Mystic Britain: Series 1
Over Britain’s tens of thousands of years of civilization, its history has played host to a series of strange and mysterious rituals, events, and cultures. British talk show host Clive Anderson and anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota travel across the U.K. to explore the sacred sites and supernatural beliefs of the ancient Britons. By examining their mystic places and practices, they hope to unlock the secrets of their ancestors and better understand the worlds in which they lived.
Part 1: Witches and Demons
In the Middle Ages, evil was thought to be everywhere. From peasants to kings, the people of Britain believed devils and witches stalked the land, causing chaos, bad fortune, and tens of thousands of deaths. Hosts Clive Anderson and Mary-Ann Ochota examine this time of superstition, magic, and fear. Follow them as they visit an ancient church in the village of Troston marked with medieval demonic symbols.
Part 2: The Rollright Witch
England’s Rollright Stones, located on the borders of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, are among the oldest and most mystic monuments in Britain and have captured people’s imaginations for thousands of years. For some, they mark the spot of an unseen natural energy source. For others, they are the home of fairies dancing on summer evenings. Hosts Clive Anderson and Mary-Ann Ochota visit this mystic site and Long Compton to meet residents and examine ancient artifacts in hopes of separating the facts from centuries of mystery and myth.
Part 3: Hadrians Mystic Wall
At the start of the first millennium, the Roman Empire invaded Britain with an army that was organized and armed to the teeth with modern weapons. But they feared the ancient Brits were magical savage cannibals, and so they built a barrier that separated the docile south from these mystical northern natives: Hadrian’s Wall. Visit the empire’s most impressive legacy in Britain, which still stands today, and discover its surprising carvings, used to enhance Rome’s performance during this epic, supernatural battle.
Part 4: The Revenants
In 1963, archaeologists discovered a pit full of human bones in a preserved medieval village in Yorkshire. Some were dismembered, some were burnt, and all were buried here for a specific reason. Now, our hosts dig through old records and use the latest forensic technology to determine if these corpses were killed in battle, were the result of human sacrifice or cannibalism, or were mutilated to stop them from coming back from the dead.
Part 5: The Pagan Prince
It was supposed to be a routine excavation of a small traffic island in Essex, but it turned into a remarkable archaeological find. The 2003 discovery of an ancient pagan burial chamber revealed a treasure trove of artifacts from the Dark Ages and one shocker: gold foil crosses that predate the arrival of Christianity to the region by nearly 20 years. Was this the tomb of a trailblazer for the religion that would dominate Britain for the next 1,400 years? And if so, what did it mean for the Anglo-Saxon gods that dominated the landscape?
Part 6: Mummies
When we think of mummies, our minds usually turn to ancient Egypt and its bandage-wrapped pharaohs and queens. But as Clive Anderson and Mary-Ann Ochota explore Britain’s mystic past, they discover a very different type of mummy, created by smoke, salty sea caves, and bogs. Journey across the United Kingdom as we examine bones from the Bronze Age, revealing strange puppet skeletons, bodies with bits missing, and even a macabre marionette.
Part 7: Human Sacrifice
The U.K. was a hotspot for human sacrifice about 2,000 years ago, and it apparently went beyond simple ritualistic killings. There was cannibalism as well. What was going on during Britain’s Iron Age and what drove its people to commit such barbaric executions? Follow hosts Clive Anderson and Mary-Ann Ochota as they travel from the hill forts of Maiden Castle to a cave in South Gloucestershire to uncover the reasons behind these gruesome rituals, to detail the various methods of murder, and to reveal who these unfortunate victims were. Visit seaside caves, grassy castles, and a Lego Iron Age village as we hunt down evidence of human sacrifice in Britain.
Part 8: Ice Age Shaman
Yorkshire, England is a County known for its pudding, cricket, and–so it seems–Mesolithic shamans. Clive Anderson and anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota examine a treasure trove of ancient wonders found at an archaeological site in Star Carr, including headdresses, tools, and weapons made from deer skulls, bones, and antlers. They also find evidence of the oldest houses ever built in Britain, proving that our 11,000-year-old Ice Age ancestors were a lot more sophisticated than previously believed. They attempt to commune with the old gods as they investigate Britain’s Ice Age shamans.
Part 9: Time Tripping
Host Clive Anderson and Mary-Ann Ochota are on a trip through time and across the U.K. to examine the sacred sites, supernatural beliefs, and strange rituals of the ancient Britons. Their journey will take them from Ice Age shamanism treasure troves to Stone Age mysteries like the Rollright Stones and Stonehenge to Iron Age tales of human sacrifice to Middle Age zombies and witches. It’s a wild 10,000-year trip to uncover the lives and beliefs of our distant ancestors from the unsettling to the utterly surprising.