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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Witchcraft In Wadesboro?

Last weekend, the Sheriff’s office responded to a call at a Wadesboro cemetery for a report of animal cruelty – and what they found has left some speculating that devil worshipping may be occurring in the town.

Police officers that responded to the call said that they arrived at Garris Grove Cemetery to find nearly a half dozen farm animals killed and mutilated.

While the investigators stopped short of declaring it witchcraft of devil worship, others in the community did not. Full Story

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Did They Do Voodoo? They Think So

Forget eye of newt, the caldron and, for that matter, the witches. A team of psychologists has a new recipe for conjuring up a curse:

Take several dozen college-age men and women, a fake voodoo doll and an obnoxious man wearing a "Stupid people shouldn't breed" T-shirt. Mix them together in a Harvard University laboratory, and suddenly these young people seriously believe they might have cast a hex and given a headache to the disagreeable man.

It's either groundbreaking social science or the best practical joke ever. Full Story

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wiccans Spread The Word

When Michael Zult speaks, people listen.

Though the redhead Wiccan priest's voice is gentle, his six-foot-eight-inch physical frame commands attention.

And standing in his shadow, but not overshadowed, is Wicca priestess Angela Gallant.

The pair was at Gyro Park in Penticton Saturday for the fourth annual Okanagan Pagan Pride Day where a few dozen Wiccans and the curious gathered to listen to music, talk and experience pagan-inspired rituals. Full Story

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Participants Needed For Paranormal Survey

Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia is conducting an online survey of the paranormal and we were asked to help get the word out. We encourage all of our readers, whether they believe in the paranormal or not, to take a few minutes to complete this survey designed to help shed light on what types of experiences people are having (or not having as the case may be). From the email we received: "By paranormal we mean experiences that cannot be explained using the current laws of science. These events include premonitions, out-of-body and near-death episodes, telepathy and apparitions. We know that many people believe in the paranormal but this survey is not about beliefs. It is about what people ARE and are NOT experiencing. The survey is open to anyone 18 years of age or older, regardless of whether they have or have not experienced the paranormal. The survey is anonymous and will take only 5 to 10 minutes to complete. Your time sincerity and participation in the survey are greatly appreciated." Link to Survey

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Decision Brings Closure To Wiccan's Family

For the family of Sgt. Patrick Stewart of Fernley, we hope some form of peace has arrived.

With Wednesday's announcement that a plaque for Stewart bearing the Wiccan symbol of the pentacle will be placed on the memorial wall at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, some closure has been brought to a yearlong struggle by his family.

We applaud the state for approving the plaque and correcting a wrong that has festered for the past year. It took gumption to investigate the laws regarding cemetery supervision and to grant approval amid inaction from the federal government. Yet, as Stewart's widow said, the fight is not over. Full Story

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Monday, September 25, 2006

The Lunar Effect

Does a full moon make you feel like partying? Do you feel more energetic during a waxing moon? Either way, Making plans around the phases of the moon can lead to many things, from good business deals to more lustrous hair.

Roch Voller, who works in the psychiatric emergency department of Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital, understands first-hand the meaning of the term "the lunar effect".

He says he always expects more code grey alerts when it's a full moon.

"Code grey refers to patient aggression," he says. "We expect patients to be harder to control, louder, more violent and likely to hear voices then, too."

Voller isn't alone in believing in the lunar effect. Full Story

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pagans Not Hiding Anymore

Pagans are ready to show their pride and dispel the lingering misunderstandings surrounding their faith.

Hundreds of local followers of the often-misunderstood religion gathered for the fourth annual Pagan Pride festival in Gage Park. They soaked up offerings from hundreds of vendors, speakers and workshops offering everything from Angelic Guided Meditation and Chakra Balancing to airbrushed tattoos.

Some came dressed in velvet capes and others in corsets.

But many just wore jeans, content to channel their energy into celebrating pre-Christian traditions and honoring their inner goddesses. Full Story

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Wiccans, Others Celebrate Pagan Pride

Gretchen Faulk is, as she says, "not in the broom closet." This is a bit of pagan irony about witch stereotyping, but it's also the truth. Unlike some people who are witches, Faulk isn't afraid to be public about her beliefs.

