4 - Witchquarters Of The World
In my researches for this book I wrote to the Witchquarters of The World in Castletown, on the Isle of Man. This island is in the Irish sea halfway between England and Northern Ireland. Once it was world famous for its tail-less Manx cats. Now The Witches Museum, containing the world's largest collection of artifacts dealing with witchcraft, sorcery, magic and necromancy ever assembled under one roof, has become the Isle of Man's chief tourist attraction. Here's the letter I received in answer to the one I wrote:
I am afraid you have got your addresses mixed up.
We run the Museum of Witchcraft (The Witches' Mill) on the Isle Of Man. We have the following out-of-print books available in limited numbers, all by the late Dr. Gerald B. Gardner.
High Magic's Aid $6.00
Witchcraft Today $6.00
The Meaning Of Witchcraft $12.00
The Witchcraft Research Association never really got off the ground. It was formed in London some years ago and appears now to be moribund.
The Pentagram, a magazine, is published privately and at regular intervals by: Gerard Noel 68 Grove End Gardens London, N.W. 8, England There are groups of witches throughout the U.S.A. but unfortunately there are groups of false witches also, with high sounding names which mean nothing. Any group claiming to worship Satan or the Devil etc., are not made up of witches nor are any of the groups affecting impressive robes, as true witches always work their rituals in the nude.
P.S. The Pentagram costs about $1.00 to $1.50 a copy but I haven't seen a copy for months.
THE WITCHES MILL
Castletown Isle Of Man, U.K."
The letter was handwritten in a decidedly backhand, leftward style, with many printed formations and frequent breaks in the words themselves, i.e., instead of the word "witchcraft" being written in one continuous movement it was mostly letter-spaced something like this "w i t ch c r af t." The slant towards the left, the past, indicates introversion, one preoccupied with tradition, and one deeply affected by childhood experiences. This is also an indication of protest ... the person who is innately a rebel against conventional thinking and is detached from the usual "accepted" views. Graphologically frequent breaks indicate the psychic: A highly intuitive quality, one who has hunches, depends upon the sixth sense, and is clairvoyant. The reserve and detachment indicate one who is not emotionally impulsive. This is important as many psychics who have this land of letter-separated handwriting but who write with a far forward slant tend to "jump to conclusions."
This witch is using a hazel wand which has been bewitched to attack a peasant. His injuries can only be cured by a spell that the witch herself must cast. This is the way she fills her purse.
Their emotions get mixed up with their intuitions and sometimes this may indicate a "break from reality." In this case C.C. Wilson is in perfect ... aloof ... self-possession. Another feature about this handwriting is the absence of unnecessary beginning and ending strokes: Such a person is direct, likes to get straight to the point, dislikes "beating around the bush."
A famous witch from the Isle of Man, who appeared on the Johnny Carson TV show in New York, and who has been written up many times, is Monique Wilson. Whether C.C. Wilson and Monique Wilson are one and the same, married or related, I don't know.
The Witches Mill is an ivy-covered deserted stone mill dating back to 1611. It stands high above the other weather-beaten, centuries-old stone buildings surrounding it. The mill is a circular building that looms up like some Middle Age silo. It was founded in 1950 by Dr. Gerald B. Gardner, an energetic, vital man in his seventies with a bushy head of white hair and a small pointed beard. Since deceased Dr. Gardner preferred to be called a witch instead of "wizard" because, as he said "that implies black magic." The museum itself is housed in a long low building that adjoins the mill. The first, floor of the museum is reached by climbing hand-made wooden stairs. The ground floor is now a restaurant and novelty shop where pictures and witchcraft books are sold.
In past interviews, and in his writings, the late Dr. Gardner has said: "True witchcraft is a religion, and we can trace it back to the Stone Age. In our 'welfare state' life has become too cut-and-dried. The revolt of the 'angry young men' is a reflection of popular frustration. Witchcraft offers people a badly needed escape from the monotony of daily existence."
