Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Happy Yule Fest

Greetings and Happy Yule to you all. We've had a great year at the museum thanks to all your support. Although the year got off to a slow start, the summer season more than made up for that. We've experimented with winter opening which was great in November, not so great in early December, but has picked up again over this Xmas - New Year holiday period. We will be closing after New Year so that Graham can start on some renovations upstairs in the "Protection" area.
I promised a piccy of Lee & Hannah's new addition to their family so here is little Lucinda looking very gorgeous at our Solstice gathering. She's obviously getting heavily involved in the festivities here!
By the way (for those who were interested in Jo O'Claireidgh's talk on Egypt at the Friends' gathering), he mentioned a fabulous weaving centre in Egypt where children make amazing tapestries called the Wissa Wassef Centre. I noticed in Resurgence magazine that there is an exhibition on in London from Jan to March next year. Info is on their website I'm definitely going to check it out.

Friday, December 16, 2005


Hi there and merry Yule to you all

we are very excited to announce a new member of the museum team.Hannah, our office mananger, and her husband Lee had a baby girl yesterday morning. Baby Lucy was a couple of weeks early and weighed in at 5lb 1oz, She is very healthy and brother Ewan is very proud of his new sister. Photos when available.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"Friends" having fun at the Wellie

Friends Weekend

Picture left: Jo & Julian, speakers at the meeting

On the first weekend of December every year the Friends of the Museum hold a meeting in Boscastle and we've just finished yet another successful gathering. It's a social occasion for people to meet old friends and catch up with the latest information about the museum.

We had two speakers this year. Jo O'Clereigh, a man with a great deal of both historical and magical knowledge, spoke on his work as an artist on archaelogical digs in Egypt. The photos and stories of his work and the people he met from the 1960s up until this year were a fascinating insight into this aspect of Egypt, its ancient gods & goddesses, and the wonderful people he met along the way.

Julian Vayne, a well known speaker on Chaos Magic and related topics, spoke on the use of drugs in magic, their ritual use, and their use in the society we live in today. He's always a lively speaker and his talk prompted much discussion.

It was a much warmer venue this year as it was held upstairs in the restaurant of the Wellington Hotel. Normally we're freezing to death in a village hall or a Youth Hostel but we thought we'd go a bit more upmarket this year. Thanks to Susie & the staff at the Wellie for looking after everyone so well.

There was also a special "Friends" prelaunch of The Occult Art Company which received great feedback from everyone there. More on that as we get closer to the actual launch. A website is under construction so if you want a sneak preview you can check it out on and watch the progress.

Sunday morning featured a round walk up through the woods to Joan Wytte's burial marker, Minster Church, then back through thupper village. A great way to blow the previous nights alcohol fuelled cobwebs away.

We hope to see even more people attending next year.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Snow in Boscastle Harbour

Well it's a snow covered Boscastle I'm writing from today. Roger the local potter said it's around 10 years since he's seen it like this. Very pretty but very cold and the roads are horrendous. Graham & the Coastguard team have been called out to the massive pile up of cars on Bodmin Moor to help with communications as hundreds of people have been stranded in their cars. Not the sort of weather one expects down this way.

On a different note, a new alarm system has been installed in the museum as an extra security measure. A fair amount of disruption with carpets being pulled up and and workmen around the place but it looks very discreet and we believe worth it in the end.

I'm now off to warm my fingers by the fire as my computer room is freezing. More news soon.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Latest News

Hi there & apologies for the delayed update. Our experimental opening hours are doing pretty well. Most days are fairly busy & this great weather we've been having is ensuring a lot more people are out & about. We've had a few interesting artefact donations including a corn dolly in the shape of a witch, tarot cards & some yet more books & archives for the library.

The web news may not be updated as frequently as normal and "Herb of the Week" will be put on hold over the winter break but will be back when the museum opens. I am working on an interesting project which will be announced on the site shortly.

As for the village, most of the shops are closed except for Cornish Goodies & the Clovelly Clothing Company. The pubs are open as usual for food & bevvies. The building work has started on the last couple of buildings to be rebuilt i.e. Things & the one opposite the museum. The Harbour restaurant has been bought by the National Trust & will be turned into the new Visitors' Centre next year. Hopefully this should resolve the lack of Public Toilets in the harbour area.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Stuffed cat causes a stir for Rosie

We were recently sent this photo by a visitor to the museum whose dog Rosie had become rather excited by the stuffed cat in then window. They look like they're having rather a standoff - I bet I know who won!

