DIVINING FOR WITCHES
WITCHES: A PATHFINDER
[BY PHILIP F. McELDOWNEY, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA, JUNE 1993
DEPARTMENT OF LIBRARY AND INFORMATION STUDIES, UNCG, LIS 557]
One soon finds in searching for the materials in a
pathfinder on the subject of "witches," that more material is to be
found under "witchcraft," and even sometimes under "occultism" or
"magic." (See SUBJECT HEADING STATEMENT below)
An aid to organizing and understanding the topic of "witches"
is to distinguish different types. Accepting Jeffery Russell's (in
Encyclopedia of Religion, below) good suggestions, the topic may be
divided into 1) Simple Sorcery, 2) European Witchcraft, and 3)
Modern Witchcraft. An additional and separate field, which this
pathfinder does not concentrate on, is African or non-European
Simple Sorcery is that type which is unorganized,
unsystematic, intuitive, and local either in its performance or in
opposition to it. It includes everything from charms to spells,
and to the Evil Eye prevalent in the Middle East.
European Witchcraft has its roots in Egyptian cults, up
through Greek and Roman times, to the organized opposition and
trial of witches, mainly by the Catholic Church, beginning in the
15th century and reaching a peak in the "witch craze" of the 17th
and 18th centuries. Anywhere from 2 to 9 million witches (of both
genders) were killed or burned at the stake in Europe. Joan of Arc
was unsuccessfully accused of being a witch. She was burned at the
stake for heresy. The Salem, Massachusetts witch trials and 19
hangings in the last 1600s are a continuation of attitudes and
practices brought over to the New World from Europe.
Modern Witchcraft has its roots with the neo-pagan revival
which began in the late 19th century, with such books as James
Frazer's The Golden Bough. During the 20th century it has spread
throughout most of the United States with organized covens,
practicing high "white" witches or priestesses, magazines, and
courses either in an informal setting or more formally within
Community Colleges. It also is often times incorporated and co-
exists with the New Age movement with modern concerns for the
environment, traditional or herbal medicine, and feminism. There
is considerable interest and serious writing on witchcraft, with
different approaches and interpretations from a variety of
disciplines: history, religion, anthropology, medicine,
The ideas and attitudes of Simple Sorcery, reinforced by
European ideas of witchcraft and proceedings at the witch trials,
are perhaps most represented in popular culture by Halloween. The
stereotypical witch is an old woman or hag, dressed in black
(death), cackling, and riding around on a broomstick, using her
familiar of cats and owls to do her bidding. A majority of those
accused during European witch trials were women between the age of
40 and sixty, living alone without support of relatives or the
local community, who sometimes muttered under their breath, were
involved with herbal medicine or acted as mid-wives (life
threatening), and appeared to act abnormally. Most occurrences of
witchcraft accusations occur during periods of time of increased
social, political, or religious tension and crisis. The Salem
witch trails perhaps occurred because of the change of the
community's minister, from one who was popular to one who was
unknown and feared. People often used accusations of witchcraft
for 'scapegoating,' to try to understand, explain, and integrate
unusual events and activities into their belief systems. The
European witch craze perhaps originated in the Catholic Church,
with priests and monks feeling greatly threatened by the continued
popularity of peasant pagan religious beliefs. It occurred at the
same time as the development of the cult of the Virgin Mary, and a
corresponding underground development of the idea of a dark, evil,
or Black Virgin Mary.
Some of these ideas of entered into the modern jargon. During
the unsettling times after World War II, Joseph McCarthy carried
out Congressional hearings, which were characterized as 'witch-
hunts' to find Communists who were spreading the Red Menace.
Most accusations of witchcraft are insidious, in that they are
"no-no win situations." If a person accused of witchcraft denies
practicing witchcraft, it is taken as proof of witchcraft. If an
accused witch floats when dipped in water, it is proof of their
evil powers. If they sink and drown, they perhaps were innocent
(but dead!). So too with poison--if they vomit it up, they have
evil powers, while if they succumb they were perhaps innocent.
Similarly with 'witch-hunt' accusations of modern times. There is
perhaps no defence for the person accused as a witch.
Is Hilary Clinton, recently cynically designated as "St.
Hilary" (New York Times, June 1993), especially involved with
health care and reform, aware that in the future she may be
considered a black saint, or witch?
So, a pathfinder on "witches" may take one to all sorts of
topics from ancient times up to today.