Faulk is a Wiccan and founder of The Order of Our Lady of Salt, one of three Wiccan churches that participated in the fifth annual Pagan Pride Festival on Saturday at Murray Park. The festival drew Wiccans, druids, pre-Viking Asatrus and other groups that fall under the umbrella of pagan.

Paganism, explained Aisling DreamRange, includes "people who practice earth-centered spirituality and people who practice non-soteriological religions" — in other words, those that don't believe humanity is in need of salvation or a savior. Pagans don't believe people need "third parties" to intercede with gods, added DreamRange, regional coordinator of Pagan Pride. Full Story

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Nevada Says Soldier's Grave Can Include Symbol

The widow of a Nevada soldier killed in Afghanistan a year ago won state approval Wednesday to place a Wiccan religious symbol on his memorial plaque, something the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to do.

"I'm just in shock," Roberta Stewart said from her home in Fernley, about 30 miles east of Reno.
Sgt. Patrick Stewart, 34, was killed in Afghanistan last Sept. 25 when the Nevada Army National Guard helicopter he was in was shot down. He was a follower of the Wiccan religion, which the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not recognize and therefore prohibits on veterans' headstones in national cemeteries.

The new development came Wednesday when state veterans officials said they had received a legal opinion from the Nevada Attorney General's Office that concluded federal officials have no authority over state veterans' cemeteries. Full Story

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Desecration Of Grave Linked To Religious Ritual

A grieving widow who visited her husband's grave expected to find fresh sod and flowers, not a ritualistic slaughter of animals next to the headstone.

But atop the two-week-old grave was a dead chicken, a set of goat hoofs and four dead puppies.

Worst of all, the puppies were headless.

"I was horrified," said the woman, who asked not to be identified because she wanted to shield her family from the desecration.

Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies were called and filed a report.

"It appeared to be a part of a religious practice," the responding deputy wrote in the report. Full Story

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Some UU Members Question Pagan Pride Event

The First Unitarian Church plans to host a Rhode Island Pagan Pride Day tomorrow, but not everyone in the church is pleased.

The daylong program has drawn fire from critics who say that Unitarian Universalism is a rational congregation that has tried to steer clear of superstition.

In a letter being circulated among members, one critic called the scheduled series of pagan workshops "a potpourri of flaky spiritualities and ancient occult practices resembling a medieval Dungeons and Dragons festival." Full Story

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

High Priest of London Coven, on The Wicker Man

I don't know any pagan who doesn't like the original 1973 Wicker Man, which is strange really, because it gives paganism a very bad press. The film says that if we can't get what we want, we'll just sacrifice someone - which of course isn't true these days.

I suppose the appeal of the movie is that the pagans actually win, for once. It's an incredible piece of cinema that has stood the test of time. It's accurate, too. The May Day parade in England has been a big thing for hundreds of years, and people would have dressed up in those sorts of wacky animal costumes, partly to hide their identities from the local clergy - Pagan revelry would have been considered a mortal sin. The more money you had at your disposal and the greater your imagination, and the more elaborate your costume would be. Full Story

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Wellsburg 'Witch Trial' Stirs Debate

A Wellsburg man wants to hold a Halloween event centered around an alleged witch trial in Brooke County in 1802, saying it would be one way to draw visitors to the county.

But the Brooke County Commission heard Monday from two local historians who object to the event, saying there’s no evidence the trial occurred.

Though the commission hasn’t prohibited the event from being held, its organizer, Michael Traubert of Wellsburg, said he plans to move it from the county courthouse to the Brooke County Public Library.

Traubert, who has spoken on local history to various civic groups, said he believes a Brooke County woman named Annie Blair was tried for witchcraft but acquitted. Full Story

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Stone Age Female Statue Unearthed

Archaeologists have unearthed the largest Neolithic female figurine ever found in Italy, according to a press report .

