After years of Witch School International trying to build a “Salem of the Midwest” in the Rossville-Hoopeston area of Central Illinois, a move that garnered plenty of publicity and hostility as the Witches tried to co-exist in a town dominated by conservative Christians dealing with a depressed economy and a troubling meth problem, the school has decided its time to move on.
“Witch School Headquarters are closing in the Rossville-Hoopeston area of Illinois. Witch School settled from Chicago to Central Illinois in 2003, and became the center of protest by many of the Christian Churches in the area. A well-documented spiritual battle has been waged for the last six years, with open hostilities and long quiet truces by various Christian factions. Simply put, this has not allowed Witch School the staff and resources needed to keep up with their growth. On Halloween, Witch School Rossville will close permanently, and Witch School will be moving its HQ to ‘The Witch City’, Salem Mass.”
As rumored since earlier this year, Witch School will stop trying to build their own Salem, and simply join the Salem that already is. Becoming a part of the massive tourist-friendly oasis custom-built for media-hungry Witches with outsized personalities. With the move now underway, Witch School CEO Ed Hubbard wants us to know it wasn’t because of Christian hostility that they are going, but because of a lack of communications resources.
“The Churches are not the cause, they are a symptom of the problems in rural areas, and that is the lack of useful educational resources. While the United States Urban areas have been undergoing a communications and information revolution, the Digital Divide between those areas and places like Rossville IL, which has very few Internet carriers, all very expensive, and very undependable, has continued to grow. Our Internet provider has terrible customer service, and been down as much as a week at a time, on a regular basis, and we use the same one the city government uses. Also attempts to provide computer training and employment saw pressure on participants to quit and boycott the business. The Churches believing that they were ‘protecting’ the community, have rejected and blocked several attempts by Witch School to improve Internet Service in the area. So it has become necessary to find a place where we can get the online access and staff we need to continue our growth.”
Not that it will stop Hoopeston-area pastors from bragging anyway. While I’m fairly certain their Internet service will be better (and the neighbors friendlier) in Massachusetts than in rural Illinois, it isn’t a leap to assert that the costs of doing business will be far higher in Salem, so it remains to be seen how well Witch School will actually do. As for Witch School’s students, they seem for the most part to be understanding and optimistic about the change in location. No doubt you can expect Witch-School folks to be popping up on reality television shows and taking advantage of national Halloween-oriented coverage of Salem any time now.