Halloween Double Feature: Cemetery Symbols + Victorian Creepiness (Online)

Taught by J.R. Pepper and Allison C. Meier

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J.R. Pepper is a photographer, artist and researcher with an MA in art history specializing in Surrealism and Victorian spirit photography. Her work featured on a variety of websites, album covers, galleries, press releases and publications, including  Haunted America:FAQ by Dave Thompson. She  has spoken at various conventions and panels including New York Anime Festival, New York Comic Con, Tokyo in Tulsa, Salon Con, Catland Books, The Morbid Anatomy Museum and the NY branch of The Odd Salon. She lives in New York and works as an imaging producer  and an assistant at The Burns Archive.  

image credit: Bill Wadman

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Allison C. Meier is a writer specializing in contemporary visual arts and overlooked history, and is also an amateur cemetery historian and tour guide. Originally from Oklahoma, she spent time in the south of France before relocating to New York and is now based in Brooklyn. Find more about her here: allisoncmeier.com

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Join us for a special, creepy online double feature, just in time for Halloween! Longtime Brainery teachers Allison Meier and J.R. Pepper will each be giving 45 minute talks on some of our favorite macabre topics. 


What will we be learning? 

Cemetery Symbols with Allison Meier

Have you found some recent solace in visiting your local cemetery or ever wondered what those symbols etched in the tombstones say about the deceased? Sure, the skulls and winged hourglasses are ominously straightforward, but along with them are secret society emblems, carefully chosen flowers, gesturing hands, guardian animals, and other arcane symbols.

This class will explore the meaning behind the symbols commonly found in cemeteries, along with their history in mortuary art, highlighting symbols found in NYC and beyond, so that the next time you go for a stroll in the necropolis you can decipher their hidden meanings.

Fashionably Strange: A History of Victorian Creepiness with J.R. Pepper

There’s a general consensus in film and media that Victorians were a bit… odd to say the least. But what did they do that made them so odd, so strange, so creepy?

From professional mourning clothing, taxidermy, and an obsession with death to bizarre photography and fashionable communication with the spirit world, there’s no doubt that the Victorians were decidedly creepy. In this talk we will explore what made the Victorians the true masters of the macabre.


This is a live, online talk via Zoom. Live transcription will be available. 

Cancellation policy