Friday, May 30, 2014

TV appearance went well

The Museum featured on the Paul O'Grady show last week.  It was quite a strange experience but a great showcase for the Museum and its objects.  Paul O'Grady and Demi Lovato seemed genuinely interested in the objects and visiting the Museum.  We were pleased that this section of the show was slightly more serious than the rest of the programme (which was a lot of fun!)  If you missed it, you can watch it online (it is the last ten minutes or so of the programme)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Museum will be on Paul O'Grady show on Wednesday

Judith from the Museum will be appearing on the Paul O'Grady show on Wednesday which airs live from five until six on ITV.

She'll be talking about some of the objects from the Collection and it should be great promotion for the Museum.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Sara Hannant's photographs

Last week we promised you an image from Sara Hannant's recent visit to the Museum:

We think that this beautiful photograph brings this 'Kern Babby' to life!  These figures were made around harvest time and would be carried in procession or sat at the head of the table to represent the spirit of the harvest.  They were also placed in the last pew of the local church (sometimes with an apple in the pocket!).  At the end of a year they would be burnt and their ashes scattered over the fields to insure a good new harvest.  (See Object Number 1097).

Thanks again to Sara.  These evocative images really show the collection at its very best.  We wish you all the best with the project.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Leave us a tweet in our Comment Box

Visitors to the Museum can now leave us a tweet in our comment box on specially adapted witchcraft museum tweet sheets!  The cute little bird is gone and we have a witch on a broom stick instead.  Whatever the format, the fab reviews keep on coming.

Museum shop joins Made in Cornwall Scheme

We've got a great stock of unique products in our Museum shop and also available online.

Many of these items are locally made and we are now part of the Made in Cornwall scheme run by Cornwall County Council.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Wonderful photos by Paul Ferbrache

Paul Ferbrache dropped in on Friday for the Museums at Night Event and took some beautiful photographs of the displays...

Great film by Rhodri Davies showing the Museum at Night

Rhodri documented our first Museums at Night event.  We really think he's captured the feel of the evening and there's a great interview with Joyce too!  You can see it on youtube.  Thanks Rhodri!

The Museum in the news - in India!

We recently featured in an article on unusual museums worldwide in the Hindustan News. Thanks to Richa Sharma for making this happen.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Artists Prints for the museum

As part of a new initiative to raise funds for the museum and to augment the collection, each year Simon will be asking a variety of artist printmakers, to produce a limited edition print, which takes its inspiration from the museum. Starting with distinguished artist, illustrator and print-maker Mark Hearld. Mark has designed an exclusive range of home wares for the Tate as well as showing internationally and his work can be seen in collections across the UK as well as in several beautifully produced books. A short film about him can be seen here -

Simon has asked if Mark would create his interpretation of some Witches Familiars, so expect to see Vinegar Tom and Pyewackett as you've never seen them before! The prints will be available both online and from the museum shop. Details will follow in due course.

Photo: Joanna Petrie

International Museums Day

Today we have webcams in the Museum beaming live images to the Hexenmuseum Switzerland, the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft, the Museum de Hekenswaag and the Hexenmusem in Austria.

You can see the images at:

Many thanks to Larry and Clare at Luna Orbis for setting up our webcams.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Museums at Night: A magical evening

Our Museum by Candlelight evening (part of a nationwide programme of Museums at Night events) was a great success. Three parts of the Museum (the Stone Circle, Joan’s Cottage and the Baphomet section of the upstairs gallery) were lit with candles, and the effect was remarkable – mysterious and yet also warm and welcoming.

We also created a small temporary display where the Spirit Bottles were lit from behind with candles, and in the flickering light shining through the glass they seemed alive with ethereal movement.

Our visitors were delighted to have the chance to be in the Museum at night, feeling that already gave the experience a special quality, and from their comments it’s clear that the candlelight helped to recreate the atmosphere of the days when magic was a part of everyday life.

If you missed this event, we are doing it again on Friday May 30th from 8pm until midnight.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sara Hannant photographs the collection

This week friend of the Museum and acclaimed photographer Sara Hannant photographed our amazing collection.  Sara was working on a new book - more details to follow - which will show the objects at their very best.

Sara's work has been exhibited at Cecil Sharp House, the Horniman and many other venues, and her latest book, 'Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids:  A Journey Through the English Ritual Year' was Runner-up for the prestigious 2012 Katherine Briggs Folklore Award.

The images Sara created were truly breathtaking (watch this blog for updates) - and we look forward to seeing the finished publication.  Thanks Sara!

New book review from the Museum library

Reviewed by Hannah, who read this book after it was donated to the library by the author.  Syd Moore visited the Museum in April as part of research for her work.

