I have fond memories of my first visit to the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in 1996. I had not visited a venue related to the Occult before and was a little apprehensive but excited at the same time.
Museum of Witchcraft 1998
The Museum altered dramatically when Graham King took over as the new owner. On my next visit in 1998, the energy and display within was in complete contrast to what was there before. As I walked around the Museum reading the information about the artefacts, I was enchanted by the haunting repetition of the chants soundtrack.
As I neared Joan’s cottage, it evoked the same feeling as if one was approaching a real Wise Woman’s abode. The sound of the voice from within increased in volume as I turned the corner at the end of the corridor. It had a deep disconcerting tone…… a voice from someone not easily approachable, however in dire circumstances one would summon the courage to seek help. This was the voice of should you upset them.
I stood in the doorway listening carefully as I observed the cottage, the hearth and the real cats ‘stuffed’ by a taxidermist. There was an energy surrounding these animals as though their spirits were nearby. If you observe Joan long enough you can almost see her move as her fixed gaze remains on the crystal ball in front of her. I stood there contemplating what it would be like to live in a cottage like this and how an elderly woman would survive the winter months, whether she would manage to attract sufficient work in order to live comfortably.
Before I left the Museum I inquired about the soundtrack and purchased one of the first cassette tapes from the retail outlet. I listened to this tape frequently on returning home and thought about the woman who recorded the spells and charms. I had not met Cassandra at this time and her voice sounded older than her actual age, (the sign of a good actress). I could also tell she was a smoker which was reminiscent of the image of Granny Boswell puffing on her pipe!
Little did I know what life had in store for me over the following 21 years!
So here I am, living in Cassandra’s cottage, the inspiration for Joan’s cottage at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. I have been taught by the Wise Woman whose voice I first heard on theoriginal recording for the past ten years…… the ‘powers that be’ have taken me on an amazing, unexpected and testing journey.
Last evening Cassandra and I produced the following video footage of her working by the hearth, while listening to the original soundtrack for Joan’s cottage at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. We have heard that many miss the original recording, so we thought it would evoke wonderful memories for them. It certainly does for me! Enjoy!
I recently received this message from someone:
“Hi, sorry for the random message but I wanted to reach out to say thank you to you and Cassandra. I’ve been going to Boscastle for years and was a friend of Graham, and even donated a sea object back to the museum back in 2004. It was part of the original collection on the Isle of Man which was later sold. Anyway, I wanted to say thank you because I recently bought Joan’s Spells CD from the museum shop expecting to hear the original recording by Cassandra, and was really disappointed when it wasn’t. Then I found the video of original soundtrack you made on YouTube it brought back so many magical memories, as well as the voice fitting the installation, which for me the new one doesn’t. Thank you for keeping the magic alive. Blessings to you both x” V.B.
To read Cassandra’s explanation of the Museum soundtrack for Joan’s Cottage go to her article Needs Must When The Devil Drives.