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Friday, January 15, 2021

England’s Chilling Museum Of Witchcraft And Magic

Rare vinyl records, old shoes, coins, comic books, or anything that held great value and were able to survive over the years, these are just a few examples of collections one can possess, odd for some, a treasure for others. But have you heard of witchcraft artifacts collection?

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Image: Flickr
Crystal balls, flying broomsticks, Ouija board, a book of spells, tarot cards, wands, black candles and other peculiar magic and witchcraft memorabilia, all of these can be seen in England, The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.

It all started when a schoolmate who seemingly a witch who taught the young Cecil Williamson on how to cast a spell. Magic was introduced to him and the fascinating world of witchcraft.

Located in Boscastle, Cornwall near the port right beside the National Trust Visitor Center, southwest England, a modest yet mysterious Museum of Witchcraft and Magic formerly known as Museum of Witchcraft was built By Cecil Williamson in the year 1951. It was initially located in Castletown, Isle of Man before it settled in Boscastle in 1960.

The cozy cottage looking exhibition hall displays folk magic (religious dimension and syncretism), ceremonial magic (long elaborated and complex rituals), freemasonry (fraternity organization), and Wicca (pagan witchcraft). It also holds the world’s largest and oldest collection of witchcraft-related artifacts, with over 3000 and 7,000 books that contain information about the history of magic and the realm of the occult.

“Three miles away from this spot you can find this pre-historic maze stone carved into a living rock face, proof that from ancient times man and his magic making with the world of spirit were active in this area. The centuries have passed and times have changed and yet all around us in this quiet corner of England there is a strange feeling that we are not alone and that the shades of persons passed on and over into the world of spirit are very close. That is why this Museum of Witchcraft is located here. One is standing on the edge of the beyond.” –Cecil Williamson

When asked why the museum exists, the owner and founder of one of the most quirky shops in the world said those words. It was also said that the current location of the museum was not chosen by chance. It seemed that it is where the museum should be.

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Image: Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

After the devastating flash flood happened in Boscastle in 2004, that caused damage in the museum, Simon Costin felt the connection. “I had known of the museum for many years, but it had always seemed too remote reach,” said Costin. He is now the current director and has supervised the museum since 2013 when then-owner Graham King got in touch with him.

He was then the go-between with the Geology Museum in London which was decommissioning old mahogany display cases and arranged to be donated in the museum. He was then asked by Graham King if he likes to be the new curator of the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic back in 2012, on October 31, 2013 he signed the documents, an uncannily date.

Costin has been a voracious reader ever since he was a child, particularly on some mysterious stories. With his parents’ copy of Rider’s Digest, folklore, myths, and legends of Britain, he has been able to pour his passion for magic and witchcraft.

Does Williamson own all those artifacts? Where did he get all of those?

The collections in the museum are growing. People would ask who owns those pieces. Most of the displays owned by the founder Cecil Williamson that he has been able to collect those remarkable sets for the past years. Some of the artifacts came from donations from magical practitioners, and others are from auction websites. The museum is concentrating mostly on magical pieces, and litmus testing is being conducted as part of the establishing.

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Image: Pinterest

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Image: Pinterest

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Image: Trip Advisor

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Image: Boutique Retreats

The museum also had some involvement in the British Library’s exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic. It has shown some interesting magical artifacts such as, 20th century exploded cauldron, serpentine-shaped wand, magical mirror that was used to practice prediction, black moon crystal ball and many more.

People who visit the museum can see some creepy yet intriguing relics like “Harry”. A preserved human head which thought to be medieval remains, it also went under forensic investigation and was found out to be part of an Egyptian Mummy and turns out to be a woman, “Harriet”.

Museum of Witchcraft and Magic
Image: Wikipedia

With the array of unbelievable pieces, the museum is in search of a toadstone ring, fossilized teeth of Lepidotes, an extinct species fish from the Jurassic period (Toarcian age) and Early Cretaceous. “Toadstone rings were first reported in the 14th century and were reproduced to the 18th. They’re quite hard to come by, so are at the top of our list!” said Costin. It was said to be a cure to poison; toadstone ring is also known as Bufonite.

In 1996, Williamson suffered from an illness and was forced to sell the museum to his fellow pagan Graham King. Under his guidance, the museum grew even more and received international fame and was even acknowledged as the largest independent museum in the United Kingdom.

INSIDE  Museum of Witchcraft and Magic:

Williamson envisioned in bringing the world of magic closer to the masses and detaching on misconceptions and misinformation about the occult and the practice of witchcraft that is why The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is there to embrace the magical peculiarity in everyone.

Written by Kris De Vera Estrella, IFY Books

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