One of the pictures that Dr. Gardner used to show visitors to the museum is a prehistoric painting from the cave of Trois Freres (Three Brothers) in France. It portrayed a man in deer skins wearing antlers. It is believed that this painting indicated a priest conducting a ritual to insure successful hunting. Dr. Gardner believed it was of the horned god. Because of this witches were accused of devil worship but Dr. Gardner denied this, explaining "One of our covens has a clay image of Ishtar over three thousand years old, which they keep in an ivory shrine.
In an interview Dr. Gardner gave to writer Daniel P. Mannix, and published in a past issue of True Magazine. He said: "By the use of certain incantations which the horned deity has revealed to his followers and which have come down to us through the ages, we have at our command almost unlimited power. For example, during the last war it was our spells that prevented Hitler from invading England, just as in 1588 the witches caused the storm that destroyed the Spanish Armada. Now that the British Isles are at the mercy of guided missiles, the need to develop this power is greater than ever."
In explaining the reason for nudity during witchcraft rituals Dr. Gardner said: "In the dance we generate an aura from our bodies which gives us power to work our incantations. Clothes interfere with the release of this aura."
On the first floor of the Witches Museum there is a room especially set up for ritual magic. Writer Daniel P. Mannix writes: "In it stands a life-sized wax dummy of a magician dressed in robes and peaked hat performing an incantation. Dr. Gardner posed as model for the figure. Around it are an altar and the magical paraphernalia used for invoking demons, a consecrated sword, a bell, four iron disks purified by fire, a wand made of witch hazel wood, candlesticks for burning mystic candles, incense burners for magical herbs, and a book of incantations dating from the early 17th century. On the floor is drawn the Great Circle of Protection, within which the magician must stand or run the risk of being destroyed by the very demons he is summoning."
Among the many artifacts exhibited at the Witches Mill are a witch's broom five feet long, the handle carved into a phallic symbol. It is over 250 years old. There is also a collection of crucibles, jars and bronze trays used by a 17th century witch who was burned at the stake. Also can be found knives with signs of the Kabbala inscribed on them, talismans of all kinds, and a large wooden box that when opened revealed vials, charms, talismans of all kinds, and a large wooden box that when opened revealed vials, charms, talismans, and knives. Underneath the box there is this inscription: "As a tribute to Aunt Agatha, one of our most outstanding witches, this collection of paraphernalia which she used is affectionately dedicated. Presented by her family in loving memory, 1951." Other cases contain magical rings, wands, bracelets, necklaces and amulets to ward off evil and protect the wearer against harm.
One of the most valuable pieces in the museum is a silver hand from Damascus inlaid with precious and semiprecious stones valued at $5000. It is used to protect oneself from the Evil Eye.
One case contains the instruments of torture used on witches including thumbscrews, long handled tongs to jab at the witches while burning at the stake, pincers which were heated red hot in fire, etc. There is also a painting depicting the last witch on the Isle of Man burned at the stake in 1617. (England itself burned witches till 1716). Under this painting a lamp is kept burning as a virgil to this witch-martyr.
Dr. Gardner said: "It wasn't until 1851 that the laws against witchcraft were finally changed." Then the law no longer recognized the existence of witchcraft ... but it did prohibit pretending to be a witch for the purposes of fraud or extortion or undue influence. Consequently, as late as 1944 a spiritualist medium named Helen Duncan was given 18 months in jail for 'practicing witchcraft.' The judge felt that she was causing trouble, and he used the old law to have her committed. Our coven protested the sentence and finally got the law removed from the stature books."
These two talismans symbolize grace, seduction and munificence. Their efficacy depended on the faith of those who wore them and thus many felt protected.
Writer Mannix concludes "One of the most interesting objects was a wax image into which a segment of communion wafer had been kneaded."
In The Black Art by Rollo Ahmed, he writes: "Mannanen, the son of the sea, who gave his name to the Isle of Man (formerly the Isle of Falgar), was also accorded homage that in some respects smacked of the black art There is a legend too, that the English sorcerer Merlin, who was himself enchanted by the Lady of the Lake, removed the Druid's Circle or Giant's Dance by magic means from Ireland to Stonehenge."
To Attract the Good Spirits