The 7,000-year-old stone statuette, discovered during excavations of a burial site near the northern Italian city of Parma, is over 20 centimetres tall, the archaeological monthly Archeo reported.

It depicts a woman with an oval face, slit eyes, a prominent nose and long hair. Her arms are bent at her elbows, sticking out at right-angles to her body.

Although such statuettes are fairly common, it is rare to find figurines this old in Europe, and the majority represent a mother earth divinity with a swelling belly symbolizing fertility.

Archaeologists have instead linked this female to the goddess of death and rebirth, who is usually represented as slender, with a large, beak-like nose and rigid posture. Full Story

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pagans Show Pride

Pagan Sterling Kyle said monotheistic religions view their god as being one pane of glass.

Pagans see that glass as broken into many pieces, he said.

"I look at Christianity, Islam and paganism. When you strip all the dogma, don't harm your neighbor," he said. "Be a good person - someone supportive of community."

Sterling was the security coordinator for Pagan Pride Day on Sunday at Bataan Park and is also the founder of the Pagan Student Union at NMSU.

"People don't understand paganism," he said. "This nation is a Christian nation." Full Story

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Villagers Set Up Witchcraft Schools

Villagers in the hamlets that dot the Sonebhadra district of Uttar Pradesh have hit upon a novel way of routing out the witch doctors who routinely fleece them.

They send their children to the witchcraft training schools run by the village council in the public squares.

What they get in return may not exactly emulate Harry Potter and his fellow wizards training at Hogwarts but a homegrown doctor who wards off evil spirits and illnesses by conducting the rituals at home.

Vinod Kumar, a teenaged tribal boy from the Nagwa village who was trained under a witchcraft teacher now routinely administers such rituals at home. Full Story

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

'Pagan' Well Sparks Blessing Row

A church leader who sparked outrage after refusing to bless a controversial well dressing because it had a 'Pagan' symbol is standing by his decision.

Rev Andrew Montgomerie, Rector of Eyam, angered local residents when he would not perform the traditional 'blessing' ceremony on one of the village's three wells during carnival celebrations.

Mr Montgomerie made the announcement in front of hundreds of onlookers, saying the well's depiction of the 'Green Man' represented a Pagan symbol which could not be blessed under his Christian beliefs. Full Story

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bats As Mystical Creatures

Macbeth's witches came up with an interesting recipe. "Eyes of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog."

It was once believed that smearing the blood of a bat over one's face would improve night vision. The ancient Egyptians believed that bats could prevent or cure poor eyesight, toothache, fever and baldness, and a bat hung over the doorway of a home was thought to prevent the entry of demons that carried these "diseases."

To the Chinese, bats are regarded as symbols of happiness and good fortune (health, wealth, serenity, virtue and long life). At one time Chinese mothers would sew small jade buttons in the shape of a bat on the caps of their babies, a custom believed to impart long life. Ancient and modern-day art objects, tapestries, imperial robes and home furnishings often include bats as part of the motif. Full Story

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fire Possibly Caused By Candles From Seance

A weekend fire that damaged a 78-year-old mansion was possibly started from candles used by people who were trying to communicate with the dead, officials said.

Baldwin County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. John Murphy said graffiti was found in the attic of the Tampary Mansion along with partly burned candles that indicated a seance had occurred.

Murphy said someone who claimed to have studied the occult recently contacted the Tampary family, saying they knew the mansion was frequented by people who went there to attempt to commune with a purported "ghost of Malbis." Full Story

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Divine Magic Of Brazil Established In Santa Cruz

Rozi Frye carefully places different colored candles in the mandala, a chalk sketch of what looks like a kite, drawn in preparation for a Divine Magic healing ceremony, also called a "curativa." In the small rectangular room above an art gallery, the white walls are decorated by 10 of Frye's original paintings of orixas, deities worshipped in the Afro-Brazilian religion Umbanda.

"Divine Magic works with the Thrones of God, which are the deities," Rozi explained in Portuguese. Her husband, Chris Frye, who is a Sentinel pressman, translated for her. "Each orixa has its own attribution characteristics."

