Weirdness declines by two per cent worldwide

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The Independent Culture
These are troubling times for devotees of strange. Last month, the Fortean Times reported in its FT-index that worldwide weirdness had declined by two per cent during 1994. The question is will delegates to Unconvention 95: A Weekend of the Wondrous, the FT's second annual gathering of people interested in a Fortean approach to the paranormal, be able to make up the deficit this weekend? Named after the New York writer and thinker Charles Hoy Fort (1874-1932), Fortean thought encourages an approach to the seemingly inexplicable that is neither credulous nor dismissive. Once the assembled parababblers have caught up with some of 1994's Fortean gossip - ghost steals £3000 of electricity in Brecon, pebbles fall from sky in King's Lynn, Leeds United's Gary Speed haunted by poltergeist - they'll turn their attention to two main lecture strands, "Near Death Experiences: Visions of an Afterlife" and "Saucer Smash: The Solid Evidence" (which should be interesting, because according to the latest FT, there isn't any). Speakers include every adolescent's favourite intellectual, Colin Wilson. Also on the agenda: stigmata, corn circles (yawn), the Turin shroud and "How to be a Guru". Even Bigfoot (above left) strikes again ("Are we still haunted by cryptozoology's original sin?" ). Alternatively, you could spend a quiet weekend at home, mowing the lawn.

Unconvention 95 is at the University of London Union, Malet St, W1, tomorrow and Sunday. One-day tickets £12.50. Two-day tickets £20. Some tickets will be available on the door

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