Return to Library Science or Papers
World Book, Inc. The World Book Encyclopedia. 1992 ed. Chicago:
World Book, Inc., 1992. S.v. "Witchcraft," by Alan Dundes. (For
New Electronic Encyclopedia. Version 3.0. Danbury, Conn.:
Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.,: 1990. S.v. "Witchcraft," by
E. William Monter. (This is the convenient, electronic version and
also called the Academic American Encyclopedia, AAE)
Grolier Incorporated. Encyclopedia Americana. Danbury, Conn.:
Grolier Inc., 1993. S.v. "Witchcraft," by Elizabeth E. Bacon. (EA)
Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. The New Encyclopaedia Britannica.
15th ed. Chicago, Ill.: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1991. S.v.
"Occultism," by Maxwell Gay Marwick and Robert Andrew Gilbert.
All four encyclopedia articles above provide a good starting
point for investigating the subject. Depending on the level of the
customer, one can look at the articles which have an increasing
level of depth, scholarliness, and scope. All have at least two
illustrations, and list sources for further reading or
bibliographies. The WB, for example, lists four sources and
concentrates on European and U.S. witchcraft. The EB lists
seventeen sources with short comments on their contents, and
discusses the same subjects in depth as well as witchcraft world-
wide and in Africa.
The WB article does not appear to be updated recently, as the
latest source is 1986. So to with Elizabeth Bacon in the EB, and
she appears to rely heavily on fellow anthropologist Margaret
Murray's ideas. Though Margaret Murray wrote two important books
on witchcraft in the 1920s, and the very influential article for
the 14th edition of the EB in 1929, her ideas have generally be
discredited as unsubstantiated and without solid documentation.
Maxwell Marwick of the EB has written at least two other books on
witchcraft and sorcery. Though the EB does not have a separate
article on witchcraft, its inclusion under "Occultism" consists of
almost a half of the small print pages on that broader topic.
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. New York:
Macmillan, 1968. S.v. "Magic," by Nur Yalman. (ESS)
Eliade, Micaea. The Encyclopedia of Religion. New York, N.Y.:
Macmillan, 1987. S.v. "Witchcraft," by Jeffrey Burton Russell, and
"African Witchcraft," by Maxwell Gay Marwick. (ER)
Robbins, Rossell Hope. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and
Demonology. New York: Crown Publishers, 1959. (EWD)
Guiley, Rosemary. The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft. New
York: Facts on File, 1989. (EWW)
Nur Yalman's article in the ESS was disappointingly brief,
even with a subsection on "Sorcery . . . ." Jeffrey Russell's in
ER, on the other hand, was full, well-structured, and easy to read;
it is perhaps the richest, most interesting, informative, and lucid
of all the general introductory articles on witchcraft.
Of the two witchcraft encyclopedias, perhaps Rosemary Guiley's
is better, not just because it is the most recent. Her items are
easy to read with good size print, and she includes both a small
general bibliography as well as a select, detailed one. Both of
these may be considered subject or topic dictionaries, more than
encyclopedias because of their format and presentation. Both
concentrate on European or Western witchcraft.
Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1989. (On-line version at the University of Virginia.)
This dictionary is mainly useful for historic references, not
for etymology or for meaning. Old forms include "wicca, wycca."
A 1350 reference states "His wif with wichecraft to a wolf him
schaped." Though a 1671 reference states "The Sickness is more
than natural, and Witchcraft is to be feared," a few years earlier
(1651) already there were statements that, "As for Witches, I think
not that their witchcraft is any reall power."
In the University of Virginia On-Line Public Catalog (OPAC),
which follows the Library of Congress subject headings, there are
many items (913) under a subject search of "Witch," which extends
to several sub-headings from "witchcraft" by itself to "witchcraft-
-China" through "witchcraft--Zaire." Related subject headings
under "witchcraft" include Amulets, Charms, Goddess Religion, Mana,
Obeah Cult, Ordeal, Sabbat, and Trials Witchcraft. It also brings
up "Witch Hazel," which is not connected to the topic of witches.
Further investigation of the related subject headings shows
that the Goddess Religion is described as "Here are entered works
on modern, Wiccan and Neo-Pagan religions in which the Goddess is
worshiped," and under "Obeah" is listed the large related subject
As with all LC subject headings, one must creatively think and
search several alternatives before one will be able to find all
appropriate subject headings as well eliminate the ones which are
not really related to one's topic.
The main section for the topics of witches or witchcraft under
the Library of Congress classification system is BF1566. There are
other materials both before and after that specific area (the
BF1500s generally), as well as scattered materials.
For the Dewey system, the Main Library (of the Jefferson
Madison Regional Libraries) in downtown Charlottesville groups
materials on witchcraft in the 133.4 section, and for juvenile
books in the J 133.4 section.
