|Born||1965 (age 56–57)|
London, England, UK
|Occupation||Film-industry makeup effects coordinator|
Managing editor of The Skeptic
Deborah Hyde (/ /; born 1965) is a British sceptic, folklorist, cultural anthropologist, Ufologist, fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and editor-in-chief of The Skeptic. She writes and lectures extensively about superstition, cryptozoology, religion and belief in the paranormal, with special regard to the folklore, psychology and sociology behind these phenomena, and has been introduced as a "vampire expert". Hyde has also worked in the motion picture industry.
Hyde's interest in the supernatural stems from her childhood and she attributes it to "having spent too much time with mad aunties". While other girls are usually interested in fairies and angels, she has always been fascinated by "dark stuff". She started out believing, but that changed with her discovering The Black Arts by occult writer Richard Cavendish, which made her apply a more analytic approach to these phenomena.
Career outside of scepticism
For years Hyde was in the business of distributing collectibles, during which time she spent a few years in New York City. That period was followed in the 1990s by her activities as a coordinator and production manager in various departments, including creature and makeup effects, as well as set construction.
Contributions to the film industry
Hyde has contributed to several motion pictures as a staff member and coordinator in the makeup department, responsible for prosthetics and creature effects, including for the horror films Doghouse and 1408. She was creature effects coordinator for the drama On a Clear Day. Hyde has also had several on-screen roles, appearing in Doghouse as the barmaid, and as the Corpse Queen in The Brothers Grimm. She also contributed to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as a tendril of the magical strangling Devil's Snare plant.
Career as a sceptic
Hyde started to research and write about belief in the supernatural in the 1990s, and initially blogged under the name "Jourdemayne". This pen name was borrowed from a 15th-century woman, also known as the "Witch of Eye" who was eventually burnt for witchcraft in Smithfield, London in 1441. The persona was chosen by Hyde because "she was sought by many for her knowledge of dark matters".
Hyde's current website, deborahhyde.com, features blogposts and videos in which she takes an investigative approach to the interconnectedness of folklore, belief systems, and fear from unknown, natural phenomena. Her previous website, jourdemayne.com, was replaced in 2018. In her public appearances and writings, the following supernatural phenomena have been covered extensively:
Public appearances across the UK
Hyde has been invited to speak at several different events including Skeptics in the Pub gatherings all across the UK (Winchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wycombe, Manchester, Greenwich, etc.) as well as the international sceptics convention "QED - Question, Explore, Discover" in Manchester, where she is a regular speaker.
Hyde has spoken twice at the "Skeptics on the Fringe" in Edinburgh with two of her lectures, "Interview With a Vampire Expert" and "The Natural History of the European Werewolf", both of which were received well with the sceptical audience.
Hyde's talks at conventions outside the UK have been given mostly in the US, including a post-Halloween public lecture on "The Natural History of the European Werewolf" for the New York City Skeptics, and an appearance with the same talk at Skepticon-5 in Springfield. She has also been invited to the Ratio Forum for Popular Science in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2013 where she gave a talk on Vampires and attended a panel discussion along with Susan Blackmore.
Involvement in the Enfield Poltergeist case
In 2011, Hyde was asked to take part in a discussion on This Morning on ITV1 as an expert, representing the sceptical viewpoint about the Enfield Poltergeist case from 1977. Janet Hodgson, who had been a child at the time of the case, also made a rare appearance on the show, along with Guy Lyon Playfair, both of whom were deeply insulted by the rationalistic comments Hyde made during the discussion. This resulted in Lyon Playfair posting on his blog concerning this. This situation eventually led Hyde to write about the case and its background, providing a general explanation and several examples regarding why people fabricate malevolent figures.
Managing editor of The Skeptic
In 2011, Hyde was appointed managing editor of The Skeptic, a UK magazine promoting science and critical thinking, succeeding Lindsay Kallis and many sceptics who had been editors in the past, including Chris French and founder of the magazine Wendy M. Grossman. The first issue of the magazine under her control was Volume 23 Issue 2 in 2011.
As editor-in-chief, Hyde has been working with an international advisory board of experts from many different fields, some of whom are globally recognised scientists, science educators and science enthusiasts, including Susan Blackmore, Stephen Fry, Derren Brown, Brian Cox, Richard Dawkins, Edzard Ernst, Robin Ince, PZ Myers, Phil Plait, Massimo Polidoro, Simon Singh, James Randi and Richard Wiseman.
