Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Yule


After a fabulous Friends' meeting the museum is now well & truly closed for the season. We will open again at Easter next year. Our membership has already outstripped last year's & Graham has already ordered the new lighting, the funds for which were handed over by Friends at the AGM.

Our membership dates have changed to coincide with the opening of the museum so new members will get a few extra months free as this year's lasts till April 2011. We have already reached half our target membership for the year so if you want to help spur it along by becoming a Friend or promoting it at your Moot please contact Deborah our membership secretary at friendsbmw@googlemail.com & she can help you with both joining & getting hold of application forms.

Hannah is ably holding the fort at both the museum & The Occult Art Company while we take a short break in Brittany. I'll aim to keep the blog up to date while away - WiFi permitting.

Happy Yule fest to you all.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Friends Meeting 2009



















From the feedback we've had so far the Friends Get Together & AGM was one of our best yet! Over 60 people attended the event to see Simon Costin speak on the development of his project the Museum of British Folklore and Helen Cornish talk on Joan Wytte: The Fighting Fairy Woman of Bodmin. Unfortunately Geraldine Beskin was unable to attend so Levannah Morgan gallantly stepped in at very short notice and spoke on Spirit Contact the Cecil Williamson Way. Geraldine has kindly offered to speak next year. We all raised a glass to our Honorary President Adrian Bryn-Evans & his wife Anne who, unfortunately, were unable to join us.










The whole day had a distinct feeling of Folklore & traditions and the evening event was full of lively folk singing with the very first public appearance of Graham King & Kerriann Godwin singing The Chase Song from the museum's CD 'Songs of Witchcraft & Magic'.










At the AGM we welcomed our new treasurer Martin Shepheard & it was a great pleasure to hand over a large cheque to Graham for a project he will be undertaking in February. All the lighting in the museum will be transferred over to lower voltage, more cost effective bulbs & tracking. This will ensure a long term saving on electricity bills for the museum and will be a much greener option than the current bulbs used. A softer illumination is given which is beneficial to the artifacts as well.










Membership has already overtaken last year's figures thanks to the hard work of membership secretary Deborah Westmancoat, and we're already putting together a programme for next year's meeting. I think it may have a more Ritual Magic feel but more of that later.
The following morning a few stalwarts made the annual pilgrimage to Joan's headstone up near Minster Church while others visited the museum. Thanks to The Wellington Hotel who hosted the event & being as helpful as ever. Hopefully we'll see more of you next year. I had to include this fabulous photo of Ray looking gorgeous & amusing.










Friday, November 27, 2009

Friends meeting Dec 5

The Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft meeting is on next weekend Dec 5 at The Wellington Hotel 1030 to 1700. speakers include Geraldine Beskin, Simon Costin & Helen Cornish. Free entrance to Friends or those wishing to join on the day. A walk to the Joan Wytte memorial stone on Sunday 6th. Hope to see you there.

'Harry' Takes a Break in Bournemouth



A visit to the museum this summer by Dr Martin Smith of Bournemouth University has started the ball rolling for a tantalising research project regarding our beloved tarred head known affectionately as 'Harry'. Martin is an osteoarchaeologist and was excited to come across 'Harry' in the cabinets as it turns out he/she could be one of only three such specimens known to exist in the UK.


Today he came to pick up 'Harry' and transport him/her to Bournemouth for some tests which we hope will give us a lot more information than we currently have. From Cecil Williamson's notes it appears 'Harry' was found in a box (which we still have) in a bombed out church in London during WWII. Martin and his colleagues will be performing a CT Scan and various other tests to try to narrow down when he/she was alive, where he/she came from and other information as yet unknown to us. We've always presumed he was a man but there is evidence already to show she may be a woman.


'Harry' is one of our favourite exhibits and we always say hello and have a chat when we do the morning cleaning every day. It will be great to have more information on him/her. We'll keep you updated via the Friends newsletter and future posts. I've attached a photo of Martin delicately placing 'Harry' into the transport box.


Luckily Sarah Ransome from the BBC was here doing an interview with Graham for Radio 4 about businesses recovering after disasters and she managed to do a piece with Martin which we think will be on Radio Cornwall shortly. If we hear anything about when this will be on on mention it on the Twitter site. Here is a picture of Graham being interviewed by Sarah with Martin in the background.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Grey Chapel Gallery


We had a lovely time up in Glastonbury a couple of weeks ago and while we were there we popped in to see Sylvia Wolfe in her recently opened business 'The Grey Chapel Gallery'. It's sort of across the road from the entrance to The Chalice Well so easy enough to find & Sylvia mainly sells artworks with an esoteric theme & some really unique pieces ranging from handmade staffs to snakeskin walking sticks, tribal masks and bronze phalluses. If you're after something different this could be the place for you. I think its been running for about 3 months so is still quite new. Sylvia is German originally and is passionate about her business as well as being one of the friendliest people we've met. There is an exhibition of Ann Sudworth paintings on at the moment. For details have a look at the website www.greychapel.com . Here is a photo of Graham, Sylvia & her partner Peter.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cleaning Frenzy

