NOTTINGHAMSHIRE, Eng — An unusual upswing in the number of complaints made to the police in one area of Nottinghamshire is concerning both local and national Pagans. Ashfield North saw 87 calls referring to Witches in 2016, and 38 in the previous year. These figures – released to the Nottingham Evening Post as part of police statistics under a freedom of information request – is extremely high compared to other parts of the country, and the reason for it remains unclear. Local experts in the paranormal have suggested that some of these complaints relate to Witchcraft carried out in the past, but local Pagans are becoming concerned that the ordinary practices found in modern Pagan paths are also being reported as sinister. Ashley Mortimer, director of the Nottingham Pagan Network, said, “Thirty eight reports out of 44 [paranormal incidents in Ashfield North] says more to me about the level of reporting than necessarily about the level of witchcraft activity.”
[The following is a guest post from author and journalist Beth Winegarner. Winegarner’s latest book is “The Columbine Effect: How Five Teen Pastimes Got Caught in The Crossfire and Why Teens Are Taking Them Back.”]
On May 31, news broke that two 12-year-old Milwaukee girls, Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser, had stabbed a classmate 19 times and left her in the woods to die. Although those facts are startling enough on their own, much of the coverage has focused on the girls’ purported reason for the attack: they said they did it to appease the Slender Man, a fictional Internet character originally created by Eric Knudsen in 2009 during a Something Awful challenge. The Slender Man — or Slenderman, as he’s sometimes called — later joined the ranks on Creepypasta’s wiki catalog of fictional characters. Here’s what the site says about him:
Much of the fascination with Slender Man is rooted in the overall aura of mystery that he is wrapped in. Despite the fact that it is rumored he kills children almost exclusively, it is difficult to say whether or not his only objective is slaughter.
Here are some quick updates on stories previously reported on at The Wild Hunt. In July of last year, I reported on rumblings in the UK over the possibility that new governmental policies over filtering obscene adult content on the Internet would affect non-obscene sites, including occult-oriented pages. Now, these parental controls are indeed being shown to over-block sites that having nothing to do with porn, including a news site that deals with the world of torrenting and piracy. Quote: “What happened? The broader context is that the UK government’s launched a war on internet porn, with ISPs blocking porn sites unless users specifically opt-in to access them.
In North America and the UK the “Satanic” moral panics of the 1980s and 1990s are seen as an unfortunate rement of the recent past. A time when fear of secret “occult” and “Satanic” forces led innocent men and women to be accused of, and sometimes imprisoned for, imagined ghastly crimes against children. Sadly, these panics are not a remnant of the past, they continue to flare up across the world, and now that modern Pagan religions are truly global in scope, we are increasingly involved in, or endangered by, these panics. In South Africa, a country with a small but thriving Pagan community, religious organizations and government education officials are teaming up to combat “the growing problem of Satanism and occult practices.” Quote: “The MEC also said that Satanism and occultism were being dealt with “when they arise and get reported.” The department said the MoU will also help in tackling issues such as school discipline, teenage pregnancy and spiritual disturbances including Satanism at schools.” This comes after the death of Keamogetswe Sefularo, who allegedly was killed in a “Satanist” attack.
Witch-hunts and witch-killings have been an ongoing issue in parts of India, and Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, India’s most famous Wiccan adherent, believes the religion can be a beneficial influence in these cases. Chakraverti also believes that Wicca can have an affect on the treatment of women in India, especially after a violent gang-rape that gained international attention. Quote: “The Delhi gang-rape was a turning point.
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.
The Greek (and very Pagan) band Daemonia Nymphe has announced that they are in the studio recording a new album, and that it’s due to be out sometime in 2013. It’s been five years since their last album, the amazing “Krataia Asterope,” so this is welcome news indeed. I’ve embedded the video for their song “Divine Goddess of Fertility” above.