Some very cute Halloween kids and some very disturbing adults

Museum not quite closed for Winter

greetings all

just as I reported that the museum was closing for winter, I am now reporting that the museum is experimenting with not quite closing for winter!

The season has been unusually busy in the last few weeks so Graham has decided to open on reduced hours up until Xmas as a bit of an experiment.

The reduced hours are:
Tues, Thurs, Sat & Sun from 11 30AM to 4 30PM
these are subject to change dependent on staff availabity and holidays but if you are in the area at any of these times please pop in.

For our Australian readers, the latest, and sadly the last, Witchcraft magazine has the interview with Graham about the museum in it. I think it's the Sept/Oct issue. Unfortunately we've been informed the magazine will no longer be produced so we wish good luck to all who worked on the magazine in their future endeavours.

I've finally managed to get some photos of the halloween party at the Wellington Hotel downloaded so I've attached them for your perusal. The children looked great in their spooky costumes, sadly the parents just looked a bit scary.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Museum closes for winter

Well the season is over and most of the businesses in Boscastle are closing up for the winter. It's turned out to be a great season with the flood definitely being a drawcard for a lot of people. Most are amazed how quickly things are moving along in the village.

Work has started on rebuilding "Things" the gift shop & the building opposite the museum will be rebuilt over winter. The Spinning Wheel has now shut for winter after a very busy season.

Graham will be doing some ongoing refurbishments to the museum while it is closed as he does each winter but is hoping to get away for a well deserved break soon.

Today we finished photographing Doreen Valiente's first batch of scrapboooks. What a mammoth task! I think we'll have to add more memory to the computer for the next batch. Very interesting stuff there. A great social commentary on the way the media portrayed the occult from the early 60s through to the 80s.

The Wellington Hotel had a great Halloween party last Friday and I'll be adding some photos later on. The kids looked great in their little spooky costumes, as did some of the grown ups.

I'll be continuing the blog during winter when interesting things happen so keep checking the website.

Happy Samhain

Monday, October 24, 2005

Herb of the Week - 10

True Maidenhair

"This and all other maidenhairs is a good remedy for coughs, asthmas and pleurisy."

"It maketh the hair of the head or beard to grow that is fallen or pulled off."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

New Assistant

We seem to have acquired a new booth assistant over the past few days. Eric, the potter's cat from across the river, has been gracing us with his presence in the afternoons, much to the joy of our resident cat lover, Joyce. Eric, not normally known for his friendly demeanor, has been welcoming visitors to the museum and hoovering the post lunch fish scraps off the floor. Here he is with his rather spooky eyes, checking out the suitability of an unsuspecting customer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Photo Lab

Kerriann photographing Doreen Valiente's scrapbooks Posted by Picasa

RSI Sets In........

Greetings again. The wrist is feeling a little unpleasant at the moment as I have been spending the last few days photographing, cataloguing, and digitally correcting dozens of images.

Firstly, there is a large collection of Black Pullet silks and cross stitch charts that have been in the store room for years. Luckily they survived the flood because I brought them upstairs to try to sort them out last year. The Black Pullet tapestries are on display upstairs in the museum and we have some written pages of the magic attributed to each of them as well as the silks and charts. They depict 20 magic talismans and rings from a pyramid in Egypt. These are all now photographed and collated in 3 box files and, as with the books in the library, are now available, by appointment, for perusal by anyone with an interest in the subject.
We also have 3 boxes of Doreen Valiente's scrapbooks which have kindly been loaned to us for photographing and cataloguing. The scrapbooks are extremely fragile and the sticky tape is coming off a lot of the cuttings so Graham did not want to outsorce the copying. He has a background in photography so he has competently set up the camera and stand and we're very pleased with how the pics are turning out. I have just completed 1 scrapbook which contained 91 images. Only 40 more books to go in this batch. Graham just told me there are more to come. Should keep us busy for a while.
I think we'll have to get one of those round ergonometrically designed mouses (is that the correct grammar?) to assist in the RSI control.

Herb of the Week - 9

Masterwort Root with Oak Leaf Luck

'It is of rare quality against all sorts of cold poison.'


Saturday, October 01, 2005

How many men does it take...???

I happened to stumble across a load of local chaps trying to get the harbour master's boat out of the water for the winter today. After much faffing about it was decided that Graham's Landrover would be useful to drag the unwilling vessel onto the slipway. It worked a treat and here are a couple of photos to prove it.

Success at last!!