Evans-Pritchard. E. E. Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the
Azande. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1937.
Witchcraft Among the Azande. 52 min. New York, N. Y.: Filmakers
Library, 1982. Videocassette.
Mair, Lucy Philip. Witchcraft. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969.
Evans-Pritchard's study is often considered the best modern
study of witchcraft, even though (or maybe because) it is out of
the mainstream of the European tradition of witchcraft. His four-
year study of the Zande in the Sudan is full of provocative and
seminal ideas, while detailing a variety of Zande beliefs and
practices about witchcraft, magic, and sorcery. He shows how the
Zande have fully integrated these ideas in their social and
political life to produce a logical, if not "scientific," system.
Since the publication of Evans-Pritchard's study, other scholars
have continued to investigate the function of witchcraft in African
societies. Debate continues over whether his distinction between
sorcery (good) and witchcraft (bad) is comparatively and
universally applicable to the beliefs and practices of other groups
and societies. The video is a good companion to Evans-Pritchard's
Mair surveys, summaries, and updates many of the ideas on
African witchcraft (from Evans-Pritchard's work through Monica
Wilson's) and adds some of her own observations. She provides some
interesting illustrations and photos to accompany her text.
Oman, John Campbell. Cults, Customs and Superstitions of India.
Philadelphia: G. W. Jacobs, 1908.
Bandyopadhyay, Tarashankar. "The Witch." in Of Women, Outcastes,
Peasants, and Rebels, ed. Kalpana Bardhan. Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1990.
Devi, Mahasweta. "The Witch-Hunt." in Of Women, Outcastes,
Peasants, and Rebels, ed. Kalpana Bardhan. Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1990.
Unlike African witchcraft, Indian witchcraft as yet does not
have detailed and good studies of its functioning in India.
Campbell's book, with "Part IV--Superstitions" and its "Chapter I.
Witchcraft, Demoniacal Possession, and Other Superstitions of the
People," added to the original 1890s book, is mostly anecdotal and
not well-documented or enlightening.
The two short stories on witches, which Bardhan translated
from Bengali, provide some insight into Indian ideas of witches and
witchcraft. Both are located near or in Santal tribal areas of
India, where witchcraft continues to persist. Bandyopadhyay's
story is about a old women living on the outskirts of a village.
She accepts that she has been sadly cursed with the powers of a
witch (especially sucking out the life juices of babies just by her
piercing stare). Throughout her life she tries to avoid contact
with others, knowing the harm she can cause. At the story's end,
when she tries to move or escape after her attempt to help a young
boy in love back-fires with his death, a tornado lifts her off the
ground and impales her on a barren tree in a barren field. The
villages believe the way she died is proof she was a witch. Devi's
story is rich with many ideas and beliefs of the villagers about
witchcraft, especially at the time of a severe famine. It includes
the episode of American, turned guru and living in a near-by town,
who exploits the episode for publicity by photographing his
"blackened" girlfriend as the witch caught in the witch-hunt, and
getting published in an international magazine as proof that
witchcraft still exists in India.
Hopefully in the future better systematic and solid studies of
Indian witchcraft will be made.
OTHER READINGS ON INDIAN WITCHCRAFT--
Chaudhuri, A. B. Witch-Killings among Santals. New Delhi: Ashish
Publishing House, 1984.
Carstairs, G. M. Death of a Witch: a Village in Northern India,
1950-1981. London: Hutchinson, 1983.
Kapur, Sohaila. Witchcraft in Western India. Hyderabad: Oriental
Longman Limited, 1983.
Suraiya, Bunny. "Sinister motives behind those brutal hunts
against the forces of darkness." Far Eastern Economic Review 126
(Dec. 6, 1984); 60-1.
Telegraph (Calcutta). 1993. 9 February; p. 4.
Here is a brief notice, selected among several others, which
continue to crop up in Indian newspapers, on events involving
witchcraft. 'WITCH' KILLED
Chaibasa: A 60-year old
tribal woman and her son
were murderd and their
bodies burt by villagers
at Gannore, 80 km from
here, our correspondent
reports. The woman
Kraemer, Heinrich. Malleus Maleficarum. New York: Benjamin Blom,
Kraemer, Heinrich. Malleus Maleficarum. Read by Ian Richardson.
Cassette CDL 51434. Caedmon, n.d.
