Best of the archive 3
Monday’s archiving revealed some interesting information about magical practitioners and their tools and charms.
Rebecca L. uncovered an enigmatic reference to ‘Baa Baa Williams’, the ‘Witch of Widdicombe’. Baa Baa was a sheep charmer and sheep doctor and operated around the fabled Wistman’s Wood (CWOLC 9317b).
Becca K. found lots of Cecil’s notes about the evil eye, whilst Anna uncovered some fleeting references to substances called ‘Godfreys Balm’ and ‘Mother Olivers Balm’.
Rachel W. found some funny things out about Cecil’s view of ‘young people’, ‘discos’ and the notion of viginity:
“Witches in this part of the world are close to, and work with Nature. To them, it is a world of Fairy Spirits. Spirits which are clean[,] pure[,] beautiful[,] gentle and kind.
So it is that such sensatives[?] set up small house Shrines to the spirit of VIRGINITY[,] YOUTH, BEAUTY AND Health for they find that quiet meditation Before these private and Personal House Shrines pays off in positive dividends. Which is not surprising when we now live in a world whether the word VIRGIN is regarded as a slur upon the person and something that one has to get rid of as fast as one can if one is to hold ones head up with your mates at the Disco. And the young or a large selection of them make it a cult thing to wear Rags and to appear in Public Dirty[,] unkept and smelling like a Buck Goat in season.”
Nick found out some new information about the Colonel Nasser curse (see below Object Number 637).
Rachel S. found out that some of our coins were once used by a wise woman called Joan Muir in 1904 for ‘curing madness in cattle’ and charming well water.
Julie found out a fascinating paper with written notes by Cecil on how he envisaged witchcraft and the purpose of a witchcraft museum (CWOLC 10150):
“In recent years the [news]papers the Telivision[sic] and Sound Radio have featured a whole mass of material of persons claiming to be witches
[indiscernable] out these so called & departing themselves in the manner shown here. They tell us that witchcraft is an old Religion of the mother goddess devolved to lore and fertility and that it is known as the Religion of the Wicca. On the statute Book recording the laws of England it is clearly set [out] as to what witchcraft is and which of its many acts activities were punishable by the Law of the Land. The activities of these 20th Century [ indiscernable] nude self-styled witches is a far is a far cry from the [ indiscernable] Persecuted witch of days gone by.
Owning a museum of witchcraft involves one in all manner of strange incidents. Such as this ill wishing curse sent to a person who turned to the museum for help in counteracting the spell.
Such discoveries as this cause people alarm and concern. The witchcraft museum was able to help uncover the person responsible.
From time to time discoveries are made of old magical notebooks and papers set[ing][sic] out witchcraft Rituals. These are thouroughly[sic] explored and each stage of the operation reenacted.”
Jeff hit a treasure trove of interesting stuff. First, CWOLC 10253 revealed that a charmer called Harry Meadows c. 1922 from Tetbury, Glos., had a trunk filled with interesting tools and charms. Perhaps Object 305, a mouse in jar charm, once belonged to Harry? In addition, Jeff discovered a card that may shed some light on this seed necklace:
“Native seed necklace used by Tommy Nicholls – Better known as Old Nick of Sissinghurst to call his spirit guide and to work his charms. It was said that he picked it up overseas when doing his service as a soldier.
Tommy Nicholls died 1916. Presented by him Mrs. PEARS. 1951.”
Great work chaps!