Hal Copenhagen
CPH man in dark room sees ghost figure detailed 4 K 6575f1bd 2d3e 44fd 8a76 f0094a884973
Doors open: 19:00
Start programme: 19:30
Den Grå Hal
Refshalevej 2

Ladies and gentlemen! Do you like to think about ghosts, the paranormal, anomalies, crop circles, flying pancakes, alien abduction, conspiracy theories and all other kind of weird stuff? Then this is an episode for you, guided by Chris French, Professor in the Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is also Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit and author of the upcoming book The Science of Weird Shit: Why Our Minds Conjure the Paranormal. All this after Gustaf Ljunggren and Emil de Waal take the stage and play their atmospheric albums.

Tickets: Seated tickets are paid. Standing is free and on a first-come, first-served basis.

What is anomalistic psychology? Why should mainstream science take paranormal claims seriously? Can paranormal experiences be explained in terms of cognitive biases? How accurate are reports of paranormal experiences? Can some allegedly paranormal experiences be the result of hallucinations?

Opinion polls show the majority of the general public accepts that paranormal phenomena do occur. Such widespread experience of and belief in the paranormal can only mean one of two things. Either the paranormal is real, in which case this should be accepted by the wider scientific community which currently rejects such claims; or else belief in and experience of ostensibly paranormal phenomena can be fully explained in terms of psychological factors. This presentation will provide an introduction to the sub-discipline of anomalistic psychology, which may be defined as the study of extraordinary phenomena of behaviour and experience, in an attempt to provide non-paranormal explanations in terms of known psychological and physical factors. This approach will be illustrated with examples relating to a range of ostensibly paranormal phenomena.

Event held in English with the generous support of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.


  • 19:00–   19:30
    Doors open for cocktails
  • 19:30–   20:15
    Gustaf Ljunggren/Emil de Waal– 
  • 20:45–   21:45
    Chris French– 

Talk by

Chris French

Chris French is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is also Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit. He retired in 2020. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and a patron of Humanists UK. He is a member of the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the British False Memory Society. He has published well over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics within psychology. His main area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He writes for the Guardian and the Skeptic magazine. His most recent books are Anomalistic Psychology, co-authored with Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, and David Luke (2012, Palgrave Macmillan), and Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience, co-authored with Anna Stone (2014, Palgrave Macmillan). His next book, The Science of Weird Shit: Why Our Minds Conjure the Paranormal, will be published in 2024 by MIT Press.

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Music by

Gustaf Ljunggren/Emil de Waal

They have played together for 25 years with everything and everyone and on all kinds of stages all over the world. Everything from number one hits from the Dansktoppen to TV shows to improvised noise concerts in China.
The duo will release their third album in July 2023 and play a release tour in summer/autumn 2023
The two have always had integrity and curiosity as an overriding factor and have recorded an atmospheric album with new music on acoustic, electric and electronic instruments, which has already touched, shaken, swung and rocked the audience. Everything was recorded and mixed in New York by Andy Green (Velvet Underground and John Cale).

Newly minted Ben Webster Prize winner Emil de Waal states:
"The first time I played with Gustaf in 1998, he came with guitar, keyboards, lap steel and trumpet. Quite the blister, I thought. What I didn't know was that he started out on the violin as a child and by the way had just started at Rytmekons in Copenhagen on the saxophone.... Gustaf is a completely exaggerated wild musician! He can pick up any instrument and in no time get to the core of how to play it... Maybe with the exception of drums, which is my luck ;-)"

Gustaf Ljunggren states:
"When I started playing with Emil (first time in Lille Vega, January 1998), I quickly became dependent on his company, both on and next to the stage. It has had an enormous meaning for me that Emil introduced me then for everyone he knew and that he recommended me left and right, so I got into some very challenging and developing tasks around the Danish music environment. Emil and I are very similar and very different at the same time; as musicians and people are we complement each other. We both appreciate unique moments, big and small things we can remember for a long time. And we are far from done with everything we have to do together!"

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