If you’re looking for a wickedly magical exhibit or witchcraft museum, I’ve got you covered! Witchcraft Museums are located all over the world, including the United States, England, Spain, and Iceland. Take an unexpected and intriguing tour of the world’s best witch trial, witchcraft museums and magical exhibits!
The terms witch and witchcraft have taken on new meaning in more recent years, but once it was considered a bad thing to be a witch and practice the craft. It was so bad that anyone who was labeled as such was typically tried, tortured, and even executed by burning or hanging. These were called Witch Trials and were particularly prevalent in Europe in the Medieval Times through the Early Modern Era. Sadly it’s estimated that at least sixty thousand people died because of the Witch Trials: women, men, AND children. And even animals!
Nowadays, most of us know better than to believe in supernatural creatures that fly on brooms at night, eating babies and tormenting innocents. Now we realize most of the folks accused and even killed were indeed “innocent” and likely took no part in malevolent “black” magic and Satanism. Many may have been practicing a form of folk magic, healing, or even clung to their old pagan beliefs. And now we have museums that honor the victims and also educate us on the fascinating world of folk magic.
The Witch House, located in Salem MA, is the last standing house with direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials. No, a witch did not live there, but Judge Jonathan Corwin did. Legend says he might have conducted private witch trials in his own home. When you visit The Witch House, be sure to have time to browse the intriguing witchcraft exhibit on the first floor including witch bottles, poppets, and all manner of creepy witchcraft items from Colonial times. There’s definitely an air of magic to the place, be it good or bad. And if you don’t enjoy witchcraft exhibits, you’ll most certainly enjoy the historical aspect. Side note: it was my favorite place in Salem to visit!
The Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall, UK is world-famous for its robust collection of witchcraft items from the past. The Museum of Witchcraft was established by Cecil Williamson, a friend of Gerald Gardner and pagan, in 1960 and today features over three thousand witchcraft objects and over seven thousand books. Visit between April and November for tours lasting between thirty minutes to an hour. Learn about past cunningfolk practices and folk magic, as well as ritual magic and more!
There was a big hub-bub last year when Cornell University in Ithaca, NY hosted a witchcraft exhibit known as The World Bewitch’d. Visitors to the Kroch Library had the pleasure of viewing a large exhibit of antique books and manuscripts on witch hunting, as well as more modern witchcraft paraphernalia like movie posters from the twentieth century. I am not sure if the exhibit is still open, as the website states it was available until August of 2018. I sure hope it is as it’s supposed to be the largest witchcraft exhibit in the United States holding over three thousand pieces.
Ever heard of Raymond Buckland? Buckland was a twentieth century male witch and occult author who was also known to be a friend of Gerald Gardner (Wicca’s founder). The Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft and Magick began as Buckland’s personal collection of artefacts in his NY home’s basement. It grew and grew and eventually Buckland opened a museum to display his witchcraft exhibit. The witchcraft museum has moved a few times but is now located at a permanent residence in Cleveland, OH and is run by new owners (Buckland died in 2017). The more intriguing items featured were once owned by famous occult names such as Sybil Leek, Aleister Crowley, and Anton Lavey. Hours are spotty so be sure to look up house of operation before traveling.
The Witch Trials happened almost all over Europe, and Spain was no exception. In Zugarramurdi, Spain is a witchcraft museum detailing the witch hunts of the sixteen hundreds in the village. You can also visit a nearby cave where the supposed rituals of the local witches took place. The Zugarramurdi Witch Museum is open on select dates September through December, so be sure to check the times before visiting.
A world-famous witchcraft museum is located in the village of Holmavik, Iceland. The museum houses an unique and sometimes chill-worthy display of witchcraft items including a pair of pants made of human skin! Apparently the exhibit tells the details on how to make oneself a pair of “necropants” which has supernatural money-drawing abilities. I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan to put a dead man’s skin on me just to have a couple extra bucks in my bank account. In addition to the grisly pants, there are old magical staves as well as frightening dolls. The owner is very knowledgeable and will explain the exhibits to you. This witchcraft museum is worth a go!
The Magicum Museum in Berlin, Germany has everything from witchcraft exhibits to parlor magic. Learn about the witch trials in Germany, as well as alchemy. This magic museum differs from the others in that it is interactive – it encourages its visitors to get involved with the exhibits including reading your own tarot cards! The museum is located in an artsy part of Berlin and they are open every day from 10am to 8pm, with special hours on holidays. Check their website for upcoming events and ticket information.
The Salem Witch Museum differs from The Witch House Museum with large displays of the historical events of the Salem Witch Trials. There are thirteen life-size displays based on actual historical documents from the trials. The museum takes about an hour to tour and is open daily except holidays. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this museum – some say it’s intriguing, others say it’s boring. While I was in Salem, the museum was closed…so although they say they’re open daily the hours may vary. It’s worth checking out on your next visit to Salem.
If you’re ever in Switzerland, namely Granichen, take some time to visit the witchcraft museum called Hexenmuseum Schweiz. I’ve heard it’s one of the best witchcraft museums in the world. Here’s an excerpt from the Hexenmuseum website: “You want to know what are lightning stones and dragon tongues, why the mistletoe helps against dizziness, black cats supposedly bring misfortune, where the magic word Abracadabra comes from and what exactly happened in the witch trials in the Middle Ages and early modern times?” Yes, please!
There seems to be no shortage of awesome witch museums in Salem, MA. And if you’re into life-size wax figures in the images of accused Salem witches, witch hunters, seafarers and other town officials, pay a visit to the Salem Wax Museum next time you’re in New England. On 288 Derby Street, Salem, MA.
Most of us hear the words Witch Trials and we automatically think of Salem. And for good reason. But the witch trials and burnings had already been going on for centuries long before Salem was ever an actual place. In Italy, the witch trials raged in the sixteenth century and now there’s a museum in Triora honoring the victims of the Triora Witch Trials that occurred in 1588. This museum is referred to as the Ethnohistoric Museum of Witchcraft. In fact, the town of Triora is known as the “Town of Witches” throughout Italy and the world because of its long history with stregheria.
Denmark was also no stranger to witch hunts in centuries past. According to scholars, at least a thousand people were tried and executed in Denmark. Which apparently was a lot of people since at the time since even today there’s only about a million people in Denmark’s population. The Witch Museum in Denmark displays torture devices (sadly) as well as talismans, amulets, poppets and more. And apparently the museum itself was once the home of a witch hunter from the time of the witch panic.
If you don’t mind a little gore or the macabre, there’s a museum in St. Augustine, Florida that boasts a large collection of Medieval torture devices. Many were used on witches to extract a confession or simply just to torment the accused. There’s a witch “dunking” device, a device used to put you on display in front of the entire town after being accused of witchcraft, and many other grisly reminders of our not-so-distant past. As a witch myself, I’m not sure I could actually visit this museum…but it’s worth a look if you don’t mind these kinds of things.
I don’t know how safe it is to visit the country of Russia these days, but perhaps once the war has ended and things have calmed down? There’s a replica of what would have been Baba Yaga’s house in the Tver region of Russia. The museum is complete with Baba Yaga herself who guides tourists around the property. If you don’t know who Baba Yaga is, she’s a folkloric witch figure in Slavic fairy tales dating back centuries. Her house is said to stand on chicken legs and she flies around in a mortar and pestle.
I’d like to put a lot of buzz words here but that would be too …September 15, 2023