Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Interview with Simon Costin (Director of the Museum) can be read online

You can read a fascinating interview with the Museum's Director online here:

Hayley Potter spent time at the Museum this year, follow the progress of her project...

You may remember that Hayley spent time earlier this year at the Museum researching the British Witch.  She spent time getting to know the collection and researching in the library.  This was part of an ongoing project.  You can read more about her research and see her work here:

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Wheel of the Year - Samhain

As visitors to the Museum will know, we have in our collection a lovely object called the Wheel of the Year (seen above).  This is a large wooden disc painted with scenes representing the various festivals of the year. Painted by Vivienne Shanley on disc made by Mark Highland.  We also display in the window of the Museum some seasonal texts which explore and celebrate the different times of year.  At the moment, the text in the Museum window is on Samhain and it reads:

Halloween (Samhain)
31st October

Samhain is the most important of the cross quarter days celebrated by witches.

It marks the beginning of winter, and is the eve of the Celtic New Year. On this night the Veil between the Worlds of life and death is at its most thin, and the ancestors return to feast and celebrate with their living kin.

Of all the old pagan festivals, it is the most popular. Children dress up as ghosts and witches and spooky fun is enjoyed by all. The origin of Trick or Treat may be to do with the Lord of Misrule, as boundaries dissolve mischievous spirits play havoc on mortals.

The Christian Church calls it All Hallows Eve or All Souls Eve. In the Midlands Soul Cakes were baked and parties of “soulers” would go from house to house begging for these cakes in memory of the dead.

Celebrate Samhain by honouring the return of the Dark, for within it are the seeds of rebirth. Send love and blessings to those of your family and friends who are dead for tonight they are near.

Also spare a thought for the women and men killed as witches during the times of persecution.

The picture below is an old Museum postcard from a painting by Vivienne Shanley entitled 'Samhain Witch'.

Museum Director appears in Christie's Magazine

Simon Costin, Director of the Museum, has an amazing array of items in his own collection.  He has just featured in Christie's Magazine which showcased his collection.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween/Samhain Event 31 Oct 2014

Although we are not opening by candlelight over the Halloween weekend, we will be welcoming the Y Fari Troellog, Mari Trecopr and Penkevyll outside the Museum of Witchcraft at around 5pm on the 31st of October. A short ceremony or pwnco will be performed to bring good fortune to the Museum and this will be followed by music and dance outside.  Then it's off to the pubs!

No candlelit event but don't forget that the Museum will be open on Saturdays and Sundays 10.30am till 4pm right through to Christmas...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Are you a young archaeologist?

If you are a member of the Young Archaeologists' Club then you can use your 2015 pass to visit the Museum of Witchcraft for free.  There are lots of other benefits of becoming a member of this scheme so if you know a historically minded youngster with a passion for the past then this could be for them.

To see the Museum's listing on the site, click this link (and scroll down): West & South West

Museum features on Boscastle Chamber of Trade and Commerce website

If you're planning a visit the Museum in Boscastle and you want to know more about the local area, where to visit, where to eat, where to stay etc. then you should have a look at the Boscastle Chamber of Trade and Commerce website.  Lots of great local businesses are listed.  The Museum has its own page there and there is an events calendar so you can find out what is happening in Boscastle during your visit (our Halloween event is now on there)  Have a look.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mari Lwyd visits the Museum of Witchcraft on Halloween

The famous Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare) will be visiting Boscastle, Cornwall for the first time on All Hallow’s Eve.  Two Mari or Mares will be coming - Y Fari Troellog and Mari Trecopr and they will be welcomed by Penkevyll the Lands End Oss at approximately 5 pm outside the Museum of Witchcraft. A short ceremony or pwnco will be performed to bring good fortune to the Museum and this will be followed by music and dance outside.  Everyone is welcome to join in this, so bring your musical instruments and/or dancing feet!

Later on the Mari plus musicians will visit the local hostelries to bestow their luck and revelry on the inhabitants!  

Here are some wonderful photos to give you an idea about what it is all about and hopefully to intrigue you and encourage you to come along.

For more information on the Mari Lwyd:

Thanks to Cassandra Latham-Jones for including the Museum in this event.

New Temporary Exhibition for the Museum

Simon recently flew to New York to meet with Jos A. Smith, who illustrated Erica Jong's 1980 book, 'Witches'. The museum will host an exhibition of Smith's original water colours for the book, when we re-open in the Spring of 2015. Joe will also be coming over for the launch of the exhibition, details of which will be posted in due course. Several of the images from the show will be available to buy as signed prints too, to help raise money for the museum.

It's official - we are a dog friendly day out!

We've been welcoming well behaved witch's familiars (dogs) for a while now.  We are now recognised as a dog friendly day out  No need to stand outside or postpone your visit due to your furry friends - they are very welcome!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Great article about the Museum can now be read online

Read the online article by the Museum's Director, Simon Costin here:

Friends of the Museum event coming up

If you aren't already a member of our Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft Boscastle organisation, perhaps you can be enticed by the line up of the next Friends event in November?  Held in Boscastle, this is a chance to hear interesting speakers, meet like minded people and show your support for the Museum.  This event is only open to Friends of the Museum.

The Friends of the Museum are a separate organisation to the Museum of Witchcraft.  It is best to contact them directly rather than going through the Museum.  More details about the Friends organisation, its work and how to join can be found here
or email

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October Book Review

Every month, we review a book from the Museum Library.

Alan Watts
The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
(Vintage Books)

One of our American supporters, Walter Cambra, recently donated a copy of the 60s classic of alternative philosophy, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are by Alan Watts.

As the title suggests, Alan Watts discusses how society and belief systems conspire to suffocate our awareness of our true relationship with the universe. Much of what he says, for example about our dependence on technology most of us don’t understand, is (perhaps depressingly) even more relevant now than it was fifty years ago.

Strongly influenced by Indian Vedanta philosophy, he argues that the distinction between the inner self and the outer universe is an illusion – an idea that will strike a chord with many who take a mystical view of magic. Rather than “a separate person caught up in a mindless and alien universe” each of us is in fact “one particular focal point at which the whole universe expresses itself.”

This is a slim book densely packed with challenging ideas, and written in just the right tone of wry indignation to be provocative and inspiring. At one point Alan Watts claims, “It is symptomatic of our rusty-beer-can type of sanity that our culture produces very few magical objects.” It is encouraging to think that our collection at the Museum of Witchcraft shows there are people trying to put this right at least! 

Reviewed by Joyce

Event in London at the end of October

An upcoming event in London might be of interest to those who have enjoyed their visit to the Museum (it was flagged up to the Museum team by some researchers using the library)

Museum receives mention in blog

Shai Feraro spent some time in the Museum and has just started writing an online blog.  We receive a mention - thanks Shai!  You can read the blog here: