The Porter House Museum is offering two programs for its spring lecture series and both will take place “after dark” inside the museum parlor at 401 West Broadway in Decorah.
On Tuesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. David Faldet will present “Knocks and Voices in the Dark: Seances, Spiritualism, and Decorah.” His talk will look at the wide public interest in contact with the world of the dead in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including leading public figures, significant popular movements, stage shows, movies, infamous hoaxes, and at least one prominent Decorah family. David is Professor Emeritus of English, Luther College, and has presented several programs on Decorah’s early and natural history at the museum where he also serves on the board of directors.
On Tuesday, April 4, at 7 p.m. Richard Merritt will present “Transmutation of Spirits: The Mindreading Craze in the Porter Era.” His talk will introduce nineteenth and early twentieth century mind-reading performance and psychological spectacles in historical perspective. He will also perform some of the experiences/illusions of mind-to-mind communication using showmanship and techniques of “parlor magic and mentalism.” Richard is Professor of Art and Visual Communication at Luther College and is a transdisciplinary artist whose work sits at the crossroads of aesthetic object, social practice arts, and scholarship. He notes that he is “a rational skeptic and that no spirits will be harmed” in his performance. Due to space limits, pre-registration is required. Register at porterhousemuseum.org and go to “Events.” Both programs are suitable for adult audiences.
There is no cost for admission though free-will donations to the Porter House Museum are always welcome! Refreshments will be served after each program