Student visit gets off to a great start

This morning, seven students arrived from New Jersey.  They are going to help us by doing some cataloguing of items in the Museum archive.

To start the day, they had a tour of the Museum (led by Simon and Peter).


Then they had a talk on the history of the Museum (led by Judith) and then they were introduced to the art of cataloguing by Peter.

Above: Peter introducing the archive.
Below: students looking studious (on the whole!)




Above: Tom found the brainwork exhausting.

The students made a start cataloguing some old notes about animals and their folklore made by Cecil Williamson, the founder of the Museum.  Here are some of the interesting things they found out today:
Killing a daddy long legs was considered to be bad luck when the harvest comes around.
It is thought that is you accept money from the Devil you will find a species of black horny beetles in the palm of your hand.  This beetle is a sign of corruption in Ireland.

One of the most interesting items was this document on crabs in Cecil's handwriting.



It was transcribed by one of the students, here it was it says:

In Manipur crabs in a pot of water can make rain. In New Caledonia a goddess in the form of a giant hand crab hates married people, and causes elephantiasis, little crabs are her messengers. She lives in a tree in a special grove, and offerings of food are hung on the tree for her. In Tahiti crabs are regarded as the shadows of local gods. The sea hermit-crab is god himself, and to eat him under the wrong circumstances causes swollen glands or even death. A Tahitian legendary hero once escaped from his pursuers on the back of a fresh-water crab Hence the fresh water crab is held to be the shadow of the god of fugitives. Bahama Negroes pour water from the claw of a crab into the earlobe to cure earache. The famous Gullah Jack the witch doctor man of the 1882 South Carolina Vesey Insurrection made himself and others invulnerable by means of a crabclaw held in the mouth. An old and universal belief has it that it is no good to go crabbing on a moonlight night that is the one time when crabs are "poor" i.e. not meaty.


Follow their progress this week - keep an eye on the blog.

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