While browsing news stories about witchcraft and paganism, I came across a story published in The Daily Post earlier this month entitled North Wales X Files: The Dark Side of Witchcraft. It was all about desecration of Christian churches and attacks on animals that had been blamed on witches and pagans back in the 1980s and 90s. Here is the link: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/north-wales-x-files-dark-11617883
It is one of those kinds of news stories that really pisses modern pagan witches off because, as I am sure readers of my blog will know, neither desecration of churches nor animal cruelty are a part of any regular modern pagan witchcraft tradition in the UK. Wiccans in particular believe that it is wrong to harm people or other creatures, and Wiccan rites do not include animal sacrifice or mutilation. Our rites are all about honouring nature and celebrating the cycles of life and of the seasons - they do not involve Christian churches in any way either.
Now, the article does point out that Wicca "can" use magic for good, but goes on to say that in North Wales: "Witchcraft has been used to satisfy more sinister goals."
As evidence, the articles states: "In June 1987 two 16-year-old boys came before Llandudno Juvenile Court after they urinated on the altar at Llandudno’s Holy Trinity church. One of the boys later told police he was a pagan and had stolen church ornaments for use in occult rituals. Then a couple of years after, one of the boys appeared on ITV’s Cook Report as a reformed Satanist."
These two 16-year-olds sound more like confused teenage vandals than part of any genuine occult tradition. And, in any case, Satanists are not pagans. Satan is the Christian Devil, he is not a pagan God or Goddess, so pagans do not worship him any more than they worship Christ.
The other people quoted in the story are all Christian ministers, while fearful villagers are referenced as saying they believed a local coven was behind it. It would really have been nice if the journalist who wrote the story had also asked the Pagan Federation - or the local coven - for a quote.
To be honest, this story seems like something out of the Satanic Panic of the 1980s and 90s that was the subject of a conference in London recently. As I blogged about after attending the conference, the modern day witch hunt was fuelled in a large part by sensationalist journalism spreading stories started by fundamental Christians, but without fully investigating all the evidence.
This latest news story talks about X Files and admits that, apart from the two teenagers who got their day in court followed by a moment of TV fame, the perpetrators of the desecrations and animal attacks have not been caught. The fact that "scared villagers" blamed witches doesn't mean a lot. Scared villagers have been getting out their pitchforks and burning torches to blame witches for all sorts of misfortunes ever since pitchforks and burning torches were invented. It doesn't mean that witches have ever really been behind the stuff they've been accused of.
But I don't live in North Wales and can only speculate based on my knowledge of modern pagan witchcraft and what I have learnt about Satanic Panics. If you do live in that area or know anything about the background to the story in The Daily Post, do leave a comment. You can also comment on the newspaper's website here: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/north-wales-x-files-dark-11617883
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