Though Umbanda and Divine Magic both worship 14 orixas deities and overlap in certain areas, they are separate from each other.

Rozi, considered a priestess and magus of Umbanda, is trained in and practices Divine Magic. She invoked an orixa that works on the emotional plane that day, Frye said. Full Story

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Reiki Teachers Hit Back At Priest's Satanic Warning

Reiki teachers have hit out at a priest who branded the Japanese healing methods as the work of Satan, it emerged today.

Fr Tom Ingoldsby of the Salesian Order accused patients of the complementary therapy of “opening the door to evil and occult forces which have later side effects”.

But the Reiki Federation of Ireland (RFI), which regulates the training and practice of the healing method, dismissed the outspoken cleric’s views as being rooted in ignorance and suspicion.

Father Ingoldsby made his remarks in his ’Fast Food for the soul’: in the Open Door newsletter, which is distributed free to 5,000 homes each week in the West Dublin and North Kildare area. Full Story

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Primer On Paganism

The rough plot of "The Wicker Man" is a very Christian policeman who investigates a missing girl on a very remote island.

The locals are very secretive, and practice a very twisted version of pagan rituals — and I don't want to give away the end of the film, but suffice it to say that the policeman is in for a surprise.

The movie plays on a tension between Christianity and Paganism, throws in some sexually provocative scenes and, voila, you've got a "classic." Pagan, in Latin, means from the country or rural citizen, so before you get the idea that it is all about animal sacrifice and devil worship, realize that most indigenous religions are by definition pagan — the word doesn't carry any of those stereotypes in its definition.

It is also important to keep in mind that while we look at paganism, our piece looked at one branch, Wicca — and that there are several sub-branches of practices and faiths. One thing both the witches we spoke to in the piece strongly agree on is that there is no devil worship or human sacrifice in their craft, and that there never will be. Paganism flourished in the 1970s and '80s and according to a religious studies professor in California there could be anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people who practice the faith around the United States. Full Story

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Witches Call Up Magic In Mexico's Los Tuxtlas

The witch is cloaked in a black gown with a Chinese yin-and-yang sign, representing the moon and sun. Dark and light.

Through lace curtains, a shaft of light casts an eerie glow onto the altar. A spindly, wooden red devil dominates the table, towering over the potbellied Hindu elephant deity Lord Ganesha and statuettes of Merlin, Buddha and Shiva.

This is the room where Ignacio Cobix casts spells of life and death, love and spite.

His timber house is a block from Lake Catemaco, where Mexicans come for boating, fishing, bird-watching and spiritual cleansing. Catemaco is one of three major villages in the Los Tuxtlas region south of the port of Veracruz. Like neighboring San Andrés Tuxtla and Santiago Tuxtla, Catemaco is shaped by virescent volcanoes and magic realism. Here, hexes and blessings are muttered in the same breath. Full Story

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mystical Day Out Written In Cards

Witches, Wiccans and New Age therapists are welcome at this weekend's tarot festival Arcana, but it's non-believers who should really take a look.

Organiser Fern Mercier encourages people from all walks of life to visit the event and experience the art of tarot for themselves.

"People who don't know anything about tarot, or only know a little bit, seem to have a fear of it," said Mercier, a professional tarot reader and astrologer.

Unlike other New Age expos, Arcana is an arts event and will highlight visual and performance arts, centred on tarot imagery. Full Story

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More Witchcraft Claims Made

A child is the fifth former patient of a Delnor-Community Hospital psychologist to claim that witchcraft was part a part of therapy.

The allegations in the latest lawsuit are similar to four other lawsuits filed in Kane County that name the Geneva hospital and Letitia Libman, who worked as a psychologist at a Delnor-run facility in St. Charles.

Richard Stavins – attorney for the alleged victims – said Thursday the suit would be filed today, and involves a "school-aged" child. He would not disclose the girl's age, who was referred to as "Jane Doe" in the complaint, and who reportedly was younger than 13.