James I, King of England, 1566-1625. Dmonologie (1597). News from
Scotland, Declaring the Damnable Life and Death of Doctor Fian, a
Notable Sorcerer Who was Burned at Edenbrough in Ianuary last
(1591). New York: Barnes and Nobel, 1966.
Cornell University. Libraries. Catalogue of the Witchcraft
Collection in Cornell University Library. Millwood, N. Y.: KTO
Press, 1977. (With an introduction by Rossell Hope Robbins.)
Del Dervo, Dianne M. Witchcraft in Europe and America. Microform.
Woodbridge, Conn.: Research Publications, 1983. (104 microfilm
Berkhout, Carl T. Medieval Heresies: A Bibliography, 1960-1979.
Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1981.
Lea, Henry Charles. Materials toward a History of Witchcraft. New
York: T. Yoseloff, 1939. (3 volumes)
Trevor-Roper, Hugh Redwald. The European Witch-craze in the
Sixteen and Seventeenth Centuries, and Other Essays. New York:
Harper and Row, 1969.
Cohn, Norman Rufus Colin. Europe's Inner Demons: an Enquiry
Inspired by the Great Witch-Hunt. New York: Basic Books, 1975.
Articles on Witchcraft, Magic and Demonology. Edited by Brian P.
Levack. New York: Garland Publishing, 1992. [The 12 volumes
consist of v. 1 Anthropological Studies of Witchcraft, Magic, and
Religion; v. 2 Witchcraft in the Ancient World and the Middles
Ages; v. 3 Witch-hunting in Early Modern Europe; v. 4 The
Literature of Witchcraft; v. 5 Witch-hunting in Continental Europe;
v. 6 Witchcraft in England; v. 7 Witchcraft in Scotland; v. 8
Witchcraft in Colonial America; v. 9 Possession and Exorcism; v. 10
Witchcraft, Women and Society; v. 11 Renaissance Magic; v. 12
Witchcraft and Demonology in Art and Literature.]
These articles were mostly written during the 1950s through
the 1980s, in magazines or edited books, and are nicely collected
and reprinted here in a single set of 12 volumes.
Although early Christianity had started to confront non-
Christian religions, it was the Dominican Inquisitors, Heinrich
Kraemer and Jakob Sprenger, who collected earlier occurrences and
trials of witches, and provided a manual for further accusations,
torture, trial, and execution of witches during the next two
centuries in Europe in their Malleus Maleficarum or "Hammer of
Witches," first published in 1486. The Bull of Innocent VIII
against witchcraft, before the turn of the 15th century, gave
church sanction to proceedings.
The sound recording, read sometimes with emotion and emphasis
by Ian Richardson, takes its text mostly from about 20 pages of the
Second Part of Malleus Maleficarum. Especially read are those from
sections of chapters concerning "whereby Witches copulate with
those Devils know as Incubi," "How Witches Impede and Prevent the
Power of Procreation," and "How, as it were, they Deprive Man of
his Verile Member," but ending with some "strong" prayers for
protection against witches.
King James (of England) was known to be fearful of witches,
even from his days in Scotland. He ensured that in his King James
Version of the Bible, the Hebrew word "kashshaf" would be
translated as "witch," rather than "sorcerer" or "old women." Thus
in Deuteronomy, there is an injunction of "They shall not suffer a
witch to live." Two notes, one on this work of Dmonologie. The
supposed or ascribed author of this work, is JAMES CARMICHAEL, d.
1628! And secondly, my minister, punning father always said that
witches were in the Bible under the quote of "the sand which is by
the sea" (the "sand witches" by the sea, or a deli alternatively,
the "sandwiches by the sea!" Picnic, anyone?).
Otherwise, the above sources for European witchcraft indicate
bibliographies and collections (Cornell, Berkhout and Levack) for
the subject. The microfilm collection is a copy of the actual
manuscripts housed at Cornell.
Hall, David D. "Witchcraft and the limits of interpretation." New
England Quarterly 58 (June 1985): 253-81.
Hall reviews several recent publications and indicates recent
re-interpretations of witchcraft, particularly in New England.
Burr, George Lincoln. Narratives of the Witchcraft Cases, 1648-
1706. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1914.
Boyer, Paul S. Salem-village Witchcraft: A Documentary Record of
Local Conflict in Colonial New England. Belmont, California:
Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1972.
Boyer, Paul S. Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft.
Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1974.
Similar to the sources for European Witchcraft, these sources
include printed primary sources (Burr and Boyer), as well as an
interpretation of those sources, especially from a sociological
Marley, Christiana Marie. "John Wyer and Reginal Scot: an
Examination of Late Sixteenth Century Ideas on Witchcraft and
Demonology." M.A. thesis, University of Virginia, 1993.
