Museum of Magic and Witchcraft
Founded in 1951 by Cecil H. Williamson as the Folklore
Center of Superstition and Witchcraft at the Witches Mill,
Castletown, Isle of Man, Great Britain. It contained witchcraft
relics, as well as reconstructed scenes of occult rituals and instruments.
Gerald B. Gardner (1884–1964), who developed
modern Wicca, the neo-Pagan form of witchcraft, presided at
the opening ceremony. In 1952 Gardner purchased the museum
from Williamson. In the late 1950s as Gardner’s health
failed, Scottish witch Monique Wilson (witch name ‘‘Lady
Olwyn’’) and her husband Campbell Wilson, both Gardner initiates,
began to administer the Museum’s affairs. They inherited
the museum and Gardner’s papers after Gardner’s death in
1964.
In 1971 Ripley’s International purchased the museum and
brought its contents to the United States. The company created
a Museum of Witchcraft and Magic at Fisherman’s Wharf, San
Francisco, California, and another at Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Some of the collection was sold and various items distributed
to the several Ripley’s museums now located in various cities.
Sources
Kelly, Aidan A. Crafting the Art of Magic A History of Modern
Witchcraft, 1939–1964. St. Paul Llewellyn Publications, 1991.