Toil and trouble for Wookey's £50,000 witch hunt

The job market's in the doldrums, yet someone's willing to pay £50,000 for a (male or female) witch.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Wookey Hole, a tourist site in Somerset, is currently trying to recruit a professional witch – and with a proposed salary of £50,000, we doubt they’ll be short of prospective candidates. The witch will apparently be required to live in Wookey Hole’s caves, act in a witch-like fashion (stir a big pot of dubious-looking liquid?) and teach magic, in order to give tourists a sense of what life was like in the Dark Ages - although we imagine the local hag didn’t get a huge stream of visitors back then. Unfortunately Harriet Harman is unlikely to approve – and we don't mean because she’s already got a job…

The role is based on a local legend that a witch used to live in the caves, causing crop failure and disease, until she was turned into stone by a passing abbot (or some such nonsense). The previous incumbent has just completed her spell in the job, leaving Wookey Hole ‘witchless’ – hence the recruitment campaign. Interviews/ auditions will be held at the end of this month, and would-be hags are expected to turn up in character. ‘Ambitious witches, looking for a key career move, should turn up dressed for work and bring any essential witch accoutrements,’ the site said – although you’ll be relieved to know that ‘a limited range of potion ingredients will be available.'

This £50,000 salary is technically pro-rata'd, so the witch’s take-home pay will depend on how many shifts she manages – as you’d expect, she’ll be busiest in the holidays (particularly Halloween). But apparently the organisers say there’s a good chance of her pocketing (or should that be cloaking?) this much dosh. No word yet on other benefits, though we imagine that Wooky’s travel expenses policy may not apply to people using a broomstick.

There’s only one catch. Some of the requirements – notably the ability to cackle and not be allergic to cats – are fair enough. But Wookey Hole’s wish to hire a female hag has fallen foul of gender discrimination laws: unless they can provide definitive documentary proof that the original witch was female – and DNA tests were relatively uncommon for old crones in the Dark Ages – they may end up having to give the post to a man. Witch will presumably please Harriet and the equality lobby, at least.


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