Note the satisfied expressions on the faces of the masculine brutes involved. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 30, 2005

Herb of the Week - 8

Valerian Root - shown with one of the new fortune telling cups
"The root boiled with liquorice, raisons and anniseed, is good for those troubled with cough. Also it is of special value against plague."

September Draws to a Close...

Visitors just keep coming to Boscastle. The season seems to be extending and many of the hotels are booked up for October. The inaugural Boscastle Food and Art Fair is happening next weekend - Oct 8 & 9. There will be displays by local artists in the school and other venues around the village and food stalls will be dotted around. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

In the museum , the collection of fortune telling cups continues to grow with some rather attractive new acquisitions. I'm beginning to to think Graham is developing an addiction to the these lovely old cups.

He's also mananged to finally purchase a copy of a book he's been after for a long time - the trial pamphlets of Joan Wenham of Hertfordshire, the last known instance in which a witch was convicted in England (1713). She was later pardoned.

Those of you who have visited the upstairs gallery will probably remember the dulcit tones of Aleister Crowley chanting one of his poems. We thought that this may be a little intrusive so Graham has set up some 1930s telephone earpieces so that people who wish to listen can do so without interrupting others who prefer a quieter ambience. I took a photo (shown here) of Justin, one of today's visitors, modelling the usage of the aforementioned earphone.

Historian Phillip Heselton has been visiting the library this week to do more research on his upcoming biography of Gerald Gardner. There is quite a lot of correspondence between Gerald and Cecil Williamson in the library archive which hopefully will prove useful in Phillip's research. I foolishly did not get a photo for you to check out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Swiss Donation

Graham with Wicca who donated proceeds from the collection at her store in Switzerland Posted by Picasa

Greetings Again.....

Greetings again to you all. Firstly I'd like to say thanks to those who contacted us to let us know the Voodoo Museum & staff in New Orleans are safe. I've passed this on to others in the USA who were worried but had not been able to find any specific reports on them.

The season has continued to be very busy with more bookings than usual being reported in the hotels for October. We've had quite a few interesting visitors lately, most notably the author R.J. Stewart dropped in with a lovely group of American visitors last weekend. Graham was extremely pleased to meet him as he shares a passion for traditional folk music as well. Unfortunately I wasn't on the ball enough to take a photo for the website so you'll just have to believe me.

We also had a visit from a wonderful Swiss woman called Wicca (yes it is her real name) who had been collecting for the museum at her shop in Switzerland. She personally delivered the £300 (approx) they had gathered. She is the writer and publisher of the only Wicca/Witchcraft magazine in Switzerland, Germany & Austria. I think her shop is in Fislisbach so check it out if you are in the area. Thanks Wicca!!

Steve Patterson, the man who does some of the wood carvings and the copper athames which we sell, has started a course on Magik & folklore for people in the village and surrounding areas. I missed the first week but went along last night. I believe the course is going to be extremely interesting and Steve has such a relaxed and enthusiastic presentation style. He mainly does courses around Cornwall so if you are interested and see any advertised it would be a good idea to check them out.

Tinker's Bag, a group of traditional folk musicians and singers, entertained the people of Boscastle at the Village Hall last Saturday night with their show 'The Labourer's Year', featuring songs that reflect the changing seasons. Bob & Jill Berry (the ringleaders for this event) are friends of Graham's from his folky past and wanted to do something just for the villagers to cheer us up after a pretty heavy year. It was a great night with drinks at the Welly afterwards. Judging by the number of hangovers the next day we must have all had a great time. I had a couple of friends, Bernadette & Chrissy, over from Australia who were convinced we'd put the spectacle on just for them!

Herb of the week will be later this week as I seem to have lost the photos in the ether. Keep posted.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Herb of the Week - 7 shown with newly donated Pan figure

Yarrow - "Thou pretty herb of Venus tree, thy true name it is yarrow.
Now who bosom friend must be, pray tell me thee tomorrow."
Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales, James Orchard Halliwell Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 11, 2005

September News

I would like to start by saying that the thoughts of everyone at the museum go out to those affected by Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast of the US. We were particularly wondering how the Voodoo Museum in New Orleans has fared. We have tried to contact them and check their website but with no luck. If anyone has any news regarding the museum and the welfare of its staff please let us know.

As for Boscastle, things have started to quieten down again after a very hectic August. The good weather and publicity regarding the flood anniversary helped to ensure we ended the month on a high, so we are now feeling more financially secure after a slow start to the year.

