Actually the following despatch is neither as kookie -nor as innocuous-as it reads. Wicca is a thriving and well heeled cult in England.Like Scientology in America,you print anything bad about them and you will be getting lots and lots of letters and phone calls.
The current groups derive from a man named Gerald Gardner who invented, or reorganized --that depends on whom you chose believe--the modern witch cult in the late nineteen thirties.
His scripture,"The Book of Shadows" was purportedly ghosted by the notorious Alaister Crowley.Gardner also had a big thing for flagellation.
In my capacity of W.B. Yeats occult archivist I had occasion to interview a number of the people involved in this affair during the sixties.In my capacity of starving artist during the same period I had occasion to ghostwrite(with that excellent poetess Ree Dragonette) a lengthy astrology series and "autobiograpical"memoir for Gardner's "spiritual" heiress, Sybil Leek.Sybil clowned around a lot(she stuck Ree and I for two thousand dollars-sixties values-salery while laughing all the way to the bank) and cleaned scores of thousands while at the same time-seriously organizing an American Branch of the cult.
I swear Sybil shafted as many Columbia kids on her broomstick as Crystal Mangum shafted Lacrosse players.
She even had a secret cell operating out of uppercrust Colby College,Maine, and claimed the former president of their Sir Thomas Moore Society was one of her undercover acolytes!However,on the basis my experience,no one,not even a witch,should be convicted on Sybil's testamony.
(It might have been scripted by someone else.)
Incidentally there is no -absolutely no- documented historical continuity between the seventeenth century witches and the mid-twentieth sisterhood.Though persistent reports(which depend on a possibly forged document emanating from Leo Taxil)claim that Golden Dawn Chief Wynn Wescott was heading a coven in the 1880's.
Halloween pardon sought for executed British witches
LONDON, England (CNN) -- Campaigners in London planned to petition the British government Friday for a posthumous pardon for the hundreds of people executed for witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries.
They said Halloween is a good time to highlight the "grave miscarriage of justice" suffered by the men and women falsely accused of being witches.
Their petition asks Justice Minister Jack Straw to recommend that Queen Elizabeth issue a pardon.
"We felt that it was time that the sinister associations held by a minority of people regarding witches and Halloween were tackled head-on," said Emma Angel, head of Angels, a large costume supplier in London.
"We were gobsmacked to discover that though the law was changed hundreds of years ago and society had moved on, the victims were never officially pardoned."
Angels launched a Web site, pardonthewitches.com, to solicit signatures for their petition. They had between 150 and 200 by Friday morning, Angels spokesman Benjamin Webb said, but they hoped Halloween publicity would generate more.
Around 400 people were executed in England for alleged witchcraft, and many more in Scotland, the campaigners said.
The Witchcraft Act of 1735 put an end to trials of accused witches, but many still faced persecution and jail for other crimes such as fraud.
"It shifted from a spiritual thing to more of a criminal thing," Webb said, but "it didn't pardon those people who'd suffered before."
The campaigners worked with witchcraft historian John Callow to detail eight cases they hope will persuade the government to act.
They include the case of Ursula Kemp, a woman who offered cures in Essex, England in the 1500s. The uneven results of her work prompted accusations of witchcraft and she was hanged in 1582.
A century later, Mary Trembles and Susanna Edwards were begging for food in Exeter, England, when a local woman blamed one of them for an illness and they were jailed.
Read the rest of this article at http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/10/31/britain.witches/index.html