Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951
The Fraudulent Mediums Act 1951 was a law in England and Wales which prohibited a person from claiming to be a psychic, medium, or other spiritualist while attempting to deceive and to make money from the deception (other than solely for the purpose of entertainment). It repealed the Witchcraft Act 1735, and it was in turn repealed on 26 May 2008 by new Consumer Protection Regulations following an EU directive targeting unfair sales and marketing practices.
‘Genuine’ mediums were protected by the 1951 Fraudulent Mediums Act, under which prosecutors had to prove fraud and dishonest intent to secure a criminal conviction, which was difficult. Very few prosecutions were successful between 1951 and 2008 when new and much more stringent regulations were introduced.
The 1951 Act was also a turning point for many practicing witches. People admitted their beliefs publicly, published works under their own names, and it could be said that the change in the law led to the boom of modern Wicca in Britain and America.
1951 also saw the establishment of the Museum of Witchcraft. The museum was founded by the English folk magician Cecil Williamson in 1951 to display his own personal collection of artefacts. Initially known as the Folklore Centre of Superstition and Witchcraft, it was located in the town of Castletown on the Isle of Man. It was moved to various locations in England before settling in its current location at Boscastle, Cornwall in 1960/1.
It now houses the world’s largest collection of witchcraft related artefacts and regalia. Museum Website
Now, if you are still reading this then there is something else you should know. If you reverse 1951, you get 1591. And in 1591 a woman named Agnes Sampson was executed in East Lothian, Scotland. Considered a healer, she acted as midwife to the community of Nether Keith but, following a near shipwreck involving King James VI of Scotland, became one of many Scottish women accused of witchcraft. Although she initially resisted torture, even before James VI at Holyrood House, she finally confessed and was burned at the stake. There have been moves to grant Agnes a Royal Pardon, along with so many others who suffered a similar fate.
Finally, on a much lighter note, here is a press photo of American film actress June Haver taken in … 1951.
Thanks for visiting. Happy Trails.