10 Things I loved about my Internship at the awesome Museum of Witchcraft and Magic by Edda Groeber
We were lucky enough to have Edda Groeber, an anthropology student from the University of Freiburg in Germany with us for a few months in autumn. She has written her ten favourite things about her time at the Museum. We really appreciated all her help and enjoyed having her with us – we hope to see her here again soon!
- The first thing I would like to mention are the people I got to know during my stay. The team which consists of Peter, Judith, Joyce, Hannah and Simon gave me an amazing time with mind provoking conversations and an impressive knowledge of the museum´s objects and history and Tom, the museum’s dog helped me with my homesickness of my own dog.
- Like you know the Museum itself is an experience you must have seen. For me it was very difficult to find something like a favourite object in the collection because the best part was to discover something new each time I walked through the exhibition.
- I hold myself back not to mention this point in the first place but the food at Claire´s The Harbour Light Café deserves a special place in this list. For this I have to tell you that I love food but since I am a vegan, it is pretty hard to find good food in a place like Boscastle. She and her team prepared a special menu for me for lunch each day.
- Let´s talk about Boscastle itself and its harbour. The very mild autumn allowed me to have a walk along the beautiful coast nearly every day which made my stay feel a little bit like holiday. Furthermore I was able to learn more about Boscastle, the coast and its history in Steve Patterson´s walk in which I took part at the second day of my stay. It was a perfect introduction to my work at the Museum. My favourite part were the stories about the sea witches and he said that the sea gives Boscastle its character which was pretty much my impression.
- I was able to take part at the Halloween Conference which was a day of talks at the Wellington Hotel. I really enjoyed each talk, but most I liked the one of Tommy Kuusela about the “year walk” which was totally new for me and therefore very thrilling. The “year walk” is a complex form of divination in Swedish folk tradition.
- I spend a lot of time cataloguing old label cards from Cecil Williamson which was quite an experience. I found a few which were really funny, just like this one: “That witchcraft is with us today is an established fact. It is a trade calling for a degree of secrety. Those who resort to its services are in desperate need and are prepared to place themselves at some risk and to pay the price demanded. It is never a case of cups of tea, a cosy chat and then a little bit of ritual before catching the last bus home.”
- But most I enjoyed the coffee breaks in the afternoon, not only because I am a lazy coffee loving person but also because this were the moments were the best conversations evolved. I had the opportunity to reflect my work and my readings.
- I read a lot of great books, especially of the ones of Gemma Gary and Steve Patterson were quite helpful to get into the topic. My favourite book for browsing during lunch break was “Witches” by Erica Jong and the one that helped me the most for my own little reseach project isn´t (yet?) in the library of the Musuem. I read a review about it in the Pagan Dawn Magazine and it is called “Burning Woman” by Lucy H. Pearce. She writes about the power of women that arises through the patriarchal society and describes the empowered women beyond the image of the victim. And if were are talking about favourites I have to name Remedias Varo she is an artist I got to know during a talk at the Friends of the Musuem AGM, who is now my absolute favourite surrealistic artist at all.
- Not my favourite, but one of the objects I liked the most is the “Horned God” not only because of its impressive appearance but also because I chose to describe him in my papers for university so I learned a lot about the changing presentation of this object itself during the last 60 years in the Museum. In addition I found different descriptions about his role in Paganism today which made him quite a mystic character for me.
- Last but not least there is the “Witch” Play of the Circle of Spears. They depicted outrageously well the situation of a woman during the witch trials period who was accused of practising witchcraft.