The Ockham and Rusty Razor awards
In 2012, Hyde proposed the idea of a prize that could be given to those with serious achievements within different fields of sceptical activism, in order to provide recognition to people investing large amounts of work in promoting science and scepticism. Starting that year, the Ockham Awards Ceremony has been an annual event at "QED - Question, Explore, Discover". The prize is officially awarded by The Skeptic magazine in several categories, agreed upon by a committee featuring sceptics including Chris French, Richard Wiseman, Wendy Grossman, Jon Ronson and Simon Singh. In 2017, the "Rusty Razor" Award, an ignoble recognition for "bad thinking", was added to the proceedings.
Other activities as a sceptic
Hyde was co-convenor of Westminster Skeptics, and acts as a speaker-liaison of the Soho Skeptics, an independent think tank involving several organisations, writers, film-makers, podcasters to promote talks, panel discussions and other events in the London area.
In a 2018 interview with Susan Gerbic, Hyde revealed that she is writing a book to be called Unnatural Predators that explores common themes in human folklore throughout history using a combination of historical, psychological, and anthropological perspectives.
Awards and honors
Deborah Hyde lives in the United Kingdom, in West London.
- Deborah Hyde. "About Jourdemayne". Jourdemayne. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- "Deborah Hyde appointed as new Managing Editor". The Skeptic. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- Deborah Hyde (1 May 2015). "The Enfield 'Poltergeist': a sceptic speaks". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- Deborah Hyde (4 December 2012). "Vampire legends that refuse to die". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- Ian Sample (20 October 2014). "Halloween special: the science of scary apparitions – podcast". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Contact & Contributors". The Skeptic. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- Michael Marshall (17 July 2015). "2015 ESC Podcast: Episode #04 – Deborah Hyde". Good Thinking Society. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- Deborah Hyde at IMDb
- Darren S Cook. "Wisdom". Vimeo. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- Wisdom at IMDb
- "September Man (POC)". Vimeo.com. Vimeo. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
- "Previous Posts". Jourdemayne. 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- Gerbic, Susan. "Vampires at CSICON?". CSICop.org. CSI. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
- "Review – Deborah Hyde – The Natural History of the European Werewolf". 20 August 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- Adam Lappin (11 March 2012). "QEDcon: Deborah Hyde - The Natural History of the European Werewolf". Critical Tinkering blog. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- Deborah Hyde (18 October 2014). "CFI UK presents Deborah Hyde on The Natural History of the European Werewolf". British Humanist Association. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Halloween With Deborah Hyde : Interview With a Vampire Expert". Winchester Skeptics. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- Deborah Hyde (8 August 2010). "England's Child Witches". Jourdemayne Blog. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- Deborah Hyde (21 November 2009). "'Raped by Demons' or 'The Haunted Cheese Sandwich'". Jourdemayne Blog. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Speakers: Deborah Hyde". European Skeptics Congress London. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Bad Santa: The Growing Popularity of Krampus". Barts Pathology Museum, Queen Mary University of London. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Bad Santa: The Evil Side of Christmas". Birmingham Skeptics in the Pub. 9 December 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- "You'd better watch out, you'd better not cry..." Greater Manchester Skeptics Society. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- "Unnatural predators - Liverpool Skeptics in the Pub". The Merseyside Skeptics Society. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- Skeptics in the Pub (23 March 2014). "SitP Wycombe - Deborah Hyde: Interview with a Vampire Expert". Twitter. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- "Bad Santa - The Evil Side of Christmas - Deborah Hyde". Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- "Review – Deborah Hyde – Interview With a Vampire Expert". Edinburgh Skeptics. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
- Deborah Hyde (15 November 2012). "The Natural History of the European Werewolf". New York City Skeptics. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- "The Natural History of the European Werewolf - Deborah Hyde - Skepticon 5". Hambone Productions. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- "Skepticon 5 - Free Convention in Springfield, MO 11/9 -11/11/12". Rationalist Society of Saint Louis. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- Deborah Hyde (9 November 2012). "Skeptics, nerds and atheists are on the march across the US". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- "Speakers, Deborah Hyde, Paranormal Investigation". euroscepticscon.org. Archived from the original on 13 September 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
- "EXCLUSIVE - Enfield Poltergeist Janet Hodgson 2012 on this morning". enfieldpoltergeist. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- Guy Lyon Playfair (2012). "The Enfield Poltergeist explained again - The Deborah Hyde version". Skeptical About Skeptics Blog. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- "Who won the Ockham's?". The Skeptic. 24 (3). 2013.
- "Volume 23 Issue 2: Jon Ronson". The Skeptic. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "Editorial Advisory Board". The Skeptic. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
- "The Ockhams - UK Skepticism's first awards". The Skeptic. 23 (4). 2012. ISSN 0959-5228.
- "About Us - Soho Skeptics". Soho Skeptics. 14 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
- "Center for Inquiry News: Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 99". www.centerforinquiry.net. Archived from the original on 8 February 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018.