Demons, Revenants & Nightmares: Fear & Dreaming in the Middle Ages

By on February 15, 2019

How did people dream in the past? Do other cultures and time periods have different types of nightmares?

Join Dr Bill MacLehose for a discussion of the dark side of the medieval world of dreams, as we explore the ways fear entered people’s dreams in the middle ages. We will look closely at the history of the medical condition called the incubus, in which sufferers awoke unable to move and often imagined that they were being attacked by a demon or other creature. Night terrors of various sorts appear often in medieval sources, and allow us to delve into the dark corners of social, religious and political life, as ghosts and devils disturbed the dreams of kings and commoners.

Dr Bill MacLehose is a historian of medieval medicine and culture, with a focus on the connections between science and religion. He is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science in the department of Science and Technology Studies at UCL. He is the author of A Tender Age: Cultural Anxieties over the Child in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries, and is currently writing a book on the history of sleep and its pathologies in the Middle Ages.

Demons, Revenants & Nightmares: Fear&Dreaming in the Middle Ages will be held at The Old Operating Theatre Museum Thursday 21st February 2019.

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Culture | Demons, Revenants & Nightmares: Fear&Dreaming in the Middle Ages