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Visit "Mother Shipton’s Cave” Where Bewitched Waters Turn Things to Stone

There is so much to experience there.

Mother Shipton, a Tudor-era witch from the north of England, seemed to live a pretty decent life for a witch of that time period. Though born in a cave to an unwed teenage mother, and said to have suffered several physical deformities, she married, lived a nice, long life, and died of natural causes welling her seventies, long after, apparently, predicting a variety of events in the life of the country and the world. Today, the cave that popular local legend maintains was her home base is still a tourist attraction in Knaresborough, not only due to its place in history, but also because of its astounding properties: the waters that emanate from this spring can turn things into stone. 

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In Shipton’s time, she made her living as an herbalist, and, as her prophecies became more widely known, with other magical acts as well. Most famous to this day remains the “petrifying well.” Even now, those who run the park dip items like teddy bears and other souvenirs in the well, allow it to work its magic, and then sell the results in the gift shop. The shop is also home to many items that have been donated by celebrities for petrification, including a shoe that once belonged to Queen Mary. (They say it takes about three months to petrify a teddy.)

As for Shipton herself, she remains one of England’s most well-known sorceresses, with an immortal life in the pantomime, a moth named for her, and plenty of statues and veneration by local fortune tellers. 

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