Roman mines caused the 'evil curse' on villagers' cattle
How many visitors to Wookey Hole, I wonder, realise that there are, in fact, two witches – one deep in the famous caves and the other a few miles down the road in Wells museum.
The witch in the cave is, in reality, nothing but a well-formed stalagtite in the shape of a woman's face.
But the one in the museum, over 1,000 years old, was once as much flesh and blood as you and I.
According to legend, the vindictive Witch of Wookey made these deep caverns her home, and it was from here that she cursed her neighbours and their livestock.
After many cattle had fallen ill, one story goes, the distraught but frightened villagers asked a monk from Glastonbury Abbey, Father Bernard, to mediate with her on their behalf.
When that failed, the brave priest chased the evil hag through the pitch-black caverns and down what is now called "Hell's ladder".
Catching up with her deep underground, he sprinkled the witch with holy water which had the effect of immediately turning her to stone.
In the so-called "Witch's Kitchen" – the cave system's first chamber – her spooky outline (with the aid of some atmospheric lighting) can still be seen presiding above the subterranean River Axe.
Another version of the tale says that, before he entered the monastery, Father Bernard had been betrothed to a girl from the village of Wookey.
But the witch, in a fit of jealousy, put a curse on the couple, causing their romance to fail.
After becoming a monk, but still ruminating over his misfortune, Father Bernard decided to take his revenge.
Silently entering the cave, he caught the witch off guard and was able to throw holy water over her.
As a practitioner of the black arts, this immediately turned her to stone.
Her little dog (also on show to visitors to the cave) suffered the same fate.
There are, however, other stories concerning the witch.
The legendary King Arthur is said to have killed an evil witch who, the story goes, "lived in the cave at the head of a Stream of Sorrow in the confines of Hell".
Many are of the opinion that this, in fact, describes Wookey Hole and, in fact, there is an Arthur's Point nearby, popular with climbers.
Arthur, of course, had many connections with the Vale of Avalon, including his burial at Glastonbury Abbey.
So much for the stories – but I wonder how many people have seen Wookey's other witch, the one in Wells museum?
Her bones were discovered 100 years ago by the well-known Mendip cave explorer, Herbert Balch, near to the cave entrance.
Lying nearby the archaeologist also found the bones of goats, a milking pot and a mysterious stalagmite "crystal ball".
How this woman died is not known, but her poor goats, which were tethered to a post, seem to have starved to death.
The human bones – believed to be Saxon rather than Iron Age – would seem to support some of the legends.
In more rational times it's been suggested that the River Axe brought down spoil from old Roman lead workings on the Mendips.
When the river overflowed, it poisoned the grass which then killed the villagers' cattle.
And when cave burials from Stone Age times were washed out by the river in times of flood, villagers became convinced that these were the witch's victims.
Latter-day Druids would like to see the witch's bones given a proper pagan burial, possibly among the prehistoric stones of Avebury.
But it isn't only the Druids who would like to get their hands on the bones.
When showman Gerry Cottle became owner of the caves in 2003 he demanded their return but, for the present anyway, they remain in the museum.
A collection of ritualistic marks dating back to the 18th century have recently been discovered in the Witch's Chimney, the cave's third chamber.
It's here that visitors often feel a chilly up-draught, a phenomena once closely associated with evil spirits.
Many of the marks resemble a single "W" crossed in the middle, identified as two joined "V's" representing the Latin version of "Virgin of Virgins".
Viewed upside down, the "M" was also a well-known symbol for the Virgin Mary.
Other faint symbols carved on the cave walls seem to resemble combinations of Latin letters, such as IHS, that form an abbreviation for the name Jesus Christ.
Yet others appear to be butterfly crosses, which have strong associations with averting evil.
Perhaps our ancestors believed that evil spirits either lived, or were trapped underground, in caves like Wookey.
These powerful Christian symbols, they believed, would deny them access to the world of humans and animals.
Except, perhaps, at Halloween.