Eisenach, Emlyn. "Witchcraft as a Local Affair: Witch Trials in
the Val di Fiemme, 1504-1505." M.A. thesis, University of
Campinha, Josepha. "Consideration of the Cultural Belief System of
Individuals Experiencing Conjure Illness by Public Health Nurses
and Emergency Room Nurses; An Exploratory Study." Ph.D.
dissertation, University of Virginia, 1986.
Mabe, Glenda Ann. "Witchcraft, Conjuring, and Root Work: A Study
in the Anthropology of Experience." Thesis, University of
Moorrees, Louise Frances Theodora. "Witchcraft and Art--1480-
1520." M.A. thesis, University of Virginia, 1975.
Marberg, William Paul. "The Salem Witchcraft Trials: A Study in
Social Stress." M.A. thesis, University of Virginia, 1974.
These University of Virginia theses are mostly concerned with
European and Salem witchcraft. Of particular interest are the ones
concerning art and anthropological experience; even more unusual is
the Doctoral dissertation connecting conjure illness with emergency
Bartlett, John. Familiar Quotations. 15 ed. Boston: Little,
Brown and Company, 1980. (BFQ)
Lady Macbeth (Act IV):
Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog.
Finger of birth-strangled babe,
Ditch-delivered by a drab.
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
How now, you secret, black, and midnight
[BFQ, p. 239]
Frazer, James George. The Golden Bough; a Study in Magic and
Religion. 1963 Paperback Abridged ed. New York: The Macmillan
Company, 1922. (Originally published in 1890.)
Starhawk. The Spiral Dance. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1979.
Adler, Margot. Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-
Worshipers, and Other Pagans in America Today. Boston: Beacon
Press, 1986. (Originally published 1979)
Lady Sheba. The Book of Shadows. St. Paul: Llewellyn
Murray, Margaret Alice. The God of the Witches. London: Faber
and Faber Limited, 1952.
Eliade, Mircea. Occultism, Witchcraft, and Cultural Fashions.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.
Marwick, Max. Witchcraft and Sorcery: Selected Readings. New
York: Penguin Books, 1982.
Cabot, Laurie. Power of the Witch. New York, N. Y.: Delacorte
Caro Baroja, Julio. The World of the Witches. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1964.
Farber, M. D. Modern Witchcraft and Psychoanalysis. Canbury, New
Jersey: Associated University Presses, 1993.
Though it is debatable whether James Frazer is the founder and
initiator of the new Witchcraft movement or Neo-Paganism, his
writings certainly had a strong impact, from its inception in the
late 19th century. Others followed to elucidate and extend his
ideas of connections between ancient pagan and witchcraft religious
ideas and practices into the 20 century. Frazer dealt with
witchcraft most directly in his sections, near the end of his book,
on "Fire-Festivals of Europe" (including the origins of
Hallowe'en), "Interpretation of Fire-Festivals," and "Burning of
Human Beings in the Fires."
Although the publication dates of sources above appear fairly
recent, some are a result of earlier studies, researches, and
editions. They follow in the train or "heredity," not only of
Frazer, but also of Charles Leland's Aradia: The Gospel of the
Witches (1899), Aleister Crowley's writings on magic, Margaret
Murray's writings in the 1920s through the 1940s, Robert Graves'
White Goddess (1948), and Gerald Gardner's writings.
In addition to Starhawk's book, one can find specific ritual
incantations and ritual readings in Lady Sehba's book; almost all
end with the refrain--
EKO EKO ARIDA,
EKO EKO KERNUNNOS.
Eliade provides an overview, and Adler updates wicca practices
and organizations in the U.S. along with two interviews of witches.
The practicing witch of Salem, Laurie Cabot, provides recent
information on witchcraft practices in the U. S. She has also
produced a "Seduction" through witchcraft audio recording.
Caro Baroja is specially good on witchcraft in the Basque area of
Spain, both historically and in the 20th century, and for bringing
together many disparate ideas and sources.
Farber is a very recent book which summaries some of the
sources of the Neo-Pagan movement. The middle section of his book,
investigates in detailed psychological terms, the influences and
writings of Freudian and especially Jungian writers, and the
mother/child relationship in connection with witchcraft ideas.
Kingston, Jeremy. Witches and Witchcraft. Garden City, New York:
Doubleday and Company, 1976. (Kingston, Witches.)
