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Museum of Witchcraft, BOSCASTLE

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Ontwaken Post number 24301 Posted: 7th March 2018     Subject: Artefacts from museum on loan at newlyn art gallery
‘Hummadruz’ is a new exhibition curated by Fieldnotes for Newlyn Art Gallery.

It will bring together important works by 20th century occult artists such as Ithell Colquhoun and Monica Sjöö alongside contemporary artists and magical objects. The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic has loaned a number of items for the exhibition, including objects used by West Country magical practitioners and ‘wise women’. Friend of the Museum and West Country witch Gemma Gary has also loaned items from her private collection for the show.

Hummadruz will run from:

03 MAR — 02 JUN 2018
Go to for more info.

http://museumofwitchcra ... art-gallery/
Ontwaken Post number 24326 Posted: 21st March 2018     Subject: The silent listener book launch
The Museum will be the venue for a book launch for “The Silent Listener: the Life and Works of JHW Eldermans” by Wilmar Taal on April 7th at 7.30pm.

This event is being hosted by our friends at Troy Books. Places are limited so if you want to attend, please email Jane at Troy Books:

A little about the book and author (copied from the website Troy Books):

The Richel-Eldermans collection is one of the most enigmatic sexual magic collections in the world, and can be found in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle, United Kingdom. The collection consists mainly of works by J. H. W. Eldermans, a former civil servant who lived in The Hague, The Netherlands. His skills are of an undeniable high quality, and his works are not only made on paper, but also in metal, wood and bone. Who was J. H. W. Eldermans, and why was he interested in sexual magic to a degree that borders on obsession? Was Eldermans acquainted with Cecil H. Williamson? Was he a member of an occult lodge called Ars Amatoria? Was J. H. W. Eldermans an unknown magister in the occult art?

The Silent Listener. The Life and Works of J. H. W. Eldermans answers these questions and shines a light upon the remarkable life and works of Johannes Hendrik Willem Eldermans, a fascinating man with an outstanding collection.

Wilmar Taal MA (1969) is a cultural historian specialized in sagas, myths and the occult sciences. He works at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, lives in Koog aan de Zaan, The Netherlands, with his wife, two daughters and two cats.

http://museumofwitchcra ... book-launch/
Ontwaken Post number 24365 Posted: 4th April 2018     Subject: Wea cornish folklore course in museum library
The WEA has been providing adult education courses since 1903. We are proud to host one of their courses in the Library here at the Museum.

The theme is Cornish folklore and culture, and it will run between the 19 April – 24 May 2018, 10.30 til 12.30.

The course is called Broadchurch to Superstition – Cornish folk-lore and culture, and will be run by Dr. Jo Mattingly.

Cornwall is well known for its folk customs like the Padstow Obby Oss, Helston Furry Day, St Columb Major hurling. Some living
customs go back to the medieval catholic ‘broad church’ days of St George and Robin Hood. Explore the origins and purpose of
Cornish folk-lore through themes of seasonality, rites of passage, protection against evil, social order and sense of place.

To enrol you need to go to the WEA’s website or ring them:

Quote the course reference C3529128 either online at or by ringing 0300 303 3464.

Course fee £44.00 (If you receive certain benefits you may be entitled to a free course).

http://museumofwitchcra ... eum-library/
Ontwaken Post number 24390 Posted: 10th April 2018     Subject: The silent listener book launch
Last week we had the book launch of the silent listener.
A Dutch newspaper picked it up and published this article.

It is in Dutch but at the end there is a little trailer in English. ... or-hekserij/
Morgana Post number 24391 Posted: 10th April 2018     Subject:
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Yes! and hopefully, we will be able to announce the details of the book launch in THE HAGUE... soon
Watch this space!
Ontwaken Post number 24415 Posted: 23rd April 2018     Subject: Witch play returns to the museum
We are delighted that WITCH will return to the Museum this summer. A couple of years ago, Tracey Norman researched and wrote this fantastic play which was performed in the Museum library. It has since gone on tour at different venues and been brought back by special request for university groups and will make a return to the Museum library for a limited run this summer. If you missed it the first time or a keen to watch again then you are in luck!

The play focuses on one witchcraft accusation in the early modern period. It involves the accused witch, the accuser and the judge. It is a tense and intriguing exploration of persecution and folk magic beliefs.

It will be performed on the following evenings, tickets are £10 per person:

Saturday 21st July

Wednesday 15th August

Saturday 8th September

To book a place, email Judith at the Museum (

For more details see:

http://museumofwitchcra ... -the-museum/
Ontwaken Post number 24429 Posted: 27th April 2018     Subject: Documentary filmed in the museum
It was lovely to see Alan and Sue from the Cornwall School of Mystery and Magick at the Museum on Monday. A documentary film maker was exploring their beliefs and practices and as part of the filming they visited the Museum. Alan and Sue were interviewed in the Museum library and then took a tour of the Museum. We look forward to seeing the documentary when it is completed: a copy will be donated to the Museum library.

http://museumofwitchcra ... -the-museum/
Ontwaken Post number 24468 Posted: 11th May 2018     Subject: Spells and charms booklet now available
Several years ago, the Museum team collected together a selection of spells and charms. They hand-wrote some and typed up others. They were then pinned in the lower gallery on one of the beams. They stayed there for many years and were recently removed during refurbishments of that area (they were getting a little tatty and dusty so it was best that they were removed).

