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Where the world finds our Pendle witches ...
12:30pm Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
AFTER 33 years of toil and trouble, Maureen Stopforth maintains that there’s still nothing she’d rather be doing than running Lancashire’s only dedicated witchcraft shop.
Maureen, owner of Witches Galore in Newchurch-in-Pendle, is currently in the middle of her busiest spell of the year.
But the former college technician said she fell into her unusual job by accident.
The shop, at the heart of Pendle’s witch-themed tourism industry, attracts hundreds of foreign visitors each year.
Maureen, 73, said: “Me and my husband at the time were looking for a vacant tea shop or a sub-postmasters.
“I had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the hair to Newchurch. I was born in Colne, lived in Nelson and worked at Burnley College.
“I thought if I moved here my life would stop and I’d die of boredom being away from the town and my family – now the world comes to us.
“We used to have a chart on the wall instead of a guestbook to detail our visitors – we had the word ‘witch’ written on it in 65 different languages.
“Americans in particular love it. They hear about the witches and then they discover how beautiful Lancashire is in general.”
Maureen, who is keen to emphasise that she is not a practicing witch, admitted she only vaguely knew the story of the Pendle Witch trials, which saw ten Lancashire people hanged in 1612.
Her shop sells an array of witches’ outfits and memoribilia, including books, jewellery, ornaments and plaques.
She said: “I don’t believe they were wicked, evil people. I think they were simple, country folk who needed to make money. They lived outside society with no means of support other than begging and selling potions.”
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