Popular Magic Café: Follow Up

Missed the Popular Magic Cafe? Never worry, you can watch the discussion on YouTube, HERE

There were so many fascinating questions, that Crystal and I decided to compile a reading list and a travelling list inspired by our conversation. Though we did take very different approaches to it: while Crystal presented a selection of rigorous academic texts, I was mostly motivated by the feeling of ‘Is this book fun? It sounds like it would be fun…’

Find both our lists below, as well as some fascinating locations for your post-COVID travel plans.

Crystal’s List:

Champion, M., 2015. Medieval Graffiti: The Lost Voices of England’s Churches. Ebury Press.

Easton, T., 2014. Portals of Protection. SPAB Winter, 53–57.

Easton, T., 2012. Burning Issues. SPAB 44–47.

French, K.L., 2001. The people of the parish: community life in a late medieval English diocese, The Middle Ages series. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pa.

Gardiner, M., 2007. Graffiti and their Use in Late Medieval England. Ruralia VI, 265–276.

Graves, C.P., 1989. Social space in the English medieval parish church. Econ. Soc. 18, 297–322.

Jones-Baker, D., 1993. English Mediaeval Graffiti and the Local Historian. Local Hist. 23, 4–19.

Marks, R., 2004. Image and devotion in late Medieval England. Sutton, Stroud.

Meeson, B., 2005. Ritual Marks and Graffiti Curiosities or Meaningful Symbols? Vernac. Archit. 36, 41–48.

Oliver, J., Neal, T. (Eds.), 2010. Wild signs: graffiti in archaeology and history, BAR international series. Archaeopress, Oxford.

Ovcharov, D., 1977. Ship Graffiti from Medieval Bulgaria. Int. J. Naut. Archaeol. Underw. Explor. 6, 59–61.

Pacey, A., 2007. Medieval architectural drawing: English craftsmen’s methods and their later persistence (c. 1200 – 1700). Tempus, Stroud.

Pritchard, V., 1967. English Medieval Graffiti. Cambridge University Press.


Anna’s List:

Various, 2019. Magic and Witchery in the Modern West: Celebrating the Twentieth Anniversary of ‘The Triumph of the Moon’, eds. Shai Feraro, Shai, Ethan Doyle White. Palgrave Macmillan.

Various, 2017. Cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, and Modern Paganism, ed. Kathryn Rountree. Palgrave Macmillan.

Various, ongoing. Folk Tales of Place. The History Press.[1]

Bailey, R. N., 1996. England’s Earliest Sculptors. Toronto.

Greenwood, S., 2005. The Nature of Magic. Routledge.

Hutton, R., 1996. The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. OUP.

Roud, S., 2004. A Pocket Guide to Superstition of the British Isles. Penguin.

Hellebore zine: https://helleborezine.bigcartel.com/

The Enquiring Eye journal: https://museumofwitchcraftandmagic.co.uk/the-enquiring-eye-of-the-witchcraft-research-centre/

[1] This is a multi-volume project. Folk Tales are grouped by county or geographic location.



Bunhill Fields, London



Crossbones Graveyard, London



St Vedast alias Foster, London



St Margaret of Antioch Cowlinge, Suffolk



St Clements, Rodel, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides



Minster Church of St Mary, Stow in Lindsey, Lincolnshire



Doon Hill, Aberfoyle



Bradford on Avon Barn, Bradford-on-Avon



Exeter Cathedral, Exeter, Devon



Tarr Steps, Exmoor National Park, Somerset



Minster Church, Boscastle, Cornwall



Men-an-Tol, Penzance, Cornwall


A (somewhat belated) look at the 2nd Issue of Hellebore.

Hellebore is a folk horror and occult zine, whose editor Maria J. Pérez Cuervo and art wizard Nathaniel Winter-Hébert compile tantalising morsels for a wide but discerning audience. Contributions include short academic discussions, personal curios and art pieces. The zine is stunning and, with just two issues out so far, establishes a strong visual identity.

This second issue, aptly released on Beltane, May 1st, is devoted to Wild Gods. Maria writes in the editorial: ‘I wanted it to focus on rites of fertility, divine ecstasy, and ritual madness. But The Wild Gods Issue took on a life of its own. You’ll find themes of rebellion, opposition, and self-discovery, for these are the things that The Wild Gods embody.’ And these are, perhaps, the things that we as readers need in these uncertain times. Contributors include: Joe Gough, Occult Part and Richard Wells for art, and Melissa Edmundson, Ruth Heholt, K. A. Laity, Alan Moore, John Reppion, Katy Soar and yours truly for words.

The pieces in the Issue range from the epicurean worship of Pan in the Buckinghamshire countryside to the ride of the Wild Hunt in Norfolk, but what struck me most acutely was the sheer presence of all the pieces, their rootedness in the physical and emotional landscape of folklore and faith. All contributors offer accessible, but rigorously informed accounts of Wild Gods in their various forms, that are, to a one, a pleasure to read. On a personal note, Hellebore ticks a crucial box – consistent footnotes – which shows it is not a casual publication.

Behind the scenes, the process of submission is clear and straightforward. Working with Maria on edits to my piece was a true collaborative effort, with the final product being delightfully augmented by the sensitively-chosen visual material. The piece on the Sorcerer of Trois-Frères, that had me yowling at French archaeological field reports in the writing, was transformed into a coherent and engaging narrative.

