Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Best of the archive Day Three

Another interesting day of archiving.  After a bit of a mix up with numbering (fixed by Devin and Rachel!) the students really made great progress today.  Here are the best bits they discovered.

Rachel has been cataloguing the handwritten notes of the Cecil Williamson (the founder of the Museum).  She found this document particularly interesting.  In it, Cecil expresses his views on witchcraft (beware he is quite opinionated about it, the Museum does not necessarily endorse these views)

"The public has been blinded and deafened by the clamour sic set up by the publicity seeking 20th century witches who declare that witchcraft is no more than the ancient pre-Christian Pagan mother religion of the Fertility Goddess of Creation. Their teaching are "to do what then wilt and to have one another in complete freedom." As this museum will demonstrate the Art of Witchcraft is not as simple as all that. For this earth on which we exist is a grim and frightening place with each and every one of us taking with every passing day one step nearer to our death."

Devin found a card about witch persecutions which contains some shocking information (and the use of the phrase "piddling nonsense")!

Stephen found a card which related to the display of a skeleton in the old days of the Museum.  Here is the card and a photo from the Museum back then.

Ariel and Sami brought to light some interesting information (both to do with breasts for some reason!)

Isabelle found another interpretation for an object which is still on display today - a pair of glass knitting needles (photographed below).  

Heather went coin mad today.  Even delving into the Museum displays in her quest to locate coins mentioned in Cecil's interpretation cards.  Here she is examining them and here is what she found out about a hag penny.  

No archiving tomorrow as the students are out on a visit to three Cornish fishing villages (including Polperro).  More from the archive on Friday.


frocker151 said...

So glad that all of the old index cards are being looked at, there's some amazing bits of information in there and it'll be fantastic to have them all put into some kind of order. Great work and good luck with finding the coins!

Museum of Witchcraft said...

Thanks so much for your positive comments. We hope that the cards will be of use to researchers. They are already providing us with new ways of understanding the collection and are proving of interest to the students as well.

Wade MacMorrighan said...

Why, hor fortuitous! I had remembered coming upon an entry for the glass knitting needles on the Museum website some years ago, which was a form of folk-magick I had wanted to discuss in a book that I am currently writing on herbal magick. (It took me forever to locate that artifact again; I searched "knit", "knitting", and "needle", and received no hits, until I searched "glass", which brought up far too many hits than I care to think about!) Just to ensure that I understand the context of these note cards correctly, they were originally written by Cecil Williamson and forgotten about or lost? Also, were they hand-written by Cecil and type-set by volunteers of the Museum, presumably for display with the artifacts? Again, thank you for providing this VERY timely blog entry, which I shall cite within an appropriate footnote.

Take Care,
Wade MacMorrighan

PS--I do plan on donating a copy of my book to the Museum when it is published! I believe that I meant ion another artifact or two within my MS., if I am not mistaken.

Museum of Witchcraft said...

Hi Wade

Glad you found the blog helpful. Cecil mostly hand wrote these captions and then type them up before they went on display. In some cases he seems to have rewritten several times, usually minor changes, sometimes major ones (probably when new facts came to light).

Look forward to seeing you book! We will let you know if we find anything more on glass knitting needles...

Wade MacMorrighan said...

Thank you so much, you are a peach! If you should find anything else re: glass knitting needles, the best way to contact me through my FB page these days at:

All my best,