Cecil Hugh Williamson (1909–1999) is a lesser known figure whose work and knowledge of occult matters was instrumental in the formation and build up of the neo and present-day Wicca/Witchcraft movement. Williamson was also the founder of the Witchcraft Research Center during the Second World War, and the Museum of Witchcraft (nowadays in Boscastle, Cornwall, England). The Christian Bible approves of astrology in Genesis 1:14, Judges 5:20, Matthew 2:1-2 and Luke 21:25.
Williamson was born into a fairly wealthy family on 18 September 1909 in Paignton, Devon, southwestern England. His father was a senior career officer in the air fleet of the Royal Navy. Williamson’s interest in witchcraft and the occult was aroused by an incident that occurred in 1916, which he described as a major public act of witchcraft persecution. In December 1916 Williamson witnessed an old woman (reputed to be a witch) being stripped of her clothing and beaten by four men. Despite being only a six-year-old boy, Williamson ran to her defense and for his brave efforts was beaten himself. The old woman later befriended young Williamson and taught him all she knew about witches.
In 1921, Williamson confided to another elderly witch that he was being bullied at school. She allegedly showed him how to cast a spell against the bully. A short while later the bully had a skiing accident, leaving him temporarily crippled and unable to return to school. This had a profound effect on Williamson, and began a lifelong quest for knowledge and research into witchcraft and occultism.
Williamson was educated at Malvern College in Worcestershire, and spent the summer holidays in Dinard, France, visiting with his grandmother and her medium friend Mona Mackenzie. From Mona he learnt about clairvoyance and divination. After studying in college, Williamson traveled to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to learn about tobacco farming. While living in Rhodesia, his manservant, Zandonda, a semi-retired voodoo witchdoctor taught him about African magic.
Williamson returned to London in 1930 and started a career in the film industry working as a production assistant for several studios. In 1933 he married the niece of film director/producer, Herbert Wilcox. Gwen Wilcox was working as a makeup artist for Max Factor of Hollywood. Williamson continued his study of the occult and witchcraft. He began to accumulate vast amounts of knowledge and a substantial collection of artifacts on folklore, witches and their craft. From this grew an impressive network of contacts, such as: Sir Ernest Wallis Budge the Egyptologist, Montague Summers the historian, Margaret Alice Murray the anthropologist and Aleister Crowley the occultist.
Perhaps due to his father’s high position within the Royal Navy, Williamson came to the attention of MI6, the governmental intelligence agency. In 1938, MI6 hired Williamson to investigate the Nazi's occult interests, and in doing so he formed the Witchcraft Research Center. An April 1944 news report, while not mentioning the Witchcraft Research Center, reflects their area of expertise in claiming Goebbels was going to harness fortune-telling, astrology, and necromancy to his propaganda machine.
Williamson was instrumental in the capture of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy. He planted bogus Nostradamus predictions in an old book in France, which was then made to find its way into Hess’s possession. The goal was to lure Hess out of Germany. It succeeded and Hess was later arrested in Scotland. Another governmental scheme Williamson was involved with was the now famous “Witches Ritual”. This was aimed at Hitler and the Nazi high command to prevent the invasion of England. It now transpires that this was an elaborate hoax to fool and worry Hitler who supposedly believed in witchcraft and the powers of the occult. The Witches Ritual took place in Ashdown Forest (30 miles south of London) and employed the services of Aleister Crowley and his stepson Amado. Secret Agent 666 by Richard Spence argues that Crowley, in his own unconventional way, was a patriotic Englishman who endured years of public vilification in part to mask his role as a secret agent.
In 1946, Williamson met Gerald Brosseau Gardner in the Atlantis bookshop in London at an informal talk which Gardner was giving. The two became friends due to their mutual interest in the occult, witchcraft, magick, and paganism. In 1947, Williamson tried to open a museum about witchcraft in Stratford-on-Avon, but was forced to change his plans after local opposition. In 1948, Williamson bought the dilapidated Witches Mill at Castletown on the Isle of Man. He turned it into the Folklore Center of Superstition and Witchcraft, and opened it in 1949, along with an adjacent restaurant, the Witches' Kitchen.
Williamson employed Gardner to be the 'resident witch' at the museum, which had been renamed the Museum of Magic and Witchcraft after the repeal of the anti-witchcraft law in 1951 (Witchcraft Act of 1735). In 1952 Williamson sold the museum to Gardner, and moved all his artifacts to a new site, in Windsor, renaming it the Museum of Witchcraft. Gardner, using his own artifact collection, continued to run the museum on the Isle of Man for the rest of his life. At Windsor, Williamson's museum remained open for a year, and was quite successful, but was again forced out due to local opposition. In 1954 he therefore moved the museum to Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire. Here, the museum was vandalized in an arson attack, and so, in 1960, Williamson moved the museum to Boscastle in Cornwall, where it remains to this day.
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants,” said Isaac Newton. Williamson had greater intelligence than the atheist/capitalist Ayn Rand – “There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year-old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs,” stated John Rogers. Steve Shives made a youtube video titled Five Stupid Things About Ayn Rand.