You can support Hellebore and its contributors by buying the zine: helleborezine.bigcartel.com
or following it on social media: @heleborezine

Event Calendar 2020

A list of conferences and talks that may be of interest.
Feel free to email the magic@exeter.ac.uk list if you have an event that is not on the list.

December 2019

17th-18th- London Institute of Ismaili Studies, “Esoteric Cultures of Scripture: https://iis.ac.uk/sites/default/files/esoteric_cultures_of_scripture_0.pdf

21st-31st – Boscastle – Museum of Witchcraft and Magic winter opening dates – 10.30 – 16.30

January 2020

2nd-3rd -Boscastle – Museum of Witchcraft and Magic winter opening dates – 10.30 – 16.30

February 2020

2nd and 9th– Ashburton Arts Centre- Magical Deceptions- 6:30-8:30


3rd and 17th: “Magic in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim East: ongoing research and case studies,” Institut d’études de l’Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman: https://djinns.hypotheses.org/1314?fbclid=IwAR1CiRS1p_5TEz9Nualprs_OxQST7IGG2XwAl9rZrft0_Eo8b3Df4S5Qv-4

March 2020

1-3- l’Université Hébraïque de Jérusalem – Magic in Late Antiquity : Objects, Texts and Contexts (colloque)CFP and details

6th – University of Worcester, Worcester – Enchanted Environments SymposiumCFP and details

12th-13th – University of York, York – Threshold, Boundary, and Crossover in FantasyCFP and details

27th – Open University, Milton Keynes – Mind, Body, Magic: Sensory And Emotional Approaches To Magic In The Roman World program: https://www.openmaterialreligion.org/events-1/2020/magic –

27th-29th– University of South Carolina– “Islamic Occult Studies on the Rise”

April 2020

20th: “Magic in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim East: ongoing research and case studies,” Institut d’études de l’Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman: https://djinns.hypotheses.org/1314?fbclid=IwAR1CiRS1p_5TEz9Nualprs_OxQST7IGG2XwAl9rZrft0_Eo8b3Df4S5Qv-4

May 2020

4th: “Magic in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim East: ongoing research and case studies,” Institut d’études de l’Islam et des sociétés du monde musulman: https://djinns.hypotheses.org/1314?fbclid=IwAR1CiRS1p_5TEz9Nualprs_OxQST7IGG2XwAl9rZrft0_Eo8b3Df4S5Qv-4

June 2020

6th-7th – London – Magickal Women Conferencedetails

20th- Women and Witchcraft: part of the Vixen Torre Festival. Contact the following address for further information: thefolklorepodcast@gmail.com

26th- Art of Deception: Performance Magic, Literature and Culture. Portsmouth University. CFP and details: https://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/cfp/2020/01/16/art-of-deception-performance-magic-literature-and-culture

July 2020

30th-31st – Leeds Beckett University, Leeds – Folk horror, folklore and fantasy, enchanted environments, literature and scienceCFP and details

August 2020

23rd-29th – University of Otago (NZ) – Esotericism in a global context – CFP and details

September 2020

6th – Exeter Corn Exchange, Exeter – Magic, Witchcraft and the Mysteriesdetails

October 2020

29-31- Sofia, Bulgaria IEFSEM- “Between the Worlds: Magic, Miracles and Mysticism” details

The Equinox Colloquium at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic


Over the past couple of years, the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic has been devoting attention to the academic study of magic and the occult, most visible in the launch of their Journal, The Enquiring Eye, with the goal to revive the Witchcraft Research Centre that its founder, Cecil Williamson, envisioned the Museum to be.

This September has seen the launch of the Equinox Colloquium, the Museum’s second conference, now accompanying the Annual Conference in Spring.

As the title suggests, the Colloquium covered the Autumnal Equinox (handily falling on the weekend between of the 19th to the 22nd) with research papers, two dramatic performances and a folklore walk. It was a cosy affair and what it lacked in numbers it made up amply in enthusiasm. Speakers from across the UK and from as far afield as California and Queensland have presented on the topic of Accusations and Persecution.

(click image for programme)


The Colloquium coincided with the start of the Banned Books Week, and was chosen by the American Library Association as one of the featured events on their website. To highlight the importance of freedom of speech and the long term stigma associated with books of magic, the Museum staff have created a reading list from banned esoteric texts and invited speakers at the Colloquium to read some excerpts. These readings will be available on the Museum website, released daily during the week.

This series of readings, titled ‘Banned Books at Bedtime’, starts with the talk by Dr Thomas Waters, the keynote speaker at the Colloquium. His presentation of the history of cursed books highlights the worrying shift from historical book curses being employed to protect the texts against theft and misuse to the modern understanding of ‘cursed books’ as a label leading to censure.

On the topic of books, the Colloquium provided the platform for the launch of Dr Waters’ book, Cursed Britain, which he touches upon in his presentation. Furthermore, the event hosted a comprehensive range of texts from Troy Books, a publisher chiefly involved with esoteric and folklore material.

The mix of academic research, dramatic narration of the experience of the accusers and accused (one of the plays explored the Pendle Witches case), involved discussion in the cosy Long Bar and bracing walks along the Boscastle cliffs have made the conference a memorable affair and, hopefully, a staple fixture in the Museum’s calendar.