The Petrifying Well
It was once thought that witchcraft was at play in North Yorkshire. Here, not far from Knaresborough, a well that was said to turn objects to stone appeared to be doing the impossible. Mother Shipton — a much-feared local witch and oracle — was blamed for such sorcery. There are still some who think that not all is as it should be here, although science suggests otherwise.
Mother Shipton was associated with several tragic events having made it her business to predict certain horrors that she claimed would befall England’s Tudor reign. The Petrifying Well left local people terrified in the 1600s.
Items that came into contact with its waters, it was said, would turn to stone. It has since been discovered that the water’s high mineral content can have a petrifying effect. It doesn’t make for such a good story — but it’s a more likely explanation than witchcraft.
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