Witch Hunt by Syd Moore is an emotional ghostly novel based in Essex alternating between a modern 'Essex Girl' journalist and the challenges that women in Essex faced around the time of the Witchfinder Matthew Hopkins. Although heart rending at times at the injustice of the era, Syd draws on the strengths of these women and how they connect through time to today, looking for justice. Some clever twists happen along the way, including theoretical links with the later Salem trials, making this an entrancing read.

Published by Harper Collins ISBN; 978-1-84756-269-2

Thank-you Kerriann!

After many years, Kerriann Godwin has ceased her direct involvement in the Friends of the Museum organisation.  She has been an integral part of making it a success and she is completely irreplaceable.

This photo shows Kerriann receiving a presentation of presents and gratitude at the Day of the Departed last weekend.  She received thunderous applause and a well deserved standing ovation.

Lots coming up at the Museum of Witchcraft this weekend

Tonight is the first Museum by candlelight, there is a real buzz about it in the village, from visitors to the Museum and on social media.  Remember we're open from 8pm till midnight tonight and again in two week's time (Friday May 30th)  Hope to see lots of you there.

On Saturday night, we feature in the BBC 2 programme Museums at Night which airs at 7pm.

This Sunday is International Museums Day and our webcam is up and running.  We're now linked Witch Museums in Iceland, Austria and Switzerland and you can see what's happening in all the Museums by looking at this website:

Many thanks to Luna Orbis in Tintagel for helping with the technology and for enabling us to take part.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Witch bottles back in stock

 We started stocking Gypsy Tequila's Witch protection bottles (hand made in Boscastle) about a month ago and they have proven very popular, so popular in fact that they sold out!  They are now back in stock and available to buy in the Museum and also online:
If you want one of these unique items then act fast!

Wonderful new book available in the Museum shop

We have a beautiful new book in the Museum shop (which is also available online

Edward Lovett's 'Magic in Modern London' and 'Folk-Lore & Legends of the Surrey Hills and of the Sussex Downs and Forests' are now luxuriously reprinted and illustrated with objects from the Museum of Witchcraft's 'Lovett' collection.

Edward Lovett (1852-1933) spent his spare time prowling the streets of London and surrounding countryside in search of the curios which filled his Croydon home.  In 1900 he joined the Folklore Society, publishing several articles in the Folklore journal.  He also began exhibiting his artefacts and delivering lectures in the Horniman Museum and the at Royal Society of Arts.

These works were originally published in the 1920s and they have been republished in one volume.  There is evidence that the Museum's founder Cecil Williamson and Lovett had dealings, and it's very possible that some of the charms on display in the Museum may have been acquired by Lovett himself.

Stocks are limited so order online or buy yours at the Museum today!

New additions to the Museum collection

Patricia Crowther has generously donated a collection of objects that belonged to Gerald Gardner.  The Director of the Museum, Simon Costin, visited Patricia in Sheffield recently to collect the pieces.

Gardner had a lifelong interest in weapons, and the objects include a 19th century hunting sword with a stag’s antler hilt, a Zulu dagger with a beautiful leaf-shaped blade, and an elegant Jambiya – the kind of dagger worn by T.E. Lawrence in the famous photograph of him dressed in Arab robes.

There are also two bronze oil lamps that were excavated by Gerald Gardner in the ruins of an ancient Malay settlement he discovered at Johore Lama, in southern Malaysia.

These objects will be a wonderful addition to our Gardner display, and give further insight into the personality of this enormously influential figure in the Modern Witchcraft movement.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Final plans for Museums at Night

The Museum of Witchcraft – a magical place, all the more magical at night!  The Museum will be open for two nights until midnight on Friday May 16th and Friday May 30th.  See the Museum as never before and as many of the objects were meant to be seen…in beautiful, flickering candle and lamplight (don't worry we'll be careful and follow all the Health and Safety procedures!).   The Museum of Witchcraft will be taking part in the Museums at Night initiative for the first time and will feature in a BBC2 documentary to be broadcast at 7pm on Friday May 17th. 

Friday 16th May
8pm till midnight

Friday 30th May

8pm till midnight

If you would like a poster to promote this event in your local area, please e-mail the Museum and we'll send you one.  Hopefully see some of you there.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Book Review from the Museum of Witchcraft Library

We’re going to start doing monthly book reviews to share with you some of the fantastic books that we have in the Museum of Witchcraft Library (which can be accessed by arrangement or as a Friend of the Museum).  Each review will be written by a member of the Museum’s staff. 

