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Mother Shipton’s Cave. Source: GetFocusArt / Adobe Stock.

Mother Shipton’s Cave Turns Objects into Stone… Literally! (Video)


Nestled within the quaint village of Knaresborough lies a place steeped in folklore and mystery – Mother Shipton's Cave. The origins of this age-old tourist attraction are shrouded in uncertainty, yet its charm endures. Legend has it that Mother Shipton, a supposed witch and prophet, once inhabited the cave with a peculiar pool that allegedly turned objects to stone. While the historical accuracy of Mother Shipton's existence remains debatable, her prophecies and stories have been passed down through generations. A tale recounts the birth of Ursula Sontheil, claimed to be her daughter, born with a hunched back but endowed with remarkable intelligence.

Intriguingly, the cave's waters possess a peculiar property – turning porous items to stone. Sir Charles Slingsby, a savvy Yorkshireman, recognized the potential in this natural phenomenon and began offering guided tours in the 17th century. Visitors witnessed everyday objects like teddy bears becoming solidified as if by magic. The cave's waters, rich in minerals, carbonates, and sulphates, gradually coat porous items, transforming them into stone-like structures over time. Though not true petrification in the scientific sense, the linguistic analogy holds true – objects become stone-like in appearance.

Top image: Mother Shipton’s Cave. Source: GetFocusArt / Adobe Stock.

By Robbie Mitchell

Robbie Mitchell's picture


I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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