The Carnal & the Mortal: An Evening with Dr. Paul Koudounaris and Nicole Angemi - Atlas Obscura
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Carnal & the Mortal: An Evening with Dr. Paul Koudounaris and Nicole Angemi

Join us for an expansive evening with Dr. Paul Koudounaris and Nicole Angemi at the Wagner Free Institute's historic Victorian lecture hall.

Like a time capsule, the Wagner Free Institute of Science has stood in the midst of bustling Philadelphia since 1865. Today, the Wagner continues to offer public access to natural history and science materials with lively educational programs taught by acknowledged scholars, just as it did centuries ago. One of the Wagner's finest features is their Victorian lecture hall. On December 9th, gather with us at this historic institution for two fascinating lectures: Sex Ghosts & Sicilian Catacombs and The Pathology of Sex.

Sex Ghosts & Sicilian Catacombs: Dr. Paul Koudounaris will discuss the cultural boundaries that separate the living from the dead, with a special emphasis on the way that border is broached via sexualized ghost stories. History is in fact replete with erotic hauntings, and tales continue to the present day. Dr. Koudounaris will explore this fascinating history in a uniquely bizarre lecture, with a special focus on the body of lore he has studied most in depth, the erotic ghost stories that surround the mummies in Sicily’s Palermo Catacombs, where over two dozen sexualized ghosts have claimed to reside.

Dr. Paul Koudounaris has produced three award winning books: The Empire of Death (a history of ossuaries), Heavenly Bodies (a study of Baroque-era jeweled skeletons and decorated bones), and Memento Mori (a global look at the display of human remains as a means to create liminal spaces in which the living can communicate with those who have passed on).  Find out more about Dr. Paul Koudounaris unique work here.

The Pathology of Sex: Nicole Angemi is wife to a Camden fireman Gabriel and a mother to three girls: Maria, Lillian, and Lucia. When she is not spending time with her family, she is educating people about her other love—pathology. This pathology of sex lecture will focus on diseases, dysfunctions, accidents, and deaths seen in the pathology department as a result of sex. 

As a Pathologists' Assistant (PA), Nicole has a broad base of experience, having trained at the Philadelphia Medical Examiners Office as well as most university and community hospitals in the tri-state area. She is responsible for performing autopsies and dissecting organs removed from surgeries. She works alongside doctors to help diagnose patients and establish a cause of death. Nicole's passion is teaching pathology, and for the past four years she has brought her knowledge to the Internet. First she started a blog called which quickly spread to a very popular social media account she runs now on Instagram @mrs_angemi. Her Instagram account won her the 2015 Philadelphia Geek Award and has been recognized in Philly Magazine, Nylon Magazine, the Courier Post and many more. She is currently working with Dr. Drew Pinsky on a podcast and other projects.  

Notes about this adventure: 

A portion of the proceeds will go to supporting the Wagner Free Institute of Science

Photography is permitted in parts of the museum with specific approval. Attendees wanting to take photos will need to complete an agreement form in advance.

For special ticket holders a "meet and greet" with Dr. Koudounaris and Nicole Angemi will be held in the museum following the lectures.

There is parking available around the Wagner Free Institute of Science and it is easily accessible by public transportation via the Broad Street Line and local buses

Questions? Contact

All ticket sales are final.