The Nightmare is an oil painting by Henry Fuseli, depicting an ape-like incubus crouching on a sleeping woman. It was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1782.
The Crystal Ball is an oil painting in the Pre-Raphaelite style by John William Waterhouse (1849–1917). The iconography of the skull in the background so disturbed one owner that he had the skull on the table painted over.
Lilias Adie was an elderly Scottish woman from Torryburn in Fife who confessed to the accusations of witchcraft levelled against her in 1704. Uniquely for a Scottish witch she was buried on the shoreline close to the village where she had lived, covered by a stone slab to prevent her rising from the dead.
Janet Boyman was a Scottish woman executed for witchcraft and associating with fairies. Her court records may indicate a cult-like group of nature spirits, the seely wights, being active in Scotland at that time.
The Angels of Mons were reported to be the saviours of the British Expeditionary Force at the Battle Of Mons in 1914, perhaps a host of ghostly archers led by St George, who unleashed a deadly salvo of arrows at the opposing Germans. Or, perhaps more likely, the first urban myth.
The Manchester Mark 1, developed at the Victoria University of Manchester in 1948–1949, was the prototype for the world’s first commercially available modern computer, the Ferranti Mark 1.
Humpty Dumpty is one of the best-known English nursery rhymes. Almost certainly intended as a riddle – and one to which everyone today knows the answer is “egg” – it first appeared in print in Samuel Arnold’s Juvenile Amusements (1797).
The Sunbeam Tiger is a high-performance V8-engined version of the British Rootes Group’s Sunbeam Alpine roadster, designed in part by the American car designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby, and produced from 1964 until 1967.
John William Waterhouse painted three different versions of Ophelia, a character from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, of which this is the final one, produced in 1910. The previous two versions show Ophelia in her adolescence, but here she is depicted as a mature woman.
Pit brow women, pit brow lasses, pit head women or tip girls were female surface labourers at British collieries. They worked at the coal screens on the pit brow at the shaft top until the 1960s, picking out stones and sorting the coal after it had been hauled to the surface.
“The Man Who Could Work Miracles” is a short story by H. G. Wells, first published in 1898, in which George McWhirter Fotheringay discovers that he has been granted the power to perform miracles. With the best of intentions, he inadvertently causes the annihilation of everything on the surface of the Earth by stopping the planet’s rotation.
John William Waterhouse’s painting The Danaides shows seven of the fifty daughters of King Danaus in Hades, punished for murdering their husbands by being condemned to fill a leaky pot with water. The shape of the jugs mirrors the severed heads of the men they have killed.
O ur view of witches tends to be somewhat ambivalent, as many were consulted to cure the sick, long before the Church decided that they must all be in league with the Devil. But is the classical sorceress in this 1886 painting by John William Waterhouse caught in the act of performing good magic or bad?