Witchcraft:  A History (2000) by P.G.Maxwell-Stuart, review by Judith

"This is a great introductory book on the history of witchcraft.  It starts with the Classical World and includes a fascinating section on different types of magical practitioner and the labels that were affixed to them.  Greek and Roman writers did not have one word for witch and the different terms really interested me and helped me to understand why at the Museum we find defining a witch such a problematic thing to do! 

Maxwell-Stuart then moves on to Christianity and the Church’s relationship with magic and witches which made me think more deeply about the Museum’s display of objects relating to religion and magic.  It seems the early Church drew a line in the sand and said “this is acceptable magic and practice but this, on the other hand, is unacceptable magic and practice.”

Moving onto the early modern period, there was a lot of information about the persecutors and their motivations which raised a lot more questions than it answered: definitely an area for further research.  I found the later period fascinating as it is not something that I am as familiar with (having done a traditional History degree I think I imbibed the simplistic idea that the Enlightenment destroyed traditional belief systems and that rationalism and organised religion reigned supreme from about 1800 onwards).  Maxwell-Stuart referenced another book on Witchcraft, Magic and Culture from 1736-1951 by Owen Davis which I plan to read next. 

This is a short book which skims over all the different periods and leaves one with a desire to find out more…"

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Visit from Hexenmuseum

We had a visit today from Chris and Wicca from the Hexenmuseum in Switzerland.  We're going to be linking up with them electronically on International Museums Day (18th May).

Every year since 1977 International Museum Day has been organised worldwide in May.   The idea behind this year’s day is “Museum collections making connections”   We’re linking up with other museums specialising in witchcraft and the occult from around the world. 

Our other partners in this project are: the Salem Witch Museum in Massachusetts, the Musee de la sorcellerie in France and the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft. 

As part of this unique day, there will be webcams in the Museum connecting us with the other institutions taking part.

Padstow May Day Celebrations Video

Click this link to see a great video of the day as experienced by Joyce and family.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Handcrafted wands and staffs now available


Mark the Wand from Devon has brought us some more of his beautiful wands, staffs and hagstone charms for the Museum shop.


They include a quirky corkscrew hazel wand, an elegant white wand made from churchyard yew, a blackthorn wand with the shape of a hare’s head in the pattern of the wood, and a hazel stang with a wonderful combination of spirals and horns.

Our thanks to Mark for being such a generous and inspiring supporter of the Museum.

Prices and additional photos are available by email:

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Swallows on camera (literally)

For the past few years, the Museum has kept an eye on the swallows that nest in between us and the National Trust Visitor Centre next door.  Two cameras have been set up to watch the swallows as they nest in the eaves and these cameras then link up with a screen in the Museum shop.  This year the swallows have chosen a very unusual spot: on top of one of the cameras!  Every day they are bringing in more mud and grass to construct a nest on top of the camera.  We have the other camera trained on them and are capturing their every move.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Pagan Dawn article

There’s a lovely article in the most recent edition of the Journal of the Pagan Federation about the Museum of Witchcraft.  It contains an interview with the Director of the Museum, Simon Costin and looks at the History and future of the Museum. 

Day of the Departed – last few places remaining

On Saturday May 10th there will be a fantastic day of talks on death, dogs and ghouls at the Wellington Hotel in Boscastle.  This event has been organised by the Friends of the Museum of Witchcraft and will start at 10am and end at 4pm.  Tickets are £12 and all proceeds will go to the Friends of the Museum (a registered charity).

  • Speakers include:
Kristoffer Hughes - 'The Other Side of Sadness'
Mark Norman - 'Saucer-Eyed Harbingers: Black Dogs in the Folklore of Death'
Jason Karl - 'Boscastle Haunted'
Simon Costin - 'By the Pricking of my Thumbs'
There will also be raffles, stalls, and a book launch.  Why not come and spend a weekend in Cornwall?

There's only a few remaining places so contact Kerriann Godwin at to book your place.

Museums at Night - 2 weeks to go!

The Museum will be open until midnight and lit with lanterns and candles.  The dates for your diary are: 

Friday May 16th
Friday May 30th (School holidays)

This is part of a nationwide museums project and links in with a BBC programme that will feature a 5 minute (or so) section on the Museum of Witchcraft (broadcast Saturday May 17th, BBC 2 @ 7pm).

Come down and see the Museum as you've never seen it before!

Temporary New Window Display

Marti Dean’s magnificent Stag’s Head sculpture in the Museum window now has his antlers adorned with hagstones, items which are amongst the oldest forms of protection charm and look particularly appropriate on the ancient symbol of a stag’s head.

Taking up the theme of the First World War charms already in the window, our latest display adds some other eye-catching objects from the protection magic gallery, including witch balls, glass walking sticks and Hand of Fatima amulets.