See Britain's Oldest Destinations Called Petrifying Well Of Knaresborough That Turns Objects Into Stone • illuminaija
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See Britain’s Oldest Destinations Called Petrifying Well Of Knaresborough That Turns Objects Into Stone

   
   

See Britain’s Oldest Destinations Called Petrifying Well Of Knaresborough That Turns Objects Into Stone

How will you feel when someone asks you to visit this place where objects are turned to stone? A petrifying well is a well which gives

objects a stone-like appearance. If an object is placed into such a well and left there for a period of months or years, the object acquires a

stony exterior.

At one time this property was believed to be a result of magic or witchcraft, but it is an entirely natural phenomenon and due to a process of

evaporation and deposition in waters with unusually high mineral content.

This process of petrifying is not to be confused with petrification wherein the constituent molecules of the original object are replaced (and

not merely overlaid) with molecules of stone or mineral.

See Britain’s Oldest Destinations Called Petrifying Well Of Knaresborough That Turns Objects Into Stone

On the banks of the River Nidd, near the town of Knaresborough in North Yorkshire, is one of the oldest ‘entrance charging’ tourist

   
   

attraction in England. It’s a petrifying well that was once thought to have been cursed by the devil, for whatever object the dripping waters

touched, had been turned to stone. The leaves of creepers, sticks, even dead birds. 

People also noticed the side of the well looked like a giant’s skull. Most people avoided it because they believed that they too would be

turned to stone if they touched it. The courageous ones started leaving everyday objects near the waterfall to watch them slowly turn to

stone over just a few weeks. You can spot a Victorian top hat and a lady’s bonnet left at the waterfall in 1853, and other trinkets like a teddy

bear from more recent times.

See Britain’s Oldest Destinations Called Petrifying Well Of Knaresborough That Turns Objects Into Stone

The earliest written reference to the well was by John Leyland, antiquary to Henry VIII, who visited the well in 1538. He wrote that the well

was very well-known and visitors drank and showered under its falling waters, as they were believed to have miraculous healing powers.

Around this time, the legendary soothsayer and prophetess Ursula Southeil, who is better known as Mother Shipton, began to gain

popularity.

According to the legend, Mother Shipton, the daughter of a local prostitute, was born in a cave, now known as Mother Shipton’s Cave, not

far from the cursed Petrifying Well. Mother Shipton was reputed to be hideously ugly, even as a baby, which was attributed to her father

being the devil. Since her childhood, Mother Shipton’s misshapen body aroused the curiosity of her neighbours. But Mother Shipton gave

them plenty of other things to talk about with her lyrical prophecies. 

Like Nostradamus, Mother Shipton is said to have predicted the Great Fire of London in 1666, the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 as

well as the invention of cellular phones. As Mother Shipton’s notoriety grew, so did the fame of the petrifying well.

In 1630, King Charles I sold the land where the Petrifying Well sits to a local gentleman named Sir Charles Slingsby. By then the well was

so famous that Slingsby started charging visitors for guided tours around it. In doing so, Slingsby unknowingly created England’s first visitor

attraction.

Eventually, scientific analysis of the water revealed the magic behind the petrification process. The water has high mineral content that

precipitates over objects creating a hard shell of mineral over it in much the same way as stalactites and stalagmites form in a cave. What’s

amazing, however, is the speed at which petrification occurred. Rather than centuries, small toys like teddy bears can petrify in just three to

   
   

five months. Teddy bears are popular because they are porous which allows water to soak in and petrify the toy inside out. Other have left

personal items such as rings and clothing, kitchen utensils, and even a bicycle.

It is often described as the UK’s first official tourist attraction. The cave and dropping well, together with other attractions, remain open to

visitors.

   
   

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