The original spells and charms have been preserved in the Museum archive and they have also now been printed in a little booklet which is for sale in the Museum shop for £2. It is a great way to preserve this part of the Museum’s history and ensure that it reaches as wide an audience as possible.

The fifteen page booklet is full colour with twenty one spells for healing, love and protection (amongst other things). There are also four examples collected by Cecil Williamson, the founder of the Museum including one to protect yourself from ghosts and another on the art of “passing on” magic.

The booklet can also be purchased from the Museum’s online shop:
Ontwaken Post number 24506 Posted: 25th May 2018     Subject: Familiar shapes at the museum by heather freeman
We have been delighted to have Heather Freeman with us in the Museum for the past couple of weeks. Here she summarises her time at the Museums so far…

I’ve been at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic for about two weeks now, researching for the documentary Familiar Shapes, photographing objects in the collection relating to spirits and familiars, and using Boscastle as a home base when I conduct interviews at nearby universities later this month.
But I’m also using my time here as an ad-hoc artist residency. While I love working on narrative films, it’s very different creative process than when I make prints or drawings.

It was a stroke of good luck for me that my visit happened to overlap with the Museum’s 2018 Annual Conference Dew of Heaven: Objects of Ritual Magic. While all the panels were really quite fantastic, and my brain is still buzzing from the great information presented, I particularly enjoyed Judith Hewitt’s “in-between” talks, which built up a fascinating picture of Cecil Williamson’s interest in the work (and person) of Aleister Crowley. I won’t try to summarise, but I’m sorry I never met him. But it got me thinking about the Golden Dawn, Crowley, and what these ritual magic structures can offer to any creative practice (and if anything, witchcraft is a deeply creative practice.)

Inspired by the dynamic of Aleister Crowley’s influence on witches and magicians from various traditions and vantages, I’ve started a series of small watercolors and drawings based on Crowley’s Liber CLXXXV: Liber Astarte vel Liber Berylli – On uniting oneself to a Deity.

Crowley writes:
“Let the Philosophus prepare a powerful Invocation of the particular Deity according to his Ingenium. But let it consist of these several parts:
First, an Imprecation, as of a slave unto his Lord.
Second, an Oath, as of a vassal to his Liege.
Third, a Memorial, as of a child to his Parent.
Fourth, an Orison, as of a Priest unto his God.
Fifth, a Colloquy, as of a Brother with his Brother.
Sixth, a Conjuration, as to a Friend with his Friend.
Seventh, a Madrigal, as of a Lover to his Mistress.

And mark well that the first should be of awe, the second of fealty, the third of dependence, the fourth of adoration, the fifth of confidence, the sixth of comradeship, the seventh of passion. ”
Starting with the Imprecation on the first day, I focused my attention on that particular alignment to a deity (the Goddess of the Moon for this first set.) Each day, I work through the set so that each drawing is the result of a particular method of alignment. Next, I’ll go through this cycle for another seven days, aligning to The Horned God. Before each drawing, I write about this alignment (usually prose poetry, sometimes more prosy, sometimes more poesie) before I begin the drawing as an automatic action.

Full disclosure, I did a version of this process in Fall 2017, inspired by Ithell Calquhoun’s Decad of Intelligence. http://heatherdfreeman. ... 16-2017.html I’ll continue this current series through my stay at the Museum.
Bonus: And here’s my take on Ben the Familiar (below). He’s a pretty special fellow.

Thanks so much to Heather for writing this and sharing her beautiful artwork. We will keep you updated on the project as it progresses.

http://museumofwitchcra ... her-freeman/
Ontwaken Post number 24514 Posted: 27th May 2018     Subject: Cornwall air ambulance collects 2017 wishing well donations
We welcomed Ken from Cornwall Air Ambulance last week to collect the donations from our wishing well…

Visitors have dropped their wishing coins into our moon-faced well since April 2017, and this is the first time the proceeds – which all go to Cornwall Air Ambulance – have been collected. The well is fed by a natural cascade of water which runs down the hillside and also fills up the shrine in the Museum. A charm, taken from a traditional source and modified, can be said when dropping your coins in:

There were three bucketfuls of coins – we don’t know the total yet – and there is a wager on about how much has been collected…
Ontwaken Post number 24563 Posted: 14th June 2018     Subject: Museum represented at pagan federation international
It has been great to see the Museum making an appearance at the Pagan Federation International Summer Symposium in the Netherlands. The Museum was represented in two different ways: our leaflets were there and also Wilmar Taal gave a talk about the Richel-Elderman’s Collection. This Dutch collection is housed in the Museum.

