Folklorist shares the untold story of Australian fortune teller, Mary Barrell

AUSTRALIA – An academic has recently pieced together the story of Mary Barrell, which is among the earliest documented cases of Witchcraft and fortune telling in the country. Historian and folklorist Dr David Waldron made the discovery when conducting research in Victorian-era newspapers. He found letters to the editor spanning over three decades. “I first became aware of Mary Barrell when looking for writing on fortune tellers, phrenologists and mystics in 19th century Ballarat.” Waldron told The Wild Hunt. “Castelmaine, Ballarat and Bendigo were all described as a mecca for spiritualism and attracted the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who engaged in correspondence with Ballarat Spiritualist leader James Curtis.”
The Methodist and the Spiritualist
According to a recent article by the Ballarat Courier, the letters published in newspapers complaining about Barrell and her fortune telling were at least in part caused by and demonstrative of ongoing friction between two notable and influential Ballarat pioneers who had very different sensibilities: Wesleyan Methodist and town council member James Oddie and Freemason and Spiritualist James Curtis.

Pagan shop owners fight for right to read tarot

RICHLANDS, Va. –There are places when practicing openly as Pagan is not at all difficult, but there remain communities in which engaging in anything with a whiff of the esoteric or the unusual is met with stiff resistance. Richlands, Virginia appears to be one of the latter. 

Richlands is a town of less than 5,000 people in the southwestern part of the state and, at a glance, it seems to be the sort of place where Christian values are held in high regard at least when anything perceived as threatening their supremacy is proposed. What’s causing the recent ripples through this small community is the presence of Mountain Magic and Tarot Shop. which has become a gathering place for Pagans who previously practiced in solitude and in hiding. Proprietors Jerome VanDyke and Mark Mullins are open about being Witches as well as being happily married to each other.

Column: Death, Fortune, and Adventure

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“An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” G. K. Chesterton
I.
I left the hotel on foot and headed towards the zócalo, unable to ignore the irresistible pull of the town square any longer. It was my third day in Toluca and my first morning off, and I deliberately woke up early just itching to explore, knowing that I would want as much time as possible to myself before I was needed at the university around noon.

Pagan Community Notes: Fortune Telling Ban, Pensacola Invocation, Emerald Rose and more!

PARKERSBURG, W.Va.- The city council has “voted to uphold a ban on fortune-telling this week, despite a formal request from a local entrepreneur to do away with the decades-old law,” as reported by Riverside City News. In June we published the story of Heather Cooper, who had opened up a local shop called Hawthorn. Her intent was to offer Tarot readings as well as a place for local artists to display their work. However, she was denied a business license due to an old fortune-telling law, and she pledged to fight to have it removed. After her first attempt, it was announced that the Council opted to keep the law, with a vote of 5-3.

Tarot reader pushes for repeal of anti-divination law

PARKERSBURG, W. Va. — A single mother who wanted to bring in some extra income by opening up a tarot-reading shop has found her plans thwarted by a decades-old law that most city council members weren’t even aware was on the books. However, it was definitely on the radar for the zoning administrator who explained that she’d need a zoning variance to practice her craft legally. Instead, Heather Cooper opted to try to get the law repealed. Cooper, who has been reading tarot at home, was offered space in a friend’s building to open up a new metaphysical shop called Hawthorn, which would focus on card readings.