In a conversation with local witch historian Andrew Pickering, I discovered that the woman named Julian Cox, whose story had inspired my paper cut and ceremonial candle wax piece ‘Hare Woman‘, was actually rumoured to haunt Nunny Castle in Somerset. With this knowledge, it seemed inevitable that my next project would be a ghost hunt!.
On a bitterly cold, but bright November afternoon, I drove to Nunny Castle accompanied by two young women, who had agreed to be my models for the project now called ‘Witch Ghost Hunt‘. On arriving at Nunny car park, we unloaded the ceremonial clothing, candles, sage and other witchcraft ritual items (and very warm coats) which we had packed into the boot of the car at the start of our journey.
On approaching, the Castle was bathed in the beautiful, golden light of the winter sun and was breathtaking. I had decided that rather than trying to contact the ghost of Julian Cox, I would ask the models to perform a “Cleansing” ritual. In witchcraft and shamanic traditions, this ritual releases spirits who are trapped in a particular place.
In addition to performing the Cleansing ritual, I asked the models to dress in clothes that may represent the witch spirits that might be found at Nunny Castle.
The real magic happened, as the glowing sun gave way to the evening darkness, and the last of the visitors left the Castle. There were a couple of unsettling moments as the models performed the ritual. Although, in separate towers of the castle, both young women heard a hiss close to their ear while cleansing the towers with the smoke of burning White Sage. One model remarked, “I think we have pissed off the witch ghost!“. The atmosphere was both eerie and mystical at the same time.
Witnessing, the two young women move around the Castle interior, performing the Cleansing ritual, I wondered about Julian Cox; the women who supposedly had been born in Nunny and was accused of and put to death for witchcraft. I felt a sadness for what she had been made to endure, along with many other innocent women and men, put to death during the European witch hunt hysteria.