Skip to main content

Visitor Attractions: York Dungeon Launches New Attraction, Witches:Burned Alive, for Easter 2010


Related: Merlin Entertainments: Financial Results for the year to Dec 26th ’09 / Merlin tops Fastest Growing PE Owned Companies in UK for a record Breaking Third Year

The York Dungeon opens its doors to the most shocking show to date, Witches:Burned Alive. Using state of the art fire and smoke effects, the York Dungeon burns a witch to the bone right before the eyes of petrified visitors, sparing no gruesome graphic detail.

This Easter, the York Dungeon throws the public into a crucible of heresy and witchcraft in order to witness one of the most horrific passages in history.

This hellish show uses special effects, such as a specially designed and concocted burning flesh smell, to bring history to life at one of the best York attractions! During the ‘burning times’ of the 16th and 17th centuries, an estimated 200, 000 people were condemned for witchcraft. After suffering shambolic show trials, where the guilt of the accused had in many cases been pre-determined, hundreds of victims were condemned to burn alive at the stake.

The practice of sorcery and divination goes back to Man’s earliest history. Rooted in paganism and mentioned many times in the Bible, witchcraft (from ‘wiccian’ in Old English) was widespread well into the 18th century.

Its practitioners were witches, mostly women (the men were usually called wizards or warlocks) who used magic to foretell the future and cast spells. Their mysterious powers involved spirits, incantations and secret natural forces. If these included the devil or his servants, it was black magic. White magic, with no evil associations, is still practised and has its adherents today.

Witchcraft was condemned by the Pope as early as the 13th century, and where it involved heresy, the Inquisition imposed the severest penalties and countless numbers were tortured and burned. Later witch-hunts all over Europe resulted in the deaths of countless thousands of people including clergymen and children.

Witchcraft was outlawed in England in the mid-16th century, and remained a capital crime for nearly 200 years. Most notorious of the 17th century English witchfinders was Matthew Hopkins, who scoured a large part of eastern England with a perverted zeal and was personally responsible for the hanging of hundreds of witches, most of them harmless old women.

Visitors to the York Dungeon will learn that many of the methods used to decide whether the accused was a witch were open to trickery. A favoured method was the pricking of the flesh all over to find any areas which were insensitive to pain, especially freckles, warts or other blemishes; this could be done with a retracting point. Another fail-safe method (for the accusers) was the water trial: if the suspect was thrown into deep water and floated, the case was proved; if not, and the unfortunate wretch drowned, he or she was innocent.

About the York Dungeon:

The York Dungeon is part of the Merlin Entertainments Group and is one of the most infamous York days out where for over 30 years the Dungeons have brought some of history’s darkest times back to life with a grisly mixture of live actors, special effects.

Contact information

For further information, pictures or a request to visit the York Dungeon, or for info on sister Dungeons London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Hamburg please contact: Ellie Cowley: PR Officer –Dungeons 01202 440066/ 07922 591684/ellie(dot)cowley(at)merlinentertainments(dot)biz.

More from this author

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update