Had a bit of a whizz around the museum last Thursday cleaning for the end of the season....so much dust accumulates so quickly, especially in the library. Having the new roof put on earlier in the season meant that dust got to places we didn't know were places!!! All beautiful now though....we'll be working on a couple of new exhibits while the museum is closed over winter so there'll be something fresh for all our repeat visitors to see when they come back next year. We try to change or update things every year to keep it exciting for everyone. A new window display is being worked on as well.
By the way, there's an interesting art exhibit at Tate St ives called 'The Dark Monarch - Magic & Modernity in British Art'. Worth a look if you're in the area, some Ithell Colquhoun, Osman Spare, Henry Moore et al. There's a rather nice unicorn from Damien Hirst to greet you as you walk in.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

V & A Talk a Success



A fab night was had by all at the V & A Halloween Late Night last Friday night. Simon Costin performed his Dine with Death painted head to toe in red surrounded by others in High Victorian garb. He arrived in a rather fabulous hearse. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it in person as Joyce & I were doing a talk in the Arts Library. Joyce is writing a new book on magic in the Middle Ages called 'Wicked Enchantments' and she was asked to speak on this subject at this event. I read out the spells in my best Medieval Australian accent. Apparently the talk was 'sold out' within 5 mins of the tickets being released. Joyce did a great job & the reaction from the audience was very popular. Interestingly one of the questions was 'where is the Museum of Witchcraft?' Clearly we neeed to do some more promotion as there are still people out there who don't know we exist.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Notification of Painting For Sale











We don't normally mention these types of things on the blog but we've been informed of an oil painting for sale in the USA featuring a witch on a bat & thought we'd let people know in case anyone was interested. Please note the museum is not selling the painting & we are not taking any agent's fees for putting this notice on the blog. Following is an excerpt from the email regarding the painting and some photos. If you would like to be put in touch with the seller please email the museum on museumwitchcraft@aol.com.

These subjects in art are extremely rare to come by. My client is asking $5,000 US, and I think this is an excellent opportunity and investment. It has a few old repairs, but in good condition for age and rarity. I can find no other paintings from this time period and subject matter anywhere. Please let me know if you have a buyer for this excellent piece. It measures 34 x 62 inches, and has its original period frame from 1899. Shipping would be absorbed by potential buyer. Thank you, Michael K.




Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Occult Reliquary Notice of Publication

March 2010 will see the publication of The Occult Reliquary by a very high quality US publisher Three Hands Press which is run by Daniel Schulke. Many of you will be aware of Daniel through his other publishing house Xoanon which is responsible for the Chumbley works Azoetia and Qutub among others, as well as his own Ars Philtron.
The Occult Reliquary showcases the Richel-Eldermans Collection which is an occult archive of over 2000 images and artifacts housed in the Museum of Witchcraft. 'Situated at the crossroads of erotic magic, ceremonial angelic conjuration, and witchcraft, the images comprise, in part, a veiled pictorial cipher of the practices of several European Occult Orders operating in the Netherlands in the early 20th Century. Among these are Ars Amatoria, a magical order using sex magic and the lesser known M.M ...............
The Reliquary presents for the first time a selection of these magical images reproduced at full scale, & bound with the highest quality materials. The book is 216 pages, with over 200 illustrations, 80 of which are in full colour, & includes an introduction by curator Graham King.'
The book is available in three editions as follows with UK prices:
Special Edition - gilt stamped full leather with felt lined slipcase, limited to 100 copies - £200.00
Delux Edition - gilt stamped & quarter-bonded in leather, limited to 250 copies - £130.00
Standard Edition - casebound in cloth with gilt stamping, limited to 700 copies - £65.00
For information on Pre-ordering contact the museum's official retail outlet The Occult Art Company on kg@theoccultartcompany.co.uk

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

666 on Facebook

Very excited to note that the membership for the Museum of Witchcraft Fans Facebook site has reached 666 members!! How devilish!!
If you haven't checked it out yet follow the link http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=4238981379&ref=ts and join up. There are some really interesting videos on there which have been posted by members. Please feel free to add interesting content yourselves. Our next target is 1000 members!!
Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft membership is also doing really well. We have surpassed last year's numbers year to date. We have purchased books for the library and are hoping to make a major contribution toward the lighting within the museum - more cost effective, low heat output which is better for the artifacts, and of course more environmentally friendly. If you want to join go to http://www.friendsbmw.org.uk/ and join online or pick up an application form from the museum itself.

Joyce Froome at V & A Oct 30

The V & A is having an 'In The Dead of Night' themed Late Night event on Oct 30 & our very own Joyce Froome will be speaking on the Witch Hunts (which is based on her upcoming book)assisted in a minor role by my good self. Simon Costin is also on the bill performing his 'Dine with Death' promenade performance, along with Karen Rubens who is creating Japanese lanterns. It kicks off at 1830hrs and finishes at 2200hrs. Admission is free so come along and enjoy some rather different entertainment and say hi to us museum dudes.

