Witchcraft Museum Boscastle

Nestled in the valleys of North Cornwall, you will find a quaint village that attracts tourists throughout the year. This village is called Boscastle + is home to the famous Witchcraft Museum and Magic, that was founded by Cecil Williamson, then bought by Graham King + now owned by Simon Costin. All of which were and are practitioners + authors in their own right.

Boscastle is a unique little village, where the River Valency runs through + joins the Celtic sea. It’s harbour once boasted to be a popular trading place for coastal lines and is now a popular quiet holiday destination for those wanting a more quieter vacation.

There often were ships + traders who travelled the seas from Scotland down to Cornwall on a regular basis. This may contribute to why there could be similar lores or beliefs between Cornwall, Scotland, even the Ísle of Man, Ireland + Wales.

Cornwall is home to alot of folklore that spreads out across the UK, it’s where King Arthur’s alleged birth place lays, at Tintagel Castle (first noted in 1480 by William Worcester as Arthur’s birth place).

Tintagel is a short 20 minute drive to Boscastle along the beautiful north Cornwall’s coast, a drive I would highly recommend to take if you are able to, with many beautiful spots along the way (St. Nectans Waterfall is a must visit but when the weather is better, due to the 30min walk through the forest).

To get to Boscastle, you will travel down into the valley, which you can drive, catch a bus or go via a coach trip, passing through the beautiful village of Trevelga into the small street of Boscastle. You can walk this along the coast from Tintagel to Boscastle but it is a fair old trek if that’s something you would like to do, I would have loved to take this hike if the weather was more generous during my stay.

Walking along the River Velency, towards the witchcraft museum, it was a tranquil moment and although I was surrounded by tourists rushing about, there was something surreal + peaceful about the area. It feels, if I dare say, otherworldly.

Cornwall it’s self is full of mystical + mythical beliefs, especially surrounding the piskies. They say if you were to find yourself lost on the moors, that you were being piskie-led. But villagers would appease the piskies in their areas by leaving offerings of food, as they say ‘a happy piskie is a happy life after all’. Some one would offer the piskies warmth, in return for good fortune and help.

In Boscastle the Piskies weren’t forgotten, tradesmen, workers, villagers + the poor would welcome piskies at a distance to keep the peace + bring good fortune to trades passing through, the land + people’s homes.

In 1813 Joan Wytte, known as the local fairy fighting witch or Wytte Witch, was imprisoned into Bodmin Jail. She wasn’t persecuted for her practice but actually for fighting. However, when Joan passed away she wasn’t laid to rest, infact her bones were used for séances, paranormal evenings + taunting the public. Joan’s remains were used for money + she eventually had her bones displayed in the witchcraft museum in Boscastle by Cecil Williamson. Cecil Williamson states that he acquired Joan’s bones from an antique dealer of sorts.

However, during Joan’s stay at the witchcraft museum, it was reported on many occasions by staff, visitors + Cecil himself, of paranormal activitity + hauntings, particularly poltergeist activity. Which Cecil attributed to Joan’s remains being there.

And even though this issues continued to happen, Cecil still kept the remains of Joan, on display for all to see.

It wasn’t until Graham King took over the Museum, that Joan Wytte’s body finally was laid to rest. In 1998, King and associates moved Joan’s skeleton to a sacred + secret burial site nearby but Joan’s memorial grave stone can be found in minster woods just off of minster church. Graham King felt that Joan deserved to finally rest in peace, he buried her with a bottle of brandy, loose tobacco + a clay pipe. This was with the help of a local wise woman, to find out what Joan truly wanted, she wanted peace.

I have to say that my trip to the museum of Witchcraft + Magic, was eye opening. Getting to see artifacts from many different walks of life, was an amazing opportunity. Boscastle it’s self is a lovely Cornish village, not only is the museum there but little shops to treat yourself with local products, second hand book shop with some fabulous finds and quaint eateries. However, I much enjoyed my walk along the river valency and wish I could have stayed longer than the hours I did.

There were some experiences from Boscastle that I will take away for myself and one experience that has left a mark on my memory! Let’s just say that the folkmagic of the past, is still very much ingrained into the soul of Boscastle Village.