Closure in the Salem Psychic Wars?

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  July 31, 2008 — 4 Comments

Last year I devoted several posts to a local struggle in Salem over the licensing of psychics. One group, led by Laurie Cabot, wanted to limit licenses and inhibit traveling “psychic fairs” (which they felt “poached” their profits), the other, led by Christian Day, wanted more relaxed rules that would allow for a greater number of licensed psychics. Eventually a compromise measure was reached, but in the process, remains from a dead raccoon were left on the doorsteps of two local metaphysical shops.

“The remains of a mutilated raccoon were left at the doorways of two of the city’s psychic shops. At 12:41 a.m. yesterday, John Ray of Salem flagged down police Sgt. Richard Gagnon and alerted him to a raccoon’s skull and a pile of intestines that had been left at the entrance to Angelica of the Angels, a shop at 7 Central St. While patrolling Essex Street about an hour later, Gagnon discovered more remains at the door to The Goddess’ Treasure Chest at 172 Essex St.”

Some Salem residents cast suspicion on Day, accusing him of working malignant magic, but it soon came to light that the perpetrator was psychic and Salem Witch Sharon Graham, who had been nursing a grudge against Christian Day.

“Richard Watson said he went back to his Bridge Street apartment on the night of May 26 to a disturbing scene: his roommate, Sharon Graham, dressed in black, surrounded by four young men, also all in black, standing around a jar. Inside that jar was the eye of a raccoon, police say. And in two trash bags in Watson’s refrigerator was the rest of the critter, which had been dismembered.”

Now, nearly a year later, and after further accusations of witness intimidation, it looks like we have some closure. Sharon Graham, in a plea agreement, has admitted to a judge that she placed the raccoon remains in front of those shops, though she claims to not know why she did so.

“A self-described Wiccan high priestess admitted yesterday that she had placed pieces of an eviscerated raccoon on the doorsteps of two local businesses last year. But Sharon Graham said she still can’t explain why. Graham, 47, formerly of Salem , admitted during a hearing in Salem District Court that prosecutors had sufficient evidence for a conviction on charges of littering and wanton destruction of property. Judge Dunbar Livingston called the case “certainly a somewhat bizarre and troubling incident” but agreed to go along with a plea agreement that called for the charges to be continued without a finding for a year on condition that Graham perform 20 hours of community service and remain in counseling. If she complies with those conditions and stays out of further trouble, the charges will be dismissed in a year. Prosecutors also agreed to drop the most serious charge against Graham, a count of witness intimidation.”

Graham has moved out of Salem, is receiving counseling, and is being supervised by a probation officer. Christian Day has gone on to become an even bigger fish in Salem’s pond, working with the city to promote Halloween season tourism, and co-running his own Witch shop Hex. Laurie Cabot continues to be as famous (infamous?) as ever, celebrating her 75th birthday in March with Godsmack frontman Sully Erna, among others, in attendance. So it looks like this matter is finally closed, and life in Salem, in all its Witchy glory, can continue.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • genexs

    Wow, this story is both funny and nauseating–all at the same time! Makes me want to rethink my planned trip to Salem. Naw, I’m going to go…the beer is too good. :)

  • THE Michael

    The Pagan community as a whole needs to come out and condemn such behavoirs, because I for one am tired of having to explain over and over again that we don’t “hex” people, and that those that do cannot claim to be followers of Wicca or anything resembling it.We follow the rede for a reason.

  • John W. Morehead

    I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Salem last October and I had a blast. I spent some time with Christian and heard some of these horror stories. I’m glad to hear that the negative winds seem to be blowing over. I highly recommend a visit to Salem, even with the consumerism and touristy aspects it’s still a treat in October.

  • Anonymous

    I wish the news would start to present this situation the way it actually happened. This had nothing to do with the psychic wars. When the event happened the city had already voted in favor to relax the strangle hold on licenses.