Kingston has provided a book full of illustrations and
photographs, which are much more interesting and useful than his
Ott, Bill. "Quick bibs: witches." American Libraries. 23:816,
This is a brief review of recently published materials on
Forthcoming Books. December 1992 ed. New York: R. R. Bowker,
While the subject index lists only two books (one on witches'
home remedies and the other on witchcraft in the Channel Islands),
there are 24 titles starting with Witch . . . . There is no single
press which seems to concentrate on publication of witchcraft
materials. Several of these 1992 publications are part of Levack's
"Articles on Witchcraft, Magic, and Demonology Series," selling at
around $60 per volume. There is also Charles Clifton's edited
Witchcraft Today, Book I; The Modern Craft Movement (Llewellyn
Publications) in paperback for $9.95, Fadiman's on African oral
history of the witchcraft tradition (University of California
Press), and Stephanie Tolan's Witch of Maple Park (Morrow Junior
Books) for $14.00
Standard Periodical Directory. 16th ed. New York: Oxbridge
Publishing Company, 1993.
Of the 19 periodicals listed under Wiccan, Pagan, none were
held by the University of Virginia, though 8 were listed in the
OCLC. Almost half are published in California, with an additional
3 published on the West Coast. Wisconsin has a surprising three.
From other sources, the most respected and longest running
(1968-) appears to be Green Egg published by the Church of All
Worlds in Ukiah, California. They consider themselves as an
"interdisciplinary journal of New Paganism and related topics.'
The quarterly issues cost $5 each. Another journal often mentioned
is Panegyria or Panegyria Journal, from the Aquarian Tabernacle
Church in Seattle, Washington. It caters to "matters of interest
to the followers of Wiccan and neo-pagan religions in English
countries," costing $2 a copy for each of the 8 publications per
year. There are a Circle Guide to Pagan Resources (annual, from
Wisconsin) and a Directory of Canadian Pagan Resources (annual,
from Vancover). A journal publishing semiannually on neo-African
systems is Societe (Burbank, California). Even North Carolina,
surprisingly, produces six issues per year of it's Survival from
the Church or School of Wicca in New Bern.
(See also Journal of New Thought under ORGANIZATIONS--LOCAL,
Salem, Massachusetts. One of the houses of the witch trials
in Salem is still shown as a museum. (Photograph in Kingston,
Witches, p. 96-97.)
Boscastle, England. Witch Museum. One of the aspects of the
museum concerns witches selling sailors charmed ropes to "raise
winds." (Kingston, Witches, p. 127.)
"Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead" by E. Y. Harburg. In Over the
Rainbow. Sound disc. Sung by Susannah McCorkle. New York: Inner
"Witchy Woman." In Eagles: Their Greatest Hits. N.p.: Asylum,
"The Witch" by The Cult. In Songs from the Cool World. Burbank,
California: Warner Brothers Records, 1992.
"Angel No" by Boris Blank (Yello). In Stella. N.p.: Mercury,
"Season of the Witch." In Super Session. Sung and played by Mike
Bloomfield, Al Kooper, and Steve Stills. Sound disc. New York:
Columbia, 1968. CS 9701 Columbia.
"Ding Dong" is the well-known song from The Wizard of Oz
(1939) after the wicked witch of the West has been melted away.
The four other songs are about witches from modern rock music.
There is also the bewitching chant or attempted spell of "No
Rain! No more Rain! No Rain!" chanted by the rain-soaked,
muddied-covered celebrants on the third day of the Woodstock Rock
Festival in August 1969 (Woodstock  180 min.).
Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever. Detroit: Visible Ink, 1993.
Videohound's list of categories does not include "witches,"
though it does include such categories of "zombies" and "vampires."
21 listed movies begin with the title "witch-".
Movies (personally seen and enjoyed) are The Witches (1990),
Bell, Book and Candle (1959), and I Married a Witch (1942). The
first, based on a Ronald Dahl story, is appropriate for the younger
set as it features a nine-year old boy who successfully foils the
attempt of the grand high witch at a witch convention to turn all
the world's children into furry little creatures. Both Bell and
Married concern witches who's powers back-fire as they fall in love
with mortal men and thus lose their powers; but all for a happy
Many other movies either include witches or the use of
witchcraft. Perhaps a recent popular one is the Witches of
Eastwick (1987), about three bored New England women who conjure up
a warlock, who uses his powers to help satisfy their wants and
desires. A much older, but nonetheless popular one, is the Wizard
of Oz (1939), with the good witches as well as the "wicked witch of
There are also several other movies (mostly Walt Disney
produced) with feature or include witchcraft and are often based on
folk tales. They often feature memorable songs. They include
Cinderella (1950) (with "Alacazoo, menchikaboo, bibadibabadibo"),
Hansel and Gretel (1954), Sleeping Beauty (1959) (also with two
good witches and one bad witch, like Oz), Snow White and the Seven
Dwarfs (1983), and Fantasia (1940) (with the classical music pieces
of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and the "Night on Bald Mountain").