Simon Costin Write Up in Telegraph

You may know something of Simon Costin & his Museum of British Folklore from his touring caravan & other mentions on this blog. He's been featured in the Telegraph (follow the link below) and mentions a couple of the items loaned to him by the Museum of Witchcraft. Nice to get a plug in the Telegraph now and then. It all seems to be going ewll for his project at the moment and we wish him well in his venture.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Dragons Visit the Museum


It was so cool to have a visit from some dragons earlier in the week - Friendly ones of course!! The dudes from Friendly Dragon up in Halifax popped in to check out the museum & pick up some stock to sell in their store. They picked up some besoms, our recycled glass chalices and some of Graham's personally designed ouija boards. They were also kind enough to give a donation to the museum while they were here. If you're in the Halifax area please pop in and say hi. Dickie is in the background.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Richel Collection Prints

I have had quite a few queries lately about reintroducing the prints from the Richel Collection. If you have looked on the museum's official retail website www.theoccultartcompany.co.uk you will have noticed we are out of stock of many of the prints. This is due to my local printer moving away and I am in the process of finding a new person who can do prints of equal quality. We like to use local businesses where possible. I am having talks with someone this week who may be able to help so watch this space. I will be introducing some new prints as well as keeping our most popular ones, in particular, the Richel Witch, the Serpent and the mandrakes. Hopefully if we can overcome space limitations you will be able to buy them in the museum shop itself next year.
I have introduced a new line of Greetings Cards featuring some of the Richel images as well as others which are doing really well so I hope to get most of these onto the website in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friends AGM programme Set

It's looking like another fab Friends of the Museum Annual General Meeting and Get Together has been organised for the Weekend of December 5th this year. Speakers are : Simon Costin - he Museum of British Folklore; Geraldine Beskin from Atlantis Bookstore on 'Women of the Golden Dawn'; Helen Cornish on Joan Wytte; and Julian Vayne on his stint as Baphomet on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.
The Wellington Hotel has a special deals of £25.00 per person per night and Pencarmol and other B & Bs in Boscastle have very good rates at this time of year. All Friends are welcome as are non Friends who are keen to join on the day.
This year's Friends subscription will run until April 2010 as we are changing the dates of membership. More news regarding this at the AGM.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Thanks to donors

Just wanted to say a big thank you to supporters of the museum who have donated online - there were £95.00 in donations via the paypal link on the website during August.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Baphomet Atop the Plinth


Had a great time in London on the weekend culminating in the appearance of Julian Vayne (one of our Friends' trustees) appearing on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. He is one of the more interesting performers who have performed on the plinth and was resplendent in full Baphomet costume (well not quite full - the 'cod piece' was deemed a tad too risque) with an amazing leather mask made by a very talented chap called Peter who was in the immediate audience. Julian used the experience to promote the museum and banners were placed on the plinth. He also performed a ritual, had a bubble machine & a punching bag-esque Axis Mundi (seen left in red) which the crew asked to keep. I have a couple of pics but Simon Costin took some excellent ones so when I get a copy of these I'll put them up. Thanks Julian for doing a fab job on the day - not something the tourists were expecting methinks!!

Thanks Exmoor Pagan Camp

Friends has received a lovely donation of £65.60p from the raffle at the Exmoor Harvest Pagan Camp. This is fab considering there were only around 50 attendees. Thanks to Yarrow for organising the camp. We are also able to claim Gift Aid on the donation which add to the total.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Joyce Froome's V & A Appearance

Keep an ear out for more news on Joyce's upcoming talk at the V & A Museum on the evening of October 30th. She will be giving two talks based on her new book ' Wicked Enchantments' which deals with medieval & early modern magic. It coincides with Simon Costin's tableau vivant 'Dining With Death' which is on at the V & A on the same evening. More news on this closer to the time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Message from Graham re use of Museum name

Our name (The Museum of Witchcraft) has been quoted in a lot of correspondence regarding the Buzzard Fayre.
I would like everyone involved to know that we have not entered into any debate on this subject and will not do so other than to offer historical advice.
We have not offered any opinions on the debate.
As a matter of policy we do not enter into any political or religious discussions - this is not the role of a museum.
We will be delighted however to offer the use of our library and research facilities to anyone who wants to study the subject.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hexenmuseum in Switzerland Under Attack

We have become good friends with a woman called Wicca who has started the Hexenmuseum in Switzerland recently and were shocked to hear that her museum has been suffering abuse on a political scale & has started a national debate. She has sent us a report on the situation so I will just add it here so you can read what is happening in her own words. Thanks for sending this through Wicca & we wish you good fortune in the future & hope the government continues its support.
Report:
You can not imagine what battle we fight, since April, since the opening of the "Hexenmuseum Schweiz" the Museum of Witchcraft Switzerland.
We started very well and then out of nothing started a political discussion in the whole country of Switzerland. I can say, we made the Wicca Tradition very famous in one week. So everybody is more or less informed, that there is a Museum of Witchcraft Switzerland and why.

A politician of a fundamental evangelical party in the Swiss Government, he is also a free church
Pastor (evangelical and new testament advocate) started that campain against us and the Hexenmuseum Schweiz, first of May. (he never visited before the campain)
He said, that it is not a Museum, but a hidden organisation to attract people and turn them into witches.
Especially young girls from 12- 16 years, men and boys are not so stubid to be attracted (nice).

