A Spooky Weekend in Cornwall
Spooky Weekend in Cornwall: When I was little I loved anything that had the ability to spook me out. On family holidays I would insist on joining ghost tours and visiting haunted buildings, despite the fact that it would often keep me awake for nights afterward. One holiday that really sticks in my mind, for this reason, was our trip to Bodmin in Cornwall one summer, where the Beast of Bodmin Moor is said to roam the grounds. Cornwall is a fantastic destination for family weekend breaks, with some great hotels close to Bodmin Moor, so you can try and catch a glimpse of the legendary big cat yourselves.
The Cornish port town of Fowey on the south coast is a beautiful place to stay and is the perfect location for day trips into Bodmin, which is less than half an hour’s drive away. Here you will find Bodmin Jail, which was active from 1779 up until 1927. An attraction perhaps best left for older children, you can take a look around the cells and imagine life as a prisoner there (with help from the creepy mannequins lurking in the dark corners), and the jail boasts the only working execution pit in the UK. 60 people were hanged here over 150 years, most of them in public with crowds of spectators gathering to watch from the nearby hill. The jail also received a visit from the British TV program Most Haunted, who attempted to trace paranormal activity in the building. Family tickets for 2 adults and 3 children cost £25.
Bodmin Moor itself has a mystical aura about it, and it’s easy to see how legends surrounding the area have developed. There have been over 60 reported sightings of the Beast of Bodmin since 1983, a panther-like cat said to have been preying on local farm animals. The government conducted an investigation into the issue in 1995, but couldn’t find any evidence to support the theory that a big cat was on the loose. Days after this report a 14-year-old boy found a large cat skull floating in the River Fowey, which was later determined to have been part of an imported leopard-skin rug. Nevertheless, there are still those who believe that the creature is out there, and the discovery of puma prints thereby Newquay Zoo officials in 1997 has contributed to the speculation. The area is also famous for its association with Arthurian legend, and Dozmary Pool in the middle of the Moor is believed to be the home of the Lady of the Lake, from whom Arthur was handed Excalibur.
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40 minutes drive north of Bodmin the Museum of Witchcraft can be found in the picturesque fishing village of Boscastle. The museum was founded by the Neopagan witch Cecil Williamson in 1951, and it has the largest collection of witchcraft-related artifacts in the world, including charms, healing herbs, potion bottles and fortune-telling cups and saucers. Just my cup of tea, if you’ll excuse the pun.
Katherine likes to get a feel for the history of the places she visits and seeks out the bits which reveal something about the culture in different areas of the globe. She has traveled on four different continents and is looking forward to exploring the rest.