Meet the ‘spyrit’ familiar of an 18th century cunning woman

From Tuesday July 3rd to Thursday July 5th, visitors to the Museum will be able to something truly unusual.  This event will be taking place daily during Museum opening hours and is free to people who visit the Museum that day (no need to book, just pay normal admission and then visit the familiar in the Museum library).


A Housekeeping
Meet the ‘spyrit’ familiar of an 18th century cunning woman

Step into the home of Anne Latch, a Yorkshire ‘soilwarp’ or cunning woman, and meet her familiar spirit – a supernatural creature which, one summer’s day in 1758, Anne found living in a crack in the wall of her kitchen. As she came to observe and explore this strange visitor over the coming months, sitting cross-legged before its lair, Anne began to use its powers to practise some small acts of magic; curing ills, rooting out thieves and witches, and telling fortunes. Soon she was able to leave her job at the local cotton mill and set herself up as the ‘Wyfe of Nighthead’. The reputation of her and her companion spread to rich and poor alike and brought her fame, fortune and, eventually, ruin.

Author and computational artist Rob Sherman presents this digital installation work in collaboration with the Museum. Based on solid historical research, visitors will be able to interact with a virtual, artificially-intelligent version of Anne’s familiar ‘spyrit’, as well as reading Anne’s story in her own words and following her instructions to perform spells alongside her willing servant.

For more information, and to sign up for notifications about the project, visit the website:
May not be suitable for under 12s.

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