He said that it must be forbidden to all school kids to visit and that he ask the government to speak law that all people must be 18 of age to visit that "esoteric" place, where a "Known" Swisswitch and Wicca priestess is the head of Museum (me!) He also impeached, that only a person who is a doctor or has some title is able to open and run a Museum. And that I and my husband do not have any title.
That a priest or pastor should guide and lead such a Museum and not a WITCH, for heaven's sake.

He also impreached that we are not allowed to call us "Museum" (because of the hidden organisation- in his mind) and the name Switzerland. Because the word Switzerland in connection with "HEXE" is a pollution forthe country.

You may say, what a stupid man. Believe me, I thought the same, but in his role of politician he has ways that a private person does not have.
We were run down by press, media and all kind of reactions. Radio and TV. But we kept nice and quiet. I thought that I will not give oil in the fire. I gave some short and emotionless interviews about the fact and always said, that we are looking for the answer of the government.

The answer came! In July now. (They visited us in advance, they asked us a million questions, they sent experts and so in advance!)
The government of Switzerland says that: The small Privatmuseum detail is richly furnished and provides a clear and carefully presented brief overview of folk beliefs, superstitions, mythology, rituals and magical herbs, supplemented by biographical information and time tables. The contents of the museum follows a subjective selection criteria, but can in no way be offensive to minors or designated.

That they think that is important for schools to visit especially in Ethnic, religions, history studies.
That Wicca is a way of life and a natural way of religion and that is free to anybody to choose.
As we are a Privatmuseum and paid it all out of our pocket, we are free of requirements and rules. We made all needed licences in advance and we got them all. We can call us how ever we like, as there is a free name choosing for companies
.

You can imagine that the guy is not happy with that descision and barked in the press that the government is naive and that he will not give in and accept that. He has proves from abroad that Wicca is occult way of a cult, and that he will show now in August before the Government Meeting and change their minds.

We hope not! Bless us and send us protecting energy! thanks so much!!!


Website:
www.hexenmuseum.ch


Blessings to all
Wicca

New Banners


Just wanted to say thanks to the Friends of the Museum who have purchased new banners which will be used at upcoming meetings, shows and, dare I say, Trafalgar Square plinths. Here is Hannah so beautifully modelling with one of the banners in the museum library along with some of our 5,000 books.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Friends Newsletters

All Friends newsletters have been posted 1st Class today so should arrive with you Monday or Tuesday next week. The exception being international ones which may take a bit longer. If you are a member of Friends & haven't received your newsletter by the end of the week please email me on witchnews@gmail.com and I will send you a PDF copy or a regular mailed version if you prefer. The First class stamps and envelopes were kindly donated by an anonymous donor.
As we are focusing on keeping costs to a minimum so Friends can donate as much as possible to the museum, we are asking Friends to sign up for the Newsletter to be sent as a PDF to their email addresses in future. Of course the regular version will still be available for those who prefer that format.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Coastguard Shouts Aplenty











Well two anyway - - - moments after returning from a Coastguard Shout in Tintagel where someone had broken both legs & had to be airlifted out of Merlin's Cave, the Boscastle Coastguards were called to another rescue in Boscastle Harbour. Another broken leg it seems as someone had slipped on the sewage pipe & was unable to be stretchered out. The Naval helicopter had to be called in for another airlift - Graham & the other Coastguards co-ordinated land based actions from the ground & kept crowds well clear. It was unable to land due to its size so the rescue worker was winched down & pulled the casualty up. Hopefully the injured person will make a full recovery. I managed to get a few pics. We're always grateful to the helicopter crews who do such an amazing job - as well as our lovely Coastguards.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Graham writes about the new tarot display







I have today finished the new Tarot display. You will recall that the previous display was destroyed by the flood five years ago.

Creating displays from scratch is not as easy as you might expect, especially when you have no budget, but lack of funds can drive one to find more unusual solutions.

The first task was to find an empty space – this is getting more and more difficult but we soon decided that the gap under the scrying mirror cabinet would be ideal. Our new Tarot display would be in the ‘divination’ area – very appropriate. After measuring up the long narrow space Kerriann and I wandered into the workshop looking for inspiration which soon came in the form of a lovely old mahogany and glass frame that once sat on top of a mineral display in The Natural History Museum. This was the last of the display cases that were donated after the flood. After removing the old glass the frame was cut to size, re glued and new safety glass ordered. Kerriann picked up an MDF panel which we covered with black Velcro sheeting and a new ‘made to measure’ display case was born.

A duplicate Rider Waite was found in the archive and whilst I spent a couple of days laying the cards out Kerriann wrote the accompanying texts. We jiggled cards and text around until they fitted and in the end looked very impressive.

However, in line with modern trends, we wanted to make the display more interactive so we racked our brains for a method whereby visitors could select a tarot card and get an interpretation. The easiest way would be to provide a pack of cards but I am sure that cards would ‘disappear’ within days so a more secure method had to be devised. We looked at rotary card filing systems, at various methods of laminating and chaining cards and other methods involving brass eyelets and key rings but none were going to be easy.

