A museum in Bristol is putting on a show called 'Do you believe in magic?' which, should you answer in the negative, will do its very best to change your mind...
From Ancient Egyptian artefacts, charm walls and a witch’s altar to amulets carried by First World War soldiers, ‘Do you believe in magic?’ — an exhibition at the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery — explores our belief in gods, ancestors and both healing and harmful magic.
Some 200 objects, including paintings, plants, clothing and figurines, have been selected from the museum’s collections to show how witchcraft and the supernatural have overlapped with both science and religion for centuries.
One spooky example is ‘Little Mannie’, a west African sculpture found in a cellar in Derbyshire in the 1970s. ‘You may scoff,’ says Prof A. J. N. W. Prag, former keeper of archaeology at Manchester Museum, which owns the sculpture, ‘but even now, no one in the museum really wants to handle him’.
This is down to the unexplained situations that people who come into contact with the figure find themselves in — car and bicycle accidents, even trousers suddenly falling down.
‘The more we investigate our world, the more questions arise,’ adds Bristol’s deputy mayor Craig Cheney, mysteriously.
The exhibition runs until April 29, 2020 — visit www.bristolmuseums.org.uk for more details.