From the Museum archive

Our visiting students have played detective today and made lots of connections between old Museum information cards written by the Museum's founder Cecil Williamson and objects which are still on display today.  They each picked an interesting thing to share with the readers of our blog - here are some of today's discoveries...

Record Number 8454 was catalogued by Steven.  It describes a brass knife used by witches.  Stephen said "What makes it so cool is that in the text Cecil writes that the knife was a tool for killing but the word killing is crossed out with different ink."  This card is pictured below with the different drafts clearly visible.

Record Number 7324 "A text on the Doll of Death" was catalogued by Isabelle.  It is a fascinating account and is copied in full below.

THE DOLL OF DEATH The making of juju idols or figures is not the prerogative of the native races of Africa and Asia. The people of Europe have their own traditions and skills in this field of the magical arts. This attractive doll, fabricated in the form of a night-club show girl hostess is an ill wishing doll created for the express purpose of bringing retribution to those who caused her untimely death in appalling circumstances. The details are too long to set out here other than to state that a young woman died. Her mother, a French woman born and bred in the town of Clermont-Ferrand situated in the Puy-De-Dome, a district steeped in the old traditions of witchcraft, sought the services of a witch woman lying in nearby Royat. The outcome of their meeting was strange, frightening and bizarre. This doll, modeled and dressed in a copy of the working clothes of the murdered hostess was charged with an evil spirit and commanded to seek out and kill those responsible for her death. What followed was beyond belief, with death befalling four people. Although all this took place in the mid 1920's, some of those involved are still living and wish to remain anonymous. The doll came to this collection because its owners were disturbed by unnerving incidents which over the years they came to associate with this death dolls. As every occultist knows, when such jujus are made the makers charge that whosoever destroys the figure shall himself be destroyed. It is all part of the magic compact made with the captive spirit force bound to the figure.

Sami catalogued Document Number 7649 which talks about a Chinese sorcerer's holed stone charm for fishermen.  Made to ensure a good catch of fish.  "I would really like to know what it looked like" Sami said.

Heather said, "The most interesting thing I found today is now catalogued as Document Number 8040.  It discusses coins used for making silver water - coins that could very well still be in the Museum!"

The students have been quite successful in matching up old cards with objects which are still on display in the Museum today.  Some truly excellent research has been done so far.  More from the archive tomorrow...

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