Inspiration came again in the workshop!

Before the flood we had purchased an old coin operated fortune telling machine. One popped an old penny into the top and the weight of the coin dropping turned a mechanism that span a pointer over a dial from which your fortune would be read.

This machine had been badly damaged in the flood and was sitting in a corner of the workshop looking unloved – it was about to get a new lease of life. The water-damaged dial was removed and replaced with images of cards from the major arcana and the mechanism modified to accept modern coinage. A lick of paint, some wood polish and a drop of oil and she worked like new! Drop a 2p in the top, the pointer spins and eventually stops – Hey Presto! you have selected a tarot card. Purl Wise has provided interpretations for a panel adjacent to the new display which may even raise us some extra pennies (or 2ps)

Still to add is a laminated copy of 'The Fool's Journey' by Roger Pratt , our expert tarot reading friend in New York (always like to enhance our trans Atlantic relations).

Lets hope our visitors appreciate all the work that goes into our wonderful museum!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Get Well Soon Adrian

We'd like to send a get well soon message to The Friends of the Museum's Honorary President Adrian Bryn-Evans who recently broke his collar bone. Adrian does a huge amount of work for the museum but he'll be taking it a bit easier at the moment while he recuperates. I'm sure he'd appreciate any healing thoughts you could send across the ether to help him recover.

Tarot Display



We've been making good progress with the tarot display. Graham has made the display box & placed the cards in a colourful manner. The text is next on the agenda. Here is a piccy of the work so far.

Some Gorge Reviews

Graham has found a website where people review places they've visited - it's called QYPE & I'd never heard of it before (am I the last person on earth who's unfamiliar with this site???) Anyway there were some gorge reviews about the museum so I thought I'd pop the link in so you could have a look. It's http://www.qype.co.uk/place/197733-The-Museum-Of-Witchcraft-Boscastle . Thanks to the contributors for the positive comments.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Latest News

Quite a few things to mention at the moment:

Firstly the museum is featuring in the latest Lammas issue of Pagan Dawn so grab a copy to read the interview with Graham about the history of & future plans for the museum.

Meredith & Mandrake the swallows have built a new nest & are presumably going to have a few new chicks in the next couple of weeks - Graham has the camera trained on their nest so we can watch their progress from the front desk.

We've introduced some lovely new soaps handmade for us by Namaste Therapy - one features a witch & the other a pentacle. I'll try to get some pics on & put them on
http://www.theoccultartcompany.co.uk/ website on the weekend so you can purchase them online.

One of our favorite authors Owen Davies has a new book out 'Grimoires - The History of The Magical Book' and his previous one 'A People Bewitched' is back in stock. 'Grimoires' is a very attractive hardback with a fetching cover - it only arrived today so we have not read it yet but going by his previous works it will be well researched & highly informative.

By popular request, Graham has put together a 'Wise Woman's Spells & Charms' CD which retails at £ 4 . This is the sound track from the museum's wise woman's cottage featuring spoken spells and charms with the crackling of the fire in the background. Cassandra Latham reads the spells collected mainly by Levannah Morgan.

We now have witch key rings back in stock. They are not easy to come by for some reason.

That's all for now but watch this space for news on ........
MOW spirit boards & Joyce Froome's book

Monday, July 13, 2009

Pagan Dawn Lammas Issue

There's a fab article in the Lammas issue of Pagan Dawn. As it is the 13 year anniversary of Graham taking over the museum at Samhain & the 5 year anniversary of the flood on August 16 Pagan Dawn has published an interview with Graham outlining a bit of the history of him taking over & what's planned for the future. He makes mention of the fact that the collection has been donated to The Trust for the Preservation of the Museum of Witchcraft so that it will remain accessible to the public & cannot be broken up as unfortunately has happened to so many other collections.
Not everyone realises that the museum receives no government grants whatsoever & is funded solely by visitors & a small amount of retail sales, that's why it's so important that you all come along to support us when you can. We love to see you and get your comments. I've started putting a comment of the day on the twitter site (witchmuseum is the tweet) so you can see what people are saying about us. I'm also mentioning new retail products that we get in to sell in the shop.

Eastbourne Lammas Festival Notice

Our friends over at Eastbourne are organising this year's Lammas Festival as we speak. Here is some information for those who are keen to go along:

Eastbourne Lammas Festival 1st and 2nd August – Western Lawns, Eastbourne Seafront from 11amThe Eastbourne Lammas Festival is a pageant of morris dancing, carnival giants and live music from traditional and folk-rock to modern jazz. Now in its 9th year, Eastbourne Lammas Festival just gets bigger and better. Each day starts with Morris dancing in differing styles, with hosts Hunters Moon Morris and guests along with with drumming from the Pentacle Drummers. As always Saturday’s Carnival parade at 12.30 promises to be spectacular. The Eastbourne Giants Herne and Andred will once again lead dancers, drummers and festival-goers along the prom from the pier to the Western Lawns. Anyone, of any age is invited to join the parade if they come along to the Pier entrance at around noon, though children must be accompanied by an adult. Feel free to dress up! Raid your dressing-up boxes, strap on a pair of fairy wings or garland your hair with flowers and join in. The more the merrier!The afternoon features live bands and performers including Touchstone, Magic Folk, Black Strap Molasses and the Blue Shift Jazz Band. Lie back and laze in the sun by the sea as you listen to the music. Bring a picnic or chose from the variety of food and drinks that are on offer over the weekend. The Beer Tent is run by The 1648 Brewery who brew their excellent Lammas Ale for the event.With clothing, book, jewellery and craft stalls and demonstrations, plus children’s entertainment from face-painting and story-telling to Mouse Town, Punch and Judy and bouncy castle, there is something for everyone.
Saturday ends with the ritual “slaying” of John Barleycorn, the Festival’s traditional rite, at about 5.30pm. Sunday ends with a Scratch Ceilidh which is a chance to kick your shoes off, grab a likely partner and dance on the grass!The festival annually raises money for the RNLI. Please give generously throughout the weekend.

For more information and up to date details of bands, see website www.lammasfest.org

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Additions




Here are two of our recent donations. The colourful Golden Dawn Tools were used by a Canadian magician and are now on display upstairs as part of our Ritual Magic section. I must say I think they are truly fabulous but I've always been keen on a splash of colour. On a less colourful yet equally interesting note are the two concealed cats which were found in a house in Bristol during refurbishment work. The house was built in the late 1800s which makes this a fairly late example of cats concealed in walls. It is thought they were used as charms to protect houses from mice & rats. We are coming along with the Tarot display. We (& by we I mean Graham) are constructing the case from mahogony doors & toughened glass. We've also had some offers of images & text from some fabulous people. More on that later.

Thanks Exmoor Pagan Camp

A Big thanks go to Yarrow & all who attended the Exmoor Pagan Camp & took part in the raffle. £50 was raised for Friends of the Museum. Much appreciated.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Swallows a Big Hit

video

The live stream of the swallows' nest footage has proved a big hit with visitors to the museum!! The staff have even got a sweep stake on when they think the chicks will fledge. Derek, the largest of the chicks, appears ready to take off at any minute. Meredith & Merlin are great parents & all four of the little chaps are still doing well. Check out the latest video.

In the meantime Graham has been working on some new exclusive products for retail & I've introduced some new cards based around the Richel collection. They are doing very well & I'll be putting some on The Occult Art Company website shortly. As soon as Graham's new products are ready I'll put some info on this blog.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mandrake it is

We're delighted to announce that the name of the male swallow is Mandrake (as suggested by Lesley). 'Meredith & Mandrake' has a nice ring to it. Their chicks are now popping their heads above the nest so we'll try to get a snippet of them having their lunch. Joyce is beside herself with excitement in the booth & is being easily distracted from her research. She's getting closer to finishing her book now so she needs to keep her eye on the ball - not the birds!! Chortle. I do amuse myself at times.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Cool Blog

I thought I'd draw your attention to a cool blog that has some info on the museum. You can find it by clicking this link http://www.squidoo.com/museum-of-witchcraft .

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Meredith

If you're coming to visit make sure you check out the screen in the booth showing Meredith the swallow & her new chicks. We're doing our own version of Springwatch with a camera set up discreetly near Meredith's nest to watch her antics. The nest is in under the roof between the museum & the National Trust cafe next door. Have grabbed a video from Graham for you to have a look at. It was filmed earlier today & we can't see any small beaks yet. It seems to start with Meredith's chap then she comes into the picture towards the end. Does anyone have a suggestion for his name?
video

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wackiest Museums

We've just been alerted to a blog of the World's 10 Wackiest Museums - follow the link to see what else is on there. Museum of Witchcraft number 7

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recent Donations






Just thought I'd mention a few of the recent donations we've had.


A bangle from Robert Eagle in the USA is useful for us to demonstrate that Gardnerian wicca spread to the US. It is museum object number 2031.

An intriguing one is the Victorian face screen (museum object number 2032)
It is an"unusual petitpoint sheild shape face screen
with devil design worked by hand in silk & wool. It would originally have been attached to a brass rod or stand to protect ladies from the glow of the fire."

We think this might be European - can anybody confirm this?

Anonymous Donation

We would like to pass on A Big Thank You to the person who anonymously left an envelope containing a large donation over the bank holiday. This will go towards our roof fund.

Please let us know who you are so we can thank you properly.

Easter pics







I've finally located a few of the photos taken over Easter - they seemed to have disappeared into my computer's ether. Hunters Moon Morris had a fab time dancing outside the museum & singing in The Wellington, Jerry Bird had a book signing for his new book 'Landscape of Memory' & Freya the dog generally had a lovely time being petted by all & sundry. I am hoping to find the pics I took of Jerry & James Findlay playing in The Welly for you - they too seem to have disappeared.



