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:

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Museum hosts its very own mini Food Festival

It is Food Festival weekend here in Boscastle and the Museum of Witchcraft is taking part.  Luscious Lucy Cornwall have set up their beautiful stall in the Museum shop/shrine area.  Visitors have been buying jams, chutneys and syrups which are all handmade from locally foraged ingredients.  The hots syrup drinks have proven particularly popular and come in a variety of flavours - rosehip, rose syrup and the very popular elderberry.  A lovely hot drink to leave the Museum with and to enjoy while taking in the beauty of Boscastle Harbour.  Come in tomorrow if you can.

West Country Folklore and Magic Event a great success

We had a good turn out for our day of talks and discussion on West Country Folklore and Magic which was hosted in the Museum library by Simon Costin and Steve Patterson.  There was an interesting consideration of the origins of folklore studies and a discussions of what folklore was.  We were then taken on a journey through the calendar looking at festivals and events from Cornwall from the more well known (Padstow's Obby Oss) to the less well known (sparrow mumbling)  The day was insightful and interesting but also relaxed and anecdotal - a very good balance!  Everyone seemed to enjoy the day which finished with a look round the Museum.  Thanks to Simon and Steve for this event and to Peter for organising the details of the day.  Maybe we will hold another one (or something similar) soon...

Friday, October 03, 2014

Great article on Museum Director can now be read online

For those of you who might have missed it (or don't live in the West Country) there is a lovely article in the Western Morning News magazine which profiles the Museum's Director, Simon Costin.  The in-depth interview took place a month or two ago and the article can now be viewed online as well. The article starts at page 15.

Don't miss out - last candlelit evening of the year on Saturday night!

Our candlelit evenings have proven very popular.  If you are anywhere near Boscastle this weekend please pop in for a special evening visit to the Museum.  If you go to the Food Festival we are offering £1 off all Museum entry tickets (on presentation of a valid Food Festival ticket)  This offer is also available on Saturday night so after a day at the Festival you can enjoy a bargain night at the Museum!

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Even babies love the Museum!

We had a visit from a gorgeous little lad the other day.  He visited Boscastle to see his Auntie and Uncle and to celebrate his first Birthday.  He loved the Museum which he visited with his Mum, Dad and grandparents.  Here he is looking at the Open Sesame doors.

And here he is walking like a zombie in the Herbs and Healing section.  The Museum managers are very proud of their little nephew (but slightly worried about his zombie inclinations) and make no apologies for blatant nepotism!   

Museum hailed as one of the "must see" things in the UK

We have just received notification that we are considered one of the top museums worth travelling to the UK for.  To see the others click on this link:

Article which was researched in the Museum now published

Pomegranate: the International Journal of Pagan Studies have published an article which was researched in the Museum Library by Shai Feraro (a PhD candidate in the School of Historical Studies at Tel Aviv University)  An annotated copy of The Wiccan journal which is in the Museum library is mentioned on page 51.  The article looks at the connections between British Wicca and Radical Feminism - an interesting read.  Subscription needed to read the article online.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Lots going on at the Museum this weekend

There are lots of events happening at the Museum this weekend.  First of all, there will be the last candlelit evening of the year on Saturday night.  We are open from 8pm til midnight (no need to book)  We are also taking part in Boscastle Food Festival with sample tastings of Cornish foodstuffs and a stall in the Museum to try food made from foraged hedgerow goodies.  We are also offering £1 off entry to the Museum if visitors present a valid entry ticket for the Food Festival.  Lots of extra reasons to visit us (and Boscastle) this weekend!

You can now watch the Museum on Antiques Road Trip online

If you missed this programme when it was on TV yesterday afternoon then you can watch the it online.  There is a nice roam around North Cornwall (Wadebridge, Tintagel and then Boscastle)  If you want to see the Museum, that section begins at 19 minutes in and lasts around five minutes .

A really excellent piece with a good look around the Museum - brilliant work as always Joyce!