Thanks so much to Wilmar for helping people in the Netherlands find out about the Museum and also thanks to Morgana and to Ben Verhaevert (trustee of the Friends of the Museum organisation) for all he has done to promote the Museum via the PFI. We are also very pleased that the PFI is a group member of the Friends of the Museum organisation.

The photos below were taken by Wilmar at the event.

Above: Wilmar’s book was available to buy at the Conference.

You can also buy it from our online shop:

http://museumofwitchcra ... ternational/
Morgana Post number 24567 Posted: 15th June 2018     Subject:
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Thanks Ben!
I really enjoyed the symposium. As an organiser you are never sure if everything will go well - or if people like the talks etc.

Judging by the reactions and compliments I think we can say it was successful.

Here is a report - in Dutch -

A couple of impressions

(Sabine Wong presenting her talk about Nature Spirits in Iceland)

Flame of Frith lead by Frigga Asraaf
Ontwaken Post number 24590 Posted: 20th June 2018     Subject: Our very own Gardner II
https://theblogofbaphom ... craft-magic/
Ontwaken Post number 24597 Posted: 25th June 2018     Subject: Generous donation of bracelets, hagstones and leather items
So many people do so many lovely things for the Museum and we can’t thank them enough for all the little ways that they contribute. Over the weekend, we received a box of goodies from Sarah Hartstone. She has made some beautiful waxed linen thread bracelets which incorporate gemstones and shells. She also sent us some hagstones for us to use in the shop (if anyone ever has any of these to spare please do drop them in – we always need them!) Sarah has also created some leather items with talismanic qualities which are really intriguing. We plan to sell these donations in the Museum shop.

Thank-you Sarah for your kindness – we promise to spend any money raised maintaining the Museum.

Thanks to Baxter Lawless for these photographs.

http://museumofwitchcra ... ather-items/
Ontwaken Post number 24631 Posted: 4th July 2018     Subject: Museum library is home to a ‘witch’s familiar’ this week
We are really pleased to have Rob Sherman’s innovative interactive project with us in the Museum library this week. Here Rob writes about his first day:

“There’s a cloying, candlelit darkness up in the Museum’s Library this week, made all the thicker by a very large, and very hot, computer merrily puntering away all day. Despite the heat, I’m delighted that many visitors have been drawn up the narrow stairs to see what is going on: enticed by the strange grunts, barks and guttural calls drifting down through the open windows.

For the middle three days of this week, a pilot version of my PhD project is visiting the Library, with free entry for anybody visiting the Museum’s main exhibits downstairs. The work consists of a digital interactive installation, an artificially-intelligent simulation of a familiar spirit: the supernatural animal companion of a fictional Yorkshire cunning woman. With this piece, I’m trying to understand how complex computer systems, used to create fictional characters in this way, combine with an audience’s own imaginative powers to create a personal, and sometimes very visceral, experience. The opportunity kindly afforded me here in Boscastle allows me to show off my work so far to a receptive audience, and see how they respond. There are some very interesting parallels to be drawn between such imaginative relationships with computer programs and the relationships that cunning folk had with the supernatural in earlier centuries: their own powerful imaginations interacting with the world around them to conjure devils, demons, witches and sprites from thin air.

The first day of the exhibition yesterday was a great success: nearly fifty visitors passed through, meeting the familiar spirit and attempting to commune with it in a variety of surprising ways. Using motion detection, emotion recognition and voice recognition, the spirit responds and reacts to the actions of the visitor: from a gentle stroke of its nose using a touchscreen, to an imperious command to ‘BEGONE! ’, banishing it into the darkness. One man sat in front of it and meditated, timing his breathing with that of the spirit. Some felt sorry for the creature, and spoke to it in hushed tones: others became annoyed when it refused to do what it was told. People ascribed all sorts of emotions, desires and thoughts to it: some of which were actually present in the underlying code, and many of which were entirely in their own minds, but none the less powerful for it. Some merely stood and watched, or read the fictional documents that I have written to help frame the life and times of Anne Latch, the cunning woman who originally discovered, and used, this little demon.

As with any pilot study for a piece of interactive art, there is no ‘wrong response’ to the work: every visitor is instrumental in pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. It’s a testament to the diversity of the museum’s visitors that the feedback has been so varied. I already have reams of notes, and spent most of the last hour of the day sat cross-legged in front of the creature myself, updating the underlying code to implement the tips, recommendations and critiques of visitors. I’m looking forward to seeing what today’s new batch of curious attendees will bring to bear.

The project is only in Boscastle until tomorrow, and today promises to be slightly cooler, with even a hint of rain. A perfect opportunity perhaps to come and meet the spirit for yourself, and bring your own imaginations to bear upon it. ”

These photos (taken with the permission of the visitors involved) show people interacting with the familiar.

http://museumofwitchcra ... r-this-week/
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