PF Wessex

Adrian Bryn-Evans has recently us a cheque for £17.80 which was money raised from the PF Wessex conference on April 18th. Thank you so much for your ongoing fundraising efforts.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Anonymous Donation

On Sunday 12 April a man left an envelope in the museum marked 'Donation to Museum'. He was thanked and he went on his way.
When the envelope was later opened by Graham he was shocked to find that it contained £3000 in twenty pound notes!
Whilst we know that we did recognise the donor as a regular visitor it was a busy day and we can't remember his name. If you are that man please contact us so that we can thank you properly. Likewise if you know who made this amazingly generous donation please pass on his details to us.
The money will go towards paying for the new roof which has just cost us £ 60,000!


Thank you very much, kind, anonymous, man!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Donation to Museum from Tim Cutler



Thanks to Tim Cutler who donated his wife Jade's beautiful stang to us recently as a memorial to her sudden passing to spirit earlier this year. The stang is made from twisted wood, is 'shod' with a metal cap at the base & metal horns at the top with a jade coloured crystal between. The horns are fixed with leather and brass pins. A wooden plaque inscribed 'For Jade, 1972-2009. Beloved wife and best friend' accompanies the stang. It will be displayed in our Memorial area near the shrine.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Kat Adams Donation

We were very grateful to receive the book collection of the late Kat Adams this week. These books will be catalogued and added to the ever growing library. Any duplicates will be sold to raise funds to purchase more books and library equipment. The books will be stamped 'in memory of Kat Adams'. Thank you Kat - merry met & merry part & merry meet again.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Builder's Last Day



We'd just like to say thanks to Chris & Marcus who have led the way on the building project at the museum. It's their last day today & we've really been impressed with their professionalism & the speed at which they've worked to get the job finished within schedule. All the guys who've been in to work with them have been great so thanks to them too. Here is a picture of the two lads looking vibrant & attractive as they complete their activities.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Museum Open

Hoorah! The museum is now open for business for 2009. The new roof is on and the museum is spick and span inside. The builders, particularly Chris & Marcus, have done a great job getting everything finished & ready for the deadline. The decorator Sid spent his last day before retirement painting the flat upstairs. We all wish him a fabulous retirement! There are a couple of finishing touches to be made inside, e.g. the dried cats need a nice display area, but all in all it's going really well. We just need lots of visitors now so hope to see you throughout the year.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Thanks to Volunteers & a Picture of Graham's Foot



Well, the museum opens for 2009 today and there's been a lot of hard work going on to get the doors open, particularly with the scaffolding only coming down on Monday. The next stage will be to paint the frontage as it now looks rather tatty from months of roof works. We'd like to especially thank volunteers Claire Meehan and Jane Chatterton who both came in to help with the daunting task of cleaning the museum in readiness for the opening. Much appreciated!


Graham is now exhausted as he sprained his foot last week (falling over some dust sheets) but has been rushing around to get some new displays in place. Here is a photo of his foot for all those sprained foot fetishists out there.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ray & Linda Lindfield exhibit

If you are in the Eastbourne area during the Eastbourne Festival, make a visit to the Big House on Prideaux Road where you can check out an exhibition of jewellery by our great friends Ray & Linda Lindfield. They are well known for their medieval & witchcraft related jewellery & have supplied the museum with some beautiful circlets in the past. Here is a link to the brochure page with details of venue etc

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stang display moves


With the arrival of Stewart Farrar's painting we have made some space in the 'Modern Witchcraft' section of the museum by moving our fabulous collection of stangs to the 'Stone Circle' area. They seem to be very happy there & it adds a bit more interest to the wall by the automaton.

Here I am mid stang all woollened up as it was rather chilly despite being sunny outside. By the way, we're hoping the scaffolding will be coming down tomorrow. It was supposed to go on Friday but it's still there.

Farrar Donation


We'd like to thank Janet Farrar for her recent donation of some of Stewart Farrar's ritual items and one of his paintings. Trevor & Liz from Glastonbury arrived on Thursday with the donation and we have been spending the day setting out the items in the 'Modern Witchcraft' section of the museum. We've also just finished photographing and cataloguing the items so if you'd like to see them in more detail you can go to the website and search the objects database under Farrar. They will all be on display by the time we open on April 1st.
Thanks to Trevor & Liz (pictured right) for making the trip to deliver the items.

There will be more info & pics on this news shortly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cassandra Latham


Cassandra spent today researching in the library for her new book which she says, in true Cornish fashion, will be coming out 'dreckly'. Here is a very attractive photo of the aforementioned Cassandra looking very studious in her Penglaze t shirt & serious specs.

Pre Opening Helpers







We had a fun day cleaning the museum today. As we open on April 1st it's important everything is spick and span for the visitors who will be coming along this year. The work on the new roof has meant that the museum is absolutely covered with dust. Laetitia and Phil came along and worked on the stone circle and Joan's cottage, Hanna had a fab time cleaning the hare's den and I spent a lovely day shining thumb screws and scold's bridles in the persecution section. Graham did a job swap with Hannah as he has just sprained his ankle falling down the stairs, no he wasn't drinking, he tripped on the builder's dust sheets. He 's currently trying out the sinew to sinew healing spell. Here are some pics of the motley crew.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dried Cat Donation


