WHEN you think of visitor attractions you might think of castles or amusement parks or even a beautiful arboretum.

But think again.

Amy Terry is hoping to create a new attraction which is dedicated to the victims of brutal witch hunts.

Amy, 37, is originally from Yorkshire but moved to Colchester five years ago.

Since moving to the north Essex area, Amy has become absorbed in learning about a long history of magical practice in East Anglia dating back hundreds of years.

It is well known that Mistley was home to Matthew Hopkins, the self-proclaimed Witchfinder General.

More than 300 women are believed to have been executed for witchcraft between 1644 and 1646, many at the hands of Hopkins.

He is thought to have lived at what is now the Mistley Thorn, in High Street, and held preliminary examinations of those accused of witchcraft at the former White Hart, in Manningtree.

A less known fact is that Essex was the county which executed the most witches in the UK.

Amy, who works as a consultant specialising in business development in the arts and cultural sector, said despite this topic being so relevant to the region’s history there is no visitor experience for people wishing to learn more about the subject.

But she hopes, if she can raise the funding, she can change all that.

She said: “The idea for the museum came from my own experience as someone who moved to the region who was keen to learn more about the area’s history.

“I had seen information and artefacts at other cultural venues that touched on the subject of witchcraft but when I looked for the full story as I was interested to learn more there wasn’t anywhere that told it.

“I couldn’t believe that this museum didn’t already exist.”

Amy added: “When you hear the word witchcraft people automatically think of spooky Hollywood characters or scary fairytale villains, but there are a huge amount of every day practices that have their root in witchcraft and paganism.

“It’s such a misunderstood topic and I think that people will be fascinated to learn more about how many beliefs and traditions live on in East Anglia and the impact they’ve had on the region.”

Amy said information about witch hunts can be found in lots of places across the region but claims most of it “glosses over the brutality involved”.

Her concerns are that many places solely focus on the role of the Witchfinder General and other men with the women who were tried, tortured and killed reduced to a number.

“This removes the victims from the narrative and I feel their voices deserve to be heard,” she added.

“My goal is to consolidate these stories in one place and appeal to visitors wanting to learn more about local history, to tell an important and overlooked story of women’s suffering and to highlight the role of contemporary witchcraft in today’s society.”

The crowdfunding page is aiming to raise sufficient funds to create a touring exhibition on the history of witchcraft in East Anglia which will visit sites across the region next year.

Longer term plans for a permanent museum are in motion but dependent on securing further funding.

At present, Amy is not sure where the museum should be but is working on the idea.

There is already a plaque near the gates of Colchester’s Castle Park which was installed by John Worland to remember the first 33 victims of witch hunting in the 1600s.

To find out more information on Amy’s idea, visit museumofwitchcraft.co.uk. To donate to the fundraising page, visit gofundme.com/f/east-anglian-museum-of-witchcraft.