THE INFLUENCING MACHINE
James Tilly Matthews and the Air Loom
with Mike Jay
26th June 2013
Doors at 6:30 / Talk begins at 7:00 pm
Ticket price £7
Confined in Bedlam in 1797 as an incurable lunatic, James Tilly Matthews’ case is one of the most bizarre in the annals of psychiatry. He was the first person to insist that his mind was being controlled by a machine: the Air Loom, a terrifying secret weapon whose mesmeric rays and mysterious gases were brainwashing politicians and plunging Europe into revolution, terror and war. But Matthews’ case was even stranger than his doctors realised: many of the incredible conspiracies in which he claimed to be involved were entirely real. Caught up in high-level diplomatic intrigues in the chaos of the French revolution, he found himself betrayed by both sides, and in possession of a secret that no-one would believe…
Mike Jay is an author, historian and curator who has written widely on the history of science and medicine, and particularly on drugs and madness. As well as The Influencing Machine, he is the author of Emperors of Dreams: drugs in the nineteenth century and High Society: mind-altering drugs in history and culture, which accompanied the exhibition he curated at Wellcome Collection.
The Last Tuesday Society is honoured to house this exhibition and lecture series cultivated in collaboration with Joanna Ebenstein of the rightfully venerated ‘Morbid Anatomy’ Library, Museum & Blog.
Talks take place at The Last Tuesday Society at 11 Mare Street, London, E8 4RP – please click here to buy tickets