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For hundreds of years visitors have been coming to North Yorkshire to visit the mysterious Petrifying Well. Formerly known as the ‘Dropping Well’, it has the power to turn anything that touches it into stone.

In ancient times, superstitious local townsfolk dared not go near the well, fearing its magical powers would turn them to stone. This fear was further fueled by the side of a well which resembles a giant’s skull. There are other strange tales. In 1488 a woman was born in a nearby cave. Her strange look, prophecies of the Great Fire of London and the Spanish Armada and her interest in botany, herbs and potions meant locals thought she was a witch.

Mother Shiptons's Petrifying Well.

Photo credit: Mother Shipton

Travellers were more adventurous. Documents written in the early 16th century noted that some travelled from far and wide to bathe in and drink the water in the hope of a miracle cure for illnesses and ailments. The site became so popular that…