Wookey Hole demand for return of Witch’s remains

From the Wookey Hole website – controversial?

NEW WOOKEY OWNER HAS BONES TO PICK WITH LOCAL MUSEUM Gerry Cottle, the circus magnate who purchased the famous West Country tourist attraction of Wookey Hole last Christmas, is reported to be considering his position after a local museum has refused to return an ancient human skeleton, previously discovered in his caves.The bones are believed to be those of the actual Witch of Wookey Hole, long a legend in the area, and blamed for every misfortune and illness which overcame the community in the Dark Ages. Her reign of terror ended over 1000 years ago, when a young monk turned her to stone with a well-aimed bucket of holy water. The skeleton, confirmed as that of an old female goatherd, who died in suspicious circumstances, was discovered in the early 20th century and removed by amateur archaeologist Herbert Balch. It is currently on display at the Wells & Mendip Museum, adjacent to Wells Cathedral. Mr Cottle, well-known as one of the world’s most charismatic circus promoters, has now swapped his Big Top for the gigantic cavern which attracts around 250,000 visitors a year. He wants the witches’ bones back in his own museum.”Naturally the bones of the Witch of Wookey Hole belong at Wookey Hole, not down the road at Wells” he said, “I have every respect for the museum, but ultimately we have a duty to the public to preserve our heritage and see that our witch comes home in the end.”The legal position, according to a museum spokesperson, is currently being investigated, and she declined further comment until the outcome is known. Mr Cottle, however, is adamant he’ll gain possession of the skeleton. “When I purchased Wookey Hole I bought the witch too. This year, next year, however long it takes, we’ll get her back in her cave, you’ll see.”

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