The lawsuit states Libman treated the minor from November 2003 to November 2004, and "administered witchcraft under the guise of therapy." Full Story

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Q-Tip Girl

Lisa Albinger, 30, creates stirring depictions of relationships, womanhood, and growing up with scoliosis, using cotton swabs and paper towels instead of the quintessential brush.

She's Wisconsin-born and a practicing Wiccan, and a majority of her work depicts "her girls" being led on cathartic journeys by rabbit guides. She's shown locally at the Trunk Space, monOrchid, and Studeo Tad, and among the collectors of her wispy oil paintings are Tori Amos, The Cure's Robert Smith, and fantasy writer Charles de Lint.

Tucked into the corners of her studio are finished paintings, rolls of paper towels, and a mannequin named "Shady Lady," who wears a number of Albinger's hand-knitted scarves. Full Story

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Monday, September 04, 2006

The Real Asatru

This summer a prisoner in Virginia, Michael Lenz, was executed for murdering a fellow inmate in the name of Asatru, his adopted religion. Though most adherents of the pre-Christian, earth- and heritage-based faith are honorable, law-abiding citizens who don't advocate random violence, a small (about five percent) but media-magnetic group of them are white supremacists, many of them prisoners. Asatruar worship a pantheon of Norse gods like Odin and Thor and goddesses like Freya and Idun.

The warrior archetype is honored, but in no way defines the religion, says Stephen McNallen, 57, founder of the Asatru Folk Assembly, a leading Asatru group. McNallen recently set the Asatru record straight, speaking to Beliefnet from his California home about respecting our ancestors, balancing the warrior with the Mother, and how he starts everyday with a pot of tea and a well-fed cat in his lap.

What does "Asatru" mean?

I usually say that Asatru means, "Those true to the gods" or "The belief in the gods."

How would you sum up the core beliefs of Asatru?

Well, people are going to give you different answers on that. I believe that the core of Asatru comes down to about three or four main points. First, we are related to the holy powers [gods and goddesses], and our task is to evolve to become more like them. Second, we are specially connected to our ancestors, to our living kin, and to our descendants yet to come—the family line is a continuity that transcends time and space, and even mortality. Third, by leading lives of power and wisdom, we evolve to a higher level and this evolution gives us more choices in regards to an afterlife. And finally, the way of our ancestors is the best way for us, because we are the representatives of those ancestors in this little slice of space and time. Full Story

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Modern-Day Witch Hunt In Remote India

Unidentified attackers hacked to death five villagers accused of practicing witchcraft in northeastern India, officials said Tuesday.

The deaths take the toll of people believed to have been killed over sorcery allegations to at least nine in the past two weeks in a remote part of Assam state, where many indigenous tribes believe in witchcraft.

The latest five killings took place Sunday in the district of Kokrajhar, around 156 miles west of Gauhati, the state capital, said Mrinal Talukdar, a senior police official. Full Story

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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Witches Send Blessing To 'Wicker Man'

Nicole Kidman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Alyssa Milano, Elizabeth Montgomery and Cher long ago shattered the Hollywood image of witches as cackling old crones. As the years go by, witches seem to get increasingly hot.

But just when it seemed that Hollywood witches had become a celebrity hot-list of modern day beauties, Nicholas Cage comes out with a remake of "Wicker Man" — one of the most chilling films to draw on the European pre-Christian religious traditions from which modern witches trace their spiritual roots — this Friday.

One might think modern day witches, who've revived ancient traditions in the Wicca faith, would be outraged by the film, as they were with "The Blair Witch Project," and other negative depictions.

Instead, many witches like the original "Wicker Man," and are eager to see what new twists Cage and director Neil LaBute have brought to the remake. Full Story

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Pope's Exorcist: Harry Potter Satanic

The Vatican's chief exorcist is no fan of Harry Potter.

Father Gabriele Amorth, who is Pope Benedict XVI's "caster out of demons," told Vatican Radio: "Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil."

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, he said that author J.K. Rowling's books contain innumerable positive references to magic, "the satanic art" and added the books attempt to make a false distinction between black and white magic, when in fact, the distinction "does not exist, because magic is always a turn to the devil." Full Story

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