The history of mysticism and magical practice in East Anglia dates back thousands of years, and continues through to this day. It can be found in our landscapes, our traditions and our homes, and is an important aspect of the region's history and culture.
It is well known that East Anglia was home of Mathew Hopkins, otherwise known as the Witchfinder General. Less known is the fact that Essex was the county that executed the most witches in the UK.
You can find information about the witch hunts in lots of places across the region but most either gloss over the brutality involved, or focus on a small and specific element of the history relevant to that particular location. In particular, many focus solely on the role of the Witchfinder General and other men, with the (mostly) women who were tried, tortured and killed reduced to a mere number. This removes the victims from the narrative and we feel their voices deserve to be heard. These victims were persecuted not for their beliefs or any evidence of witchcraft but because of who they were. It is only by learning from the darker elements of our past such as these that we can avoid replicating our mistakes.
We also want to open people's eyes to the realities of every day magic and remove the 'spooky' stereotypes that people think they know. There is a long and rich culture of Wicca, Paganism, Druidry and other magical belief in East Anglia dating back millenia, and a thriving and varied contemporary witchcraft scene.
Our mission is:
To tell a story of the region’s history that is often overlooked.
To share the stories of those who perished in the witch hunts.
To be accessible.
To be thought provoking.
To be a platform for women’s voices.
HISTORY OF WITCHCRAFT IN EAST ANGLIA EXHIBITION
This crowdfunder is to fund the production of our first exhibition, 'A History of Witchcraft in East Anglia' which will cover a comprehensive narrative and range of themes:
- Map of East Anglia with sites of magical and historical interest marked
- Ancient magic and mysticism - the earliest stories of witchcraft from the region
- Puritanism, civil war and fear of magic
- The Witch Hunters and their techniques
- Victims of the Witch Hunts in East Anglia - who were they and why were they singled out
- Examples of witchcraft in local customs, superstitions, folklore & every day life.
- Protective magic - objects and enchantments to keep you safe
- Herbalism, healing and folk medicine
- Post tudor to 20th century - cunning folk and horse men
- Did the witch hunts really end or did they just change focus? What can we learn from them to promote greater tolerance and inclusivity?
- Witchcraft and wellness: crystal healing, smudging and tarot among practices that have gone mainstream among millennials.
- Has technology made witchcraft more accessible and how has this affected tradition?
- Highlight local practitioners and how/where visitors can learn more/get involved.
The story will initially be told through a mixture of text, imagery and film. Videos will be uploaded onto web and signposted in exhibition using QR codes or similar so that visitors can use their own devices to watch.
If possible (budget dependent) we would like to incorporate some simple interactive elements and non conservation items.
Our longer term goal is to secure a permanent home that includes a permanent exhibition and collection built upon this as well as a temporary exhibition space.
Anyone who donates £10 will receive a EAMW button badge and sticker.
If you donate £20 you will also receive a protective charm of a hag stone, collected from East Anglian beaches.
Donors who give £30 will be sent a gratitude spell comprising a specially chosen crystal, candle and incense.
All of those giving £50 and over will be invited to our exhibition opening party!
For £100 you will also be given a private tour of the exhibition.
Anyone donating over £300 will be named as benefactor on the exhibition outro panel and any relevant promotional materials.
- Joanna van der Hoeven
- Abbi Mitchell
- Darren Clarke
- Sue Madell
- Jo O'Reilly
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