Updates on Past Stories

Psychic Wars in Salem: The Boston Globe does a follow-up on the uproar over the licensing of psychics in the “Witch City” of Salem, Massachusetts. It looks like the compromise measure put forward by the city council has defused (for the most part) an escalating “psychic war” that pitted established store owners and local celebrities like Laurie Cabot against the organizers of psychic fairs that take advantage of the tourist boom around Halloween.”While the question of who is a true psychic may never be answered, a new bylaw regulating fortune tellers in Salem is winning praise from some people on both sides of the licensing issue … Although the ordinance puts a cap on the number of readers who participate in the psychic fairs held at Halloween, it lifts the ceiling on how many shop licenses the city issues, which has angered a group of longtime shop owners. Still, others in the psychic community embrace the ordinance, saying it legitimizes the practice.”But tempers could flare again since Cabot and other long-time shop owners are unhappy that the compromise measure allows for the continued existence of psychic fairs that they say steal business from their shops. We’ll most likely have to wait until the Samhain/Halloween season to see if a lasting truce has been established or if these “psychic wars” will heat up once more.Meeting the Living Goddess: It looks like Nepali Kumari (living goddess) Sajani Shakya will be reinstated to her position as a living goddess after voluntarily going through a series of cleaning rituals to remove the “sin” of leaving her native land.”A 10-year-old girl who is worshipped as a living goddess in Nepal has had her title reinstated after defying tradition and visiting the US.

Equal Time For Nutjobs

In Drew Curtis’ new book “It’s Not News, It’s Fark”, he outlines the many ways the mass media passes off crap for news. One category of faux-news he outlines is “equal time for nutjobs”, in which wildly unscientific views or conspiracy theories infiltrate articles in the name of journalistic “balance”. A good example of this trend in action is that famous anti-Harry Potter nutjob Laura Mallory (who now lists herself as an “ordained minister”).Mallory’s quest has morphed from a quirky culture-wars Harry Potter story for reporters having a slow news day, into having her rantings printed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.”The mass media today knows all too well that “sorcery sells,” and the market is none other than …? You guessed it – our children. Just take a look at the flood of occult books, movies, television shows, video games, and there’s no denying it.

(Pagan) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.A planned Pagan-run rave (in honor of Lammas) in the Pendle Borough of England is running into some resistance from the locals concerned about noise and litter.”Plans for a pagan music festival – dubbed a ‘mini-Glastonbury’ – have been lashed by residents who fear it will wreck the countryside and encourage drug use. Organisers of the three-day Shamania festival between Burnley and Colne have not yet been licensed .. Residents near the Pendle site have objected to the licence application … ‘We are deeply concerned about the amount of noise created by this event, as well as people camping at the venue, causing disturbance to the wildlife, and to people who pay high rates to live in this area.'”The organizer insists that the event will be held responsibly, while commenters on the article seem to think objections are more related to the “people who pay high rates” than the concerns for wildlife. A decision is to be made on Monday concerning the license.Police in San Jose are on the lookout for a Santerian scam-artist who has been bilking money from credulous clients.”Police are searching for one of two brothers who allegedly used spirituality to scam hundreds of victims out of thousands of dollars in the South Bay, San Jose police announced Tuesday.

Laura Mallory in Court Today

The now infamous anti-Harry Potter crusader Laura Mallory (who may or may not have a MySpace page) is in the news once more as the Gwinnett Superior Court hears her case against the school her children attend.”Mallory is scheduled to appear in Gwinnett Superior Court Tuesday morning to argue the “Potter” stories are harmful and promote witchcraft and the occult to young people. Supporters of the “Potter” books say they encourage children to read and should be available to all students. Since she launched her anti-Potter crusade in 2005, Mallory has taken her case to administrators at the Loganville elementary school her children attend; to a school appeals committee; to the Gwinnett County Board of Education; and to the Georgia Board of Education. She’s lost at each level.”Mallory (who still claims to have never read the books), eagerly shows why the press still loves (to hate) covering this conservative Christian underdog.”Some parents who’ve heard about the controversy in the media, now, instead of taking Harry Potter at face value, they’ve started looking into the effects of it … Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea to raise a whole generation of witches, I don’t think it’s good for our country.”Quotes like this (conveniently timed with the release of a new Harry Potter book and movie) don’t debunk my theory that she is actually a brilliant performance artist.

(Pagan ) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.First off, an update on yesterday’s post concerning the selling of Witch School. A registered student of the school has posted a message from Ed Hubbard to the student body concerning the sale in which he further explains his actions and tries to assure members that their identities won’t be sold along with the school (though the large membership is listed as an asset in the auction).”Despite the sale, we will not sell the names of our members, and we refuse to reveal any personal information. We promised this and we will continue to keep our promises. And any new owners will be forced to the same confidentiality.”Hubbard also claims that the Hoopeston, Illinois campus will be closed no matter what happens, partially due to hostile actions by the local city council and press. It should be interesting to see the fall-out from that action since up till now they have proudly claimed that Hoopeston was a “Pagan colony”, and encouraged Pagans and Pagan-run businesses to move to the town.