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March 2020: West Norfolk

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The Witch of Wookey Hole, Somerset

Wookey Hole has been used, according to archaeologists, for at least 50,000 years. It is tempting to wonder if back when it was first used the cave dwellers told stories similar to the one that seems to feature in every guidebook and advert about the famous caverns. Sleep well little Ug.
There is a stalagmite in Wookey Hole that undoubtedly bears a resemblance to a woman, though it takes a bit of imagination to go from there to hideous witch. Other rock features around it can likewise be turned into familiars and belongings with a trick of the light and a bit of mental effort.
The story goes that this stalagmite is what remains of a wicked witch turned to stone for her evildoing. The tale varies with the teller, but the core of the thing is that she cursed a pair of lovers to ensure their romance failed. The boy instead of marrying thus took the cloth, and became a monk at Glastonbury (or in some versions Oxford ). Eventually the locals send for help to stop the hag’s evil ways, and the monk, by now an expert in the field, arrives. Sent alone to the cave by the cowardly villagers he confronts the woman, and a battle of epic proportions takes place until with his Latin verses, rosary and – the killer blow – his use of water found in the cave which he makes holy water with his prayers, he triumphs. The hag is turned to stone forever.

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