Many thanks to Nat Parker who, this weekend, delivered two wonderful dried cats which were found in a house in Bristol. This discovery was interesting on two points: 1 the two were found together - unusual, and 2. the house was built in the late 1800s which is again unusual to find the cats in a house built so late in time. It is thought that cats were put into the walls of houses poised in a manner which suggests they are about to pounce on a mouse - a protection from rodent activity one presumes. I have called them Marmaduke and Jeremy. Here is a photo of Nat with the dried cats in the box to the foreground.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hunters Moon Morris at Easter

Once again our great friends Hunters Moon Morris will be visiting Boscastle on Easter weekend and dancing outside the museum on Easter Monday. They are always a popular attraction and there is usually some fab singing & playing and drinking in the pubs on the Sunday & Monday. Come along & check them out if you're in the area.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Request for research volunteers

One of the Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft is doing a research project and is looking for people to volunteer information. PLease help if you can. I am attaching her letter to the Friends which is self explanatory:
Do you feel that Witchcraft has changed the woman you are today?
Dear Friends,
I had the privilege of meeting many of you at the December gathering, but for those of you that I have not met, my name is Ashley Reichelmann and I am an American Masters student of Sociology at the University of Bristol in Bristol, England. For my dissertation, I would like to explore the role of the deity in the daily lives of women who define themselves as “witches”. Therefore, I am seeking female volunteers (over the age of 18) who are willing to share their stories with me as a researcher. The process would entail a series of qualitative research methods, beginning with a brief questionnaire, which—if you are interested—could lead to an interview and a focus group with like-minded females and myself. First and foremost, confidentiality will be the utmost priority. Ultimately, I am seeking to show the many positive aspects of Witchcraft, especially relating to its role in the liberation of women.
If you are interested, I would love to hear from you as soon as possible, but by June 1st, the latest. Please contact me at
areichelmann@gmail.com, or via post at 17 Woodland Court/29 Belgrave Road/Bristol/ BS8 2AA/UK, with your interest, inquiries or suggestions. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Blessed be!
Your fellow “Friend”,
Ashley Reichelmann

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Simon Costin's plans for a Museum of British Folklore


This weekend we're having a lovely visit from our friends Simon Costin & Marti Bogie and much merriment has been had. Marti is a dancer with Mad Jack's Morris down in Hastings and Simon is a well known set designer. Simon is involved in an amazing project at the moment - he is planning to open The Museum of British Folklore and has just started his fund raising activities. The website is currently under construction but will be open soon. He is looking for premises for the museum so if anyone knows of any fab buildings crying out to be turned into a large museum let us know. Contact Simon via his website for details. Here is a little of what he is trying to achieve:

"I intend to establish a permanent collection and national exhibition centre that celebrates and promotes the Folk Culture of the British Isles. In 2008, I actively met curators, small museum directors and archivists responsible for existing folk collections throughout the country. My research also bought me into contact with the Charity Commission, several fundraising consultants and individual practitioners, writers and musicians, so as to gain a fuller understanding of what might be involved in the programming and day-to-day operation of a small museum. I have drawn up a number of diverse policies and agendas, which would affect the operation of such an institution, ranging from Health and Safety issues to Child Protection, Equal Opportunities to Financial Management Control in addition to the crucial Mission Statement for the museum.
The year 2009 marks an exciting stage in the progress toward the opening of the museum. At the present time, it would appear that the museum would operate as a Community Interest Company. Fundraising will begin in earnest in April of this year, as I take to the roads of Britain in a converted 1976 Castleton caravan, adapted specially to be a traveling Folk Museum in miniature. A taste of what is to come. I shall be touring the country to attend Folk festivals and events countrywide to raise awareness for the project. During my travels, I will compile a mailing list, discover what visitors to the caravan could donate to the collection, share their oral histories and experiences, and generally promote the future museum via coverage in local and national newspapers, television and radio.
A full itinerary of the tour will be posted in the news section of the website, and will be updated as I progress around the country. Reports from each event will be posted on the website's journal in due course."


We wish him well. Keep an eye out for the touring museum at Folk Festivals throughout the year.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Knitstrology

Just thought I'd put a link on for anyone interested in the joys of knitting combined with astrology. The astrologer 'Pearl Wise' is a friend of the museum and writes for Knit.1 - an American magazine for fashion forward young knitters. The Spring Summer issue will be out soon. Click Here for the Fall/Winter Knitstrology column.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thanks to Mike Howard

Editor of that quality publication 'The Cauldron', Mike Howard, has just donates £298 to the museum following the sale of back issues of The Cauldron. Mike has been a long term supporter of the museum and has done a lot of research here for some of his many books. Thanks for your support Mike - it is much appreciated. If anyone is unfamiliar with The Cauldron and has a serious interest in the craft it is well worth checking out. It is available by subscription only.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Opening for 2009




At this stage we are hoping to open the museum on April 1st. This is dependant on the roof works going to plan as we have a mass of scaffolding over the building at the moment. We will keeJustify Fullp you updated via the blog.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Upper floor in museum




Due to the museum roof being replaced Graham has had to move into the museum proper for the time being. Here are some pics of his new bedroom. Hopefully the roof will be finished before the museum opens or it might be a bit tight up there.