(Pagan) News of Note

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens. Looks like all is not happy in the land of the Cabot Witches, it seems that Laurie “Official Witch of Salem” Cabot accused her daughter Jody Cabot (also a Witch) of forging a check in her name two years ago. A restitution agreement was made, but due to non-compliance and failing to appear in court, a bench warrant was issued for her arrest. “Last year, Jody Cabot was granted a general continuance in the case on the condition that she pay restitution of $1,328 to her elderly mother. Had she done that, the charges would have been dismissed.

Discrimination? Poor Planning? Both?

A Cabot Witch* (The Rev. Rapid Cabot Freeman) is claiming religious discrimination in Connecticut after his local library canceled a planned Samhain ritual/presentation in their public community room.”Freeman, who said he reserved the room four months ago with librarian Barbaranne Warner, and who has been advertising the party on his public access television show – “The Witching Hour” – for the past six weeks, said he believes it is a matter of religious discrimination. He said he’d been planning the appearance since he spoke at the library about witchcraft last year and members of the audience asked him to give a demonstration. While the town has allowed everything there from Christmas parties to christenings, he said, they are banning him because he’s a pagan.”The event, while approved by the president of the Friends of Sprague Public Library, was nixed by the library’s First Selectman, Catherine Osten (after complaints by board of trustees members), on the grounds that Freeman didn’t follow proper procedure to reserve the space.”…Osten said, because the event was to be held not in the library proper but in the town community room upstairs, those planning it had to get a permit from her office to use the room. Since no one had sought a permit, or paid the $50 rental fee and the $50 cleaning deposit, she said, there would be no witchcraft there on Halloween. ‘This is about someone that doesn’t want to follow process,” Osten said.

The Epicenter of Halloween in America

It has been known for years that Salem, home of the infamous witch trials, has become a mecca for Halloween revelers and modern Pagans (who purportedly make up 10% of the local population). But I think outside observers might be surprised to see how this witchy tourist draw has grown to Mardi Gras proportions. For example, did you know that thousands of bikers do a “Halloween Witch Ride” every year? “More than 3,000 scary-looking cyclists got a jump on Halloween yesterday by participating in the 20th annual Halloween Witch Ride to Salem. Taking off from Bruce Rossmeyer’s Boston Harley-Davidson in Everett, werewolves, skeletons and other ghouls all shared a scenic route through the North Shore.”

You Can’t Visit Salem Without Including Some Witches

The new game show “Opportunity Knocks” premiers tonight on ABC, and an upcoming episode will feature a segment where contestants will have to pick “which Witch is a Witch”. Why? Because the traveling game show was shooting in Salem. Laurie Cabot”Laurie Cabot took the stage with three witch imposters during a taping of a new TV game show in Salem Saturday night. They billed the segment “Which Witch is a Witch?” An ABC TV crew comes to Salem close to Halloween and sets up a stage in the middle of the Witchcraft Heights neighborhood.

In Other News

While the San Francisco Peaks story gets top billing from The Wild Hunt today, it isn’t the only story of interest to our communities happening right now. Here are some links to other stories of note.The LA Times profiles Santero and activist Ernesto Pichardo who discusses his life, his 1993 U.S. Supreme Court victory, and his emerging role as a mediator between law enforcement and the Santeria community.”By some estimates there are 100,000 Santeria worshipers in Florida. Some of them, inevitably, had difficulties, and Pichardo did what he could to come to their aid. He began issuing laminated cards “certifying” Santeria priests to help them avoid run-ins with the law. And he tried not to take himself too seriously.