We've had an interesting donation of another Pan figure which is similar to one we have on display upstairs (see Herb of the Week-7 for an image of the donation). Strangely, this week we've had an enquiry from America regarding the same item. Coincidence?....hmmmmm. If anyone knows anything about the artefact please let us know.

A new computer has arrived to replace the old one in the main office which was outdated and very sluggish. In Graham's excitement to set up the transfer of documents to CD as a back up he managed to wipe out his entire "My Documents" folder. Unfortunately, when he checked the CD it had not copied anything so all was lost. Luckily things had been backed up fairly recently so it wasn't a total disaster but lots of recent stuff has gone.

Just had news that "Things" shop has had the go ahead to rebuild as of tomorrow so that will leave only one building to go; the Harbour Lights opposite the museum. More later.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Herb of the Week - 6

Walnut Leaves
"If they be taken with onions, salt and honey, they help the biting of a mad dog." Culpeper Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 29, 2005

Herb of the Week - 5

Sea Wormwood Flowers
"Hysteric complaints have been completely cured by the constant use of this tincture. In the scurvey and in the hypochondriacal disorders of studious sedentary men, few things have a greater effect." Culpepper Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 28, 2005

August Bank Holiday

Happy Bank Holiday weekend to you all. It's been really busy here over the last couple of weeks so business is really picking up.

The Beltane Alternative Border Morris side were dancing outside the museum and around the harbour today which has kept the crowds entertained. We were very impressed by their tight "sticking" technique. Crisp clacking is always a must when it comes to Morris Dancing!

I've been asked to put a bit on the blog about car parking & general Boscastle "need to know" stuff for those thinking of visiting. The car park is fully open and the National Trust are allowing the council to use an extra bit at the end when it's busy, so you could say the car park is slightly larger than it was pre flood. There is also a park & ride scheme running on busy days which is located up on the Tintagel Road. I think it's around 50 pence for the ride so it's cheaper than the main car park.

All the B & Bs and hotels are fully reopened except for the Youth Hostel which will be reopened next year after extensive rebuilding work. The Riverside Hotel is now fully opened including the restaurant. The Spinning Wheel is extremely busy during the day as is the Bakery. There are only 2 buildings left to be rebuilt; The Harbour Lights, and Things. Clovelly Clothing rebuilt & opened on the anniversary of the flood August 16 2005.

The Wreck Shield, which was awarded to the Boscastle, Bude, and Port Isaac Coast Guard Teams, is proudly sitting in the window of the museum attracting almost as many positive comments as Graham's Landrover.

Beltane Border Morris Side

Beltane Border Morris entertaining the crowds outside the museum today Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Llewellyn-Bowen excites Boscastle holiday makers

Lawrence LLewellyn-Bowen is doing a new television show. The episode he is shooting today shows holiday attractions in North Cornwall. Here he is with Graham outside the Museum. He kindly stopped to pose for many photographs with the children visiting the village. Posted by Picasa

Herb of the Week - 4

Bittersweet (Woody Nightshade)
"The juice is good for those that have fallen from high places.....for it is thought to dissolve blood congealed or cluttered anywhere in the entrails." Gerard Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Boscastle Coastguard Team

The Boscastle team with the Wreck Shield Posted by Picasa

The Day Passes

Well the day has passed. The one year anniversary of the Boscastle Flood is over and we can once more move forward. Media presence was pretty high on the day with Graham featuring on both the local ITV & BBC news programmes and some of the Nationals. Local papers dedicated several pages to a Boscastle special report. I'll try to get more photos of some of the more interesting stories and post them in the next day or two.

On Tuesday night Graham was presented with the Coastguard award for his prompt actions during the flood which saved many lives! The Boscastle, Bude, & Port Isaac teams were all awarded the Wreck Shield for their services during the flood. Congratulations to you all, it is well deserved!! The Awards were presented by John Astbury, the UK's Chief Coastguard and a very pleasant chap.

Business has certainly picked up over the last few days with all this media attention. Boscastle is buzzing with some lovely people with very positive messages. Many find it hard to believe just how much has been done so far with the refurbishment of the village.


Graham receiving his personal award from John Astbury, Chief Coastguard. Posted by Picasa

On the Other Side of the Camera

David Flower is usually photographing Graham for one of the North Cornwall newspapers so I thought I'd take one of him for a change Posted by Picasa

One of Graham's many interviews on August 16

Graham is interviewed by Associated Press reporter Sam Mendes Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 15, 2005