Three Sovereigns for Sarah (1985) is about the Salem witch
trails, where a young girl and her two sisters are accused of
practicing witchcraft (from a PBS television series, 152 min.).
Brooks, Tim. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV
Shows, 1946--Present. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979.
The popular television series, now in re-runs, Bewitched ran
on ABC from September 17, 1964 to July 1, 1972. It featured a
young witch Samantha, who used "white" witchcraft to aid her
advertizing executive husband, even while trying all the time to
abandon her resorting to her witch powers.
Il Tovatore. 138 min. Conducted by Richard Bonynge. N.p.: Sony
Corporation of America, 1985.
This Giuseppe Verdi opera (performed at the Sydney Opera
House) features Acuzena, the daughter of a gypsy, who was burned at
the stake as a witch for cursing the young son of a nobleman, and
Acuzena's subsequent efforts at revenge against the nobleman and
Burning Times. 58 min. Directed by Donna Read. Los Angles,
California: Direct Cinema Ltd., 1990. Videocassette.
Martha Henry discusses legends and misconceptions about
witches, and the torture and killing of women by church- and state-
supported institutions during "burning times."
Goddess Remembered. 54 min. Directed by Donna Read. Los Angeles,
California: Direct Cinema Ltd., 1990. Videocassette.
Several women, leading authorities on witchcraft including
Starhawk, discuss "early goddess-worshiping cultures and the
current women's spirituality movement."
In this age of expanding electronic information and access
(see the electronic encyclopedia and dictionary above), many
sources may be tapped on the topic of witches.
Within NewsNet, there are three groups which sometimes discuss
topics connected with witches, "alt.magic," "alt.magick," and
"alt.pagan." One message, for example in "alt.pagan," discusses
"wicca" under the heading of "Christians interested to learn about
Further information is available in the "gopher" areas of
different sites, especially in their "archive" files. For example,
there are 12 archives under the NYSERNet, which include the Witch
Scene (full text) from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and
interviews with local pagans and wiccas under the heading of "Area
pagans shed light on a religion that is often misunderstood."
Barth, Edna. Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: the Story of
the Halloween Symbols. New York: Clarion Books, 1972.
Brokaw, Meredith. The Penny Whistle Halloween Book. New York:
Fireside Book, 1989.
Both these short paperback books seem intended aid children in
their celebration of Halloween. The first (for 6th and 7th
Graders?) does a very good job of explaining the background to
symbols with an extremely fine short history of witches through the
ages. It presents this in a straightforward manner, neither
pejoratively nor through rose-colored glasses. Brokaw's (yes,
Tom's wife!) book is almost a workbook with ideas and projects for
parties and costumes.
Other juvenile books and materials may be found in juvenile
section of the local library (the Public Library has about 20
books on witches under the call number J 133.4).
[A personal note. As a parent, my daughter came home at the
age of 10, dressed up as a witch, and went out trick-or-treating,
singing a song she had learned at school which went somewhat like--
"I'm a witch. Tish, Tish.
I'm a witch. Tish, Tish.
I ride on my broomstick
Over hill and dale.
I'm a witch. Tish, Tish.
I'm a witch. Tish, Tish."]
"Toward a more P.C. Halloween." Harper's 283 (Oct.1991): 19+.
This article is about a teachers' manual by Louise Derman-
Sparks of the Anti-Bias Curriculum Task Force. It describes
activities to help children shed negative stereotypes of witches.
[In the original manuscript, on
this page was depicted a witch
with a cat riding on a
--A black silhouette, on an
Yearbook of International Organizations. 1992/1993 ed. Brussels:
Union of International Associations, 1967-. (YIO)
Encyclopedia of Associations. 27th ed. Detroit: Gale Research
Company, 1993. (EofAss)
The YIO indicates 7 associations under Religious
Practice/Divination, but they are mostly concerned with magic and
astrology. The Divinatory Arts World Association in Rillieux-la-
Pape, France appears closest to concentrating on modern witchcraft.
The EofAss lists three organizations directly connected with
witchcraft. The Witches Anti-Discrimination Lobby, known earlier
as the Witches International Craft Associates, began in 1970 and
has about 5,000 members. From its headquarters in New York City,
Director Leo Louis Martello aims to educate the public about the
religion of witchcraft and to fight discrimination against witches.
