Almost every culture has some concept of the witch – a woman with seemingly otherworldly powers who operates outside of traditional patriarchal systems and lives life on her own terms. Witches have been both hated and revered throughout human history. They have been loved as skilled healers or feminist icons and feared as servants of the devil and practitioners of mysterious dark arts. The fascination that witches and witchcraft hold for many of us is undeniable. Whether you are a witchcraft enthusiast or are just fascinated by witches, paying a visit to some of these magical destinations could be an incredible adventure for you.
In this article, we will share with you a list of breathtaking magical destinations with a rich history of witchcraft or a thriving tradition of mystic healing.
5 Magical Destinations for Witchcraft Enthusiasts
#1: The Village of the Witches (Village of Triora, Liguria, Italy)
The first on our list of the 5 magical destinations, is the Village of the Witches in Italy.
The village of Triora in Italy’s Imperia province is known as the “Salem of Europe.” Why is this little village of fewer than 400 people referred to as the “village of the witches” (il paese delle streghe)? The reason is part of a cruel history that subjected countless women (and men) to unspeakable cruelties.
In 1587, following a devastating famine, villagers decided that local witches were to blame, having used their dark craft to taint the crops and livestock. Naturally, they were said to be in service to the devil. Over the next few years, around 200 women were accused of witchcraft in Triora and in the neighboring villages. Many of them were tortured, jailed, and murdered, and some committed suicide.
Historians now know that a terrible drought preceded these events creating a severe grain shortage. Ignorance, superstition, and lingering paganism made these women the perfect scapegoat.
With cobblestone streets and many of the medieval buildings still standing, this village near the French border looks pretty similar to how it did back then. Today, however, the few hundred residents eagerly embrace their magical roots. There is a witchcraft festival each summer and a Halloween celebration in the fall.
The Ethnographic and Witchcraft Museum is dedicated to witch hunt events and contains artifacts from the trials. You can also visit La Cabotina, a tiny stone cottage where the witches allegedly held their secret meetings. There are also several ghost tours available, where you can even see some of the alleged witches’ homes. Shops offer witchy souvenirs and tarot readings. Make sure you check out La Strega di Triora with its enchanting artisan foods, crafts, and potions.
#2: Mother Shipton’s Cave (North Yorkshire, England)
Ursula Sontheil, aka Mother Shipton, was England’s most famous prophetess. She was born to a young single mother in a cave near the River Nidd in Yorkshire in 1488. Though she was later taken in by a foster family, she returned to the area around her cave and taught herself to make natural remedies from herbs and flowers. At age 24, she married carpenter Toby Shipton, and they set up a home near Knaresborough.
Ursula Sontheil continued her herbal practices and also began telling fortunes which she was really good at. She attracted prominent clients and even royalty allegedly sought her counsel. Her visions and prophecies, written in rhyming couplets and first published 80 years after her death, are said to have foretold events including the Spanish Armada in 1588; the Great Plague of London in 1665; the city’s Great Fire one year later; and even the Internet.
Mother Shipton’s Cave and Petrifying Well has been a popular tourist attraction for centuries. Here you can hear stories about the woman who saw the future and the well that turns objects to stone.
#3: Tierra de Brujos (Catemaco, Mexico)
Alongside Catemaco’s beautiful waterfalls and untouched beaches, the main tourist attraction is their long history of sorcery. Within devoutly Catholic Mexico, Catemaco is where Christianity and magic collide. Megan Spurrell writes in Conde Nast Traveler: “Pentagrams decorate homes in which Catholic saints are revered, and churchgoers place faith in local sorcerers for problems no priest or doctor can solve. Once home to the Olmecs, the earliest known civilization in Mexico, much of the non-Catholic beliefs and practices can be traced back to these Indigenous roots. With time, the fusion of pre-Hispanic and Hispanic beliefs has evolved into esoteric religion of its own that modern-day Mexicans call ‘magic’.”
Catemaco is known throughout Mexico as a center for witchcraft and, to the dismay of some hard-core practitioners, magic has become a big tourist draw. The town holds an International Congress of Witches on the first Friday of every March. During the event, a black mass is held at the mouth of the cave where the devil supposedly loiters. An oversize six-pointed star is set alight. Believers flock to the town to have their auras cleansed. Lake Catemaco allegedly emits energy from which witches draw their power.
Witches’ markets sell potions and supplies. There are plenty of shamans and sorcerers, mystics and healers, who practice “white magic” in the open. They’ll happily assist you in any manner of readings, healings, or cleansing.
#4: Bell Witch House (Adams, Tennessee, the United States)
This tone has been called “America’s greatest ghost story”.
In 1804, John Bell built a house and started a farm on 1000 acres, located on the Red River in Robertson County, Tennessee. The Bell family enjoyed both social and financial success in the area, until 1817 when John encountered a strange half-rabbit/half-dog in his fields. From there, things started to go bump in the night, literally – mysterious sounds, rattling chains, etc. Eventually, an entity began pulling sheets of the children, and youngest daughter Betsy would wake up covered with bruises.
John told a neighbor and they started investigating the ghost. The entity told them that she was the spirit of the Bells’ neighbor Kate Batts, who had allegedly had a few bad business dealings with the Bells. She vowed to kill John and prevent Betsy’s upcoming marriage.
Stories about witch Kate spread far and wide attracting the curious. Gen. Andrew Jackson, who had served with three of the Bell sons, even come to check Kate out. Allegedly, the future U.S. president said: “I had rather face the entire British Army than to spend another night with the Bell Witch”.
Ghost Kate continues her torment until 1820 when John Bell died. His youngest daughter Betsy broke off her engagement soon after. And then Kate left, promising to return. Some believe that Kate’s spirit fled to the nearby cave on the property, others claim she never left.
#5: Marie Laveau’s Haunts (New Orleans, Loisiana, the United States)
Last but not least in our list of the 5 magical destinations is Marie Laveau’s Haunts.
New Orleans is for sure one of the most magical destinations in the U.S. This is the place where you can learn more about voodoo and discover the fascinating world of famed Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau.
Marie Laveau was a free woman of color. She was born in the French Quarter in 1801 and was raised primarily by her grandmother who taught her both the traditions of Catholicism and Voodoo. Laveau became a healer, a clairvoyant, and a herbalist. Despite segregation laws, people of all races participated in her famous public rituals full of dancing and singing in Congo Square. She had many clients from far and wide who sought her advice.
After she passed away in 1881, The New York Times obit said: “Besides knowing the secret healing qualities of the various herbs… [Laveau] was endowed with more than the usual share of common sense and her advice was really valuable and her penetrations remarkable. Adding to these qualities, she also had the gift of great beauty, no wonder she possessed a large influence… Lawyers, legislators, planters, merchants all came to pay their respect to her.”
Marie Laveau’s tomb in St. Louis Cemetary No.1 still attracts lots of tourists. It is actually the second most-visited grave in the United States after Elvis Presley’s at Graceland. Since 2015, however, it’s been closed to the public. But you can still sign up for the guided tours with access. You can also walk by her former house on 1020 St. Ann Street. Or, you can be interested in getting a psychic or a spiritual reading at Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo.