A pop-up version of a creepy Cornish museum is coming to London next month. Stephanie Hartman finds out everything you need to know
1. The museum was founded by a witchcraft obsessive
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic was created by supernatural enthusiast Cecil Williamson. He was apparently an actual witch who was rumoured to have used his occult expertise to help the British Intelligence Service investigate the Nazis during World War II.
2. It got kicked out of its original home in Stratford-upon-Avon
The museum’s artefacts have been moved around a lot. Its eerie doors first creaked open in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1951, but locals weren’t too happy about their town hosting the uncanny attraction, so Williamson moved it around the UK over the next decade before settling in the Cornish village of Boscastle in 1960, where it’s now home to the world’s biggest collection of witchy relics. Next month’s pop-up will be the first time you’ll be able to see the exhibits in London.
3. Now it’s taking over a curiosity-filled east London museum
The suitably oddball Viktor Wynd Museum in Hackney is hosting the exhibition. It’s a perfect pairing, as their permanent collection holds shrunken heads, skeletons, medical instruments, stuffed animals and much more in the way of the creepy and the occult.
4. There will be a lot of weird photographs…
The exhibition will showcase photographs of the artefacts that were originally snapped for the museum’s director Simon Costin and photographer Sara Hannant’s book ‘Of Shadows: 100 Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic’. Cast a lingering eye over images of a Romany fortune-telling cup and saucer, a ritual skull discovered at Williamson’s home after his death and an incredibly terrifying life-size goat-headed figure, which was installed when he opened the Boscastle museum in 1960.
5. …and bizarre objects to creep you out
The objects on display wouldn’t look out of place in Borgin and Burkes, the antiques shop in Harry Potter that brims with dark magic and sinister wizardry. Visitors will be able to get up close to a witch mirror, a waxen curse poppet (that’s a lifelike figure or doll, FYI), recipes for spells and charms, and artefacts from a dark magician’s altar. Be prepared to be properly spooked. Photos: Sara Hannant
The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is at The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History. Cambridge Heath Overground. Nov 3-Feb 29 2018. £8.
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