Saturday, October 22, 2011

Witch Legends and Real-Life Encounters II

In keeping with the Halloween spirit, I have found a few additional witchcraft related posts from the past years. The previous installment is posted at Witch Legends and Real-Life Encounters:

Witch Conjures Demon to Dwell in Church

10/8/09 - A witch who plans to open an occult centre in Cambridge says he has conjured up a demon - in the city's Catholic Church.

Magus Lynius Shadee says the demon could possess parishioners and drive them to suicide.

He claims to have instructed the evil spirit to "dwell" in the famous church to "cleanse it".

The occultist, who calls himself the King of All Witches, says he let loose the entity to prey on worshippers at the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs in Hills Road.

Fr Dick Healey has branded the occultist "twisted" and plans to report him to the police for practising witchcraft in a church.

He said: "He should be reported to the police. It's as if someone came into your home and performed some sort of magic trick without your permission.

"He's obviously a bit twisted to perform witchcraft in a church.

"We will not be performing an exorcism, but I will consider reporting him to the police."

Mr Shadee, a Frenchman with an occult centre in Normandy, claims to have made the "incantation" to evoke the demon on a visit to the city to look for a site for his occult centre, which he plans to open on December 24.

He said: "It's an element, a hunter that will attach itself to an individual, then try to take the person, either send them insane and make them depressed, and the worst is to cause them to take their physical life.

"I did not speak to the priest, just performed a visual ritual format, an incantation, to bring in an element to dwell within the building.

"When I perform, unless it's within the confines of a ritual room, most of my work is on my own with associates observing."

Fr David Paul, of St Laurence's Roman Catholic Church in Milton Road, fears the occultist's move into the city is to target university students, as the News reported.

Now the witch hopes to "convert" the priest.

He said: "I will have to visit Mr David Paul's church and perform a ritual for him - perhaps he will be converted."

Police said a potential crime under the Public Order Act could have been committed if anyone was in the church at the time of the ritual and was alarmed or distressed by it.


Wicca...Not Wicked

11/15/09 - Deborah Snavely cackled wildly when asked if she had a flying broom. For Snavely, a British traditional Wiccan priestess for 13 years, witchcraft is no matter of Hollywood hocus-pocus — it’s a reality.

“Any system of divination is simply a means of accessing a part of our awareness that doesn’t work with the logical brain,” Snavely said, arguing that witchcraft is no more ridiculous than any other religion.

Having begun her spiritual life at her mother’s Episcopal church, Snavely recalls staring out the window during Sunday service, longing for the shade and ambience of the woods.

“That was a very restful and healing place for me to be. There were very clear presences,” she said.

In her teens, Snavely abandoned church and began exploring alternative spiritual philosophies. Now she is a member of the Wiccan priesthood, a denomination of witchcraft whose lineage can be traced back to the 16th century, and whose more ancient descendants were meeting in sacred groves even hundreds of years before that.

“There are bits and pieces that survive. Our modern practices are quite simple,” Snavely said.

K.C. Anton of Veneta, Ore., is also a Christian-turned-Wiccan. Always a spiritual person, the idea of God was very real for Anton, but he remained skeptical.

“Most folks didn’t have a practice that answered to me. You had to take a lot of things on faith,” Anton said.

Now a teacher of Wiccan rituals, Anton has studied the practice for more than 20 years. For him, Wicca has been the path to happiness and self-improvement.

“I felt the awe-ful presence of deity. I felt something inside me,” Anton said. “The control and response of your life is in your hands,” he said, to distinguish Wicca from
other religions.

There are many similarities as well.

“Christians have prayers, we have spells,” Anton said. Spells and magic are often misunderstood, he explained.

“A spell is making your intent go out into the world,” said Anton, who explained that desire for success and love are the two main things that people use spells for.

healing spell can be as simple as saying a few words over and over. Snavely invented her own spell, which she calls “the only spell I will ever give away.” To work this magic, one must look into the mirror each night from new moon to new moon for a month and say,

“I love and respect you.”

“People will cry trying to do that,” Snavely said.

Other times, spells are more akin to what people are accustomed to reading about in fairy tales. To draw someone to you through a love spell, one can use an actual physical part of that person, such as their hair, and create a mental picture.

The idea is to create the strongest thing one can do to bring about the desired change. Anton said his last two girlfriends have both been brought to him through spells. His first came when he was focused on becoming a writer and he found a woman who was also a writer.

“She was part of the answer,” Anton said.

Another fairly classical spell is to physically white out a pay stub and write in a new number.

“Think of it as a recipe, but it still needs to be personalized,” Anton said.

After mastering the basics, there are more advanced techniques such as sounding, toning, meditation and use of other languages.

Anton was always skeptical, and at first he tested the spells by setting time limits and comparing the results with those of Christian prayers.

“It was like in the laboratory,” Anton said.

Snavely has also seen magic in the works. She recalled an incident in which a man was hospitalized with an intestinal rupture and was in critical condition. Snavely and 10 others held a healing ritual for the man, and within a few days the man was released from the hospital.

Pagan celebrations often take place during full moons, and witches work with the four or five — if they count the spirit — elements. Halloween, the Celtic New Year with many names, purposes and even dates, is an active time for witches as it is one of eight major solar holidays or Sabbaths. This is a time to communicate with the dead elders and say goodbye to the old year. The festival is one for the fire element, as jack-o’-lanterns guide good spirits to relatives’ doorsteps and keep the bad spirits away.

On such a night, Wiccans like Anton and Snavely gather in a sacred, circular space. Placing a drop or two of fine-smelling oil, they “dress” the candles they will use to focus their intent in four directions. Living things have an energy field that people perceive in various ways, but witches operate outside of our official defined five senses. They gather in a circle to contain energy, then raise the energy by dancing, singing and using their bodies. “We are between worlds, the energy world and the tangible,” Snavely said, adding that this is why it is bad to bring watches into the circle