DEA bust at metaphysical store

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Federal agents arrested the 71-year old manager of Mystic Enchantments on April 13. The manager, Letha Dean, has been charged with selling synthetic cannabinoids. A cannabinoid acts in the brain to produce the effects of marijuana; these drugs are manufactured versions, rather than organic. Unlike marijuana, synthetic cannabinoids can have serious negative health consequences.

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. It’s always worth a mention when the New York Times takes an interest in modern Paganism. Their New York-focused City Room blog highlights the Wiccan Family Temple Academy of Pagan Studies in Manhattan, interviewing two of the program’s students. Quote: “People go to school to study the things that interest them most; some people go to law school, others to medical school,” [Shantel Collins] said.

Pagan Spirit Gathering Moves to Illinois

Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of America’s oldest and largest outdoor Pagan festivals, has announced that it has moved its base of operations from Missouri to Illinois. This is the festival’s second move since cutting ties in 2009 with Wisteria (and Ohio-based Pagan-friendly campground). “We are looking forward to having the Pagan Spirit Gathering within a short drive from the greater Chicago area again,” says PSG’s founder Selena Fox.” We haven’t been this close to Chicago since PSG 1983 when our site was on private land along the Rock River. This is the first time that PSG will be in Illinois, and we have been getting very positive responses to the news from Illinois Pagans as well as Pagans from around the country.”

Update: The Fall of a Witch-Hunter

A reader has tipped me off to the fact that Andrew L. Thomas, a youth minister and track coach in Rossville, Illinois, has been charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a child in Federal Court (additional link). This is in addition to local charges of criminal sexual assault with an underage boy from earlier this year. “According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Thomas used a scheme in which he identified himself on social Internet networking sites and in text messages or e-mails as a female under the names of Stephanie, Jenn, Jessica or Kayla. Thomas is accused of using the personas to entice the minor-age boys, sending them pornographic female images and in return soliciting pornographic images of the young boys. Thomas, the charges indicate, also used the names Stephanie Danielson, Kayla Wilson, Jennifer Martinez, Jessica Gonzalez, Justin Danielson and Justin Williams with the e-mail addresses: justjock89@aim.com, Kaylaw21to@aol.com, Foryouhopeulike@aol.com, Luknfrmystudboy2@aim.com, Stephaniedanielson89@hotmail.com and stephaniedanielson1989@yahoo.com. The indictment alleges a timeline for each of the counts, starting as early as January 2007 and running through March 2010.” This is relevant to our communities because while Thomas was allegedly abusing young boys, he was also leading an anti-Pagan crusade in order to drive Witch School out of Rossville, Illinois. “Andy Thomas, youth minister at the Rossville Church of Christ, said residents had a spiritual responsibility to drive the witches out.