In 1970 they won a discrimination lawsuit against the New York
Parks Department who had refused a permit for their Witch-In. It
maintains a library of 20,000 volumes and publishes the WICA
Newsletter with a subscription of $4.00 per year. The Crystal
Stargate of San Marcos, California lists 190 members, seeking to
expand metaphysical knowledge and offers classes in natural magic.
One can obtain its bimonthly publication, Wanderment, at $12.00 a
year. Finally there is the Pagan/Occult/Witchcraft Special
Interest Group as part of Mensa. It is headquartered in Palo Alto,
California with 400 members, and publishes Pagana of 10 issues per
year at $20.00.
--LOCAL, CHARLOTTESVILLE, AND VIRGINIA
By contacting people at a local store, Feather on the Wind, a
person's name and phone number was obtained, who was thinking about
starting a local Wicca/Pagan group sometime in the near future. In
an interview on Sunday afternoon, June 21, 1993, the person
emphasized the uncertainty of whether the group would come into
existence. If so, it would probably be part of the International
Academy of Hermetic Knowledge (incidently located in
Charlottesville on Wise street!). He also mentioned that he had
met a woman from Richmond about a month ago who is the high
priestess of two covens in the Richmond area. He agreed that, in
Virginia, New Age groups abound especially around the Virginia
Beach area, where (Norfolk) a free monthly The Journal of New
Thought is produced. Page twelve of its May 1993 issue advertises
for the "Free Spirit Alliance" of Laurel, Maryland who claim to be
"A non-profit association promoting worship of alternative
Spirituality, Wicca, Neo-Paganism, and Goddess Worship."
Newspaper Abstracts. Computer File. An Arbor, MI: University
Microfilms International, 1984-.
This on-line service (supported by "the generosity of the
University of Virginia athletic Department with proceeds from the
1991 Sugar Bowl"!) is not just a bibliographic tool for newspaper
articles from 27 U.S. and 1 British selected newspapers, but also
provides 1 to 6 or 7 sentences of abstract on each article. It is
searchable by keyword ("witches") as well as author, title, and
--1,000 witches are estimated to live in the St. Louis area (St
Louis Post-Dispatch, Oct 31, 1991).
--10,000 practicing witches are estimated for Britain. Dot
Griffiths is known as the Madam Morgana or high priestess of
Buckinghamshire. She started the country's first school of Wicca
in 1989 to preserve religious observances. (Atlanta Constitution,
Oct. 31, 1990).
--"Kestryl & Company: A Pagan Talk Show" is devoted entirely to
witchcraft, on Arlington (VA) Community Television, cable
(Washington Times, June 3, 1991).
--Hansel and Gretel asked to be banned from schools in Northern
California. Karlyn Straganana, a self-proclaimed witch, requested
the ban as it teaches children it is acceptable to kill witches
(San Francisco Chronicle, May 28, 1992).
--Celebration of Halloween is vanishing from the schools. Some
parents feel witches, ghosts, etc are religious symbols. Some
school ban Halloween itself (USA TODAY, Oct 27, 1992).
--Salem, MA. Laurie Cabot, a local resident witch, heads the
Witches League for Public Awareness. Salem is a favorite hunt of
tourists around Halloween (Boston Globe, Nov. 1, 1989).
--Tax-exempt status is given to Our Lady of the Roses Wiccan
Church, a coven in Rhode Island, as a legitimate religious group.
The coven's high priestess, Joyce Siegret, say it will help witches
take their rightful place in society (Boston Globe, Aug. 9, 1989.)
--Air Force allows Airman Patricia Hutchins to observer her
religious holidays of wicca (USA TODAY, Apr. 25, 1989).
--the Salvation Army has settled a lawsuit, which arose out of
their dismissal of Jamie Kellam Dodge for practicing the naturalist
Wicca faith (Times-Picayune, Apr. 28, 1989).
--Witches celebrate Groundhog Day as Candlemas. Atlanta witches
will try to shed some light on their religion when this day comes
(Atlanta Journal Constitution, Jan 27, 1990).
SAINT HILLARY (Clinton)
Kelly, Michael. "St. Hillary." New York Times Magazine. May 23,
1993: 22-25, 63-66.
Hillary Clinton is featured in another of Michael Kelly's
* * * *
Will St. Hillary's image succumb, as did Joan of Arc's, to the
"dark" or "shadow" side, and might she be accused of "witchcraft"
or be part of a "witch-hunt" in the future?
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