Event date and location: 30 November 2023, Online (Zoom)

An online seminar exploring disturbing and paranormal experiences via the ‘Deadly Possessions’ TV show and Lacanian theory, with Anna Madill.

Video Sections:

0:00 – Intro
03:13 – Presentation
43:36 – Discussion with Calum Neill
58:33 – Q&A with the audience

Description of the Seminar

This presentation is based on a forthcoming chapter to be published in Klempe and Madil (2024)’s edited book New Perspectives on French Psychoanalysis. Annals of Theoretical Psychology.

The first aim of the chapter is to provide an example of the spontaneous deployment of Lacanian concepts in the rendition of disturbing experiences by narrators naïve to psychoanalytic theory. The second aim is to explore the applicability of Lacanian theory for understanding experiences of the paranormal, while not seeking to explain them away. The text analysed is a 27 minute sequence from the television mini-series Deadly Possessions. In it, Cindy Lee and her daughter Irene relate a story about the murder of Cindy’s Uncle Bob, Frank Saletri, who lived in Bela Lugosi’s old house. They are experiencing traumatic disturbances around the mirror that, we are told, was in the bedroom during the murder and want to donate it to the host’s Haunted Museum. A Lacanian reading of the text will be provided which draws on the following concepts: mirror stage, primal scene, the uncanny, objet a, and the fundamental fantasy. A reflection is then offered with regard to the aims of the analysis.

ANNA MADILL is Chair in Qualitative Inquiry in the School of Psychology, University of Leeds, UK. In her doctoral thesis at the University of Sheffield she used discourse analysis to explore process of change in psychodynamic-interpersonal psychotherapy. Her research has focused on the deployment of qualitative methods, and more recently visual methods, in psychology, particularly in relation to psychological and physical wellbeing. Anna has maintained a strong interest in psychoanalysis undertaking a personal analysis with a CFAR-trained analyst and has for several years contributed to a Lacanian reading group with colleagues in the School of English. She is fascinated by all things spooky and has a signed copy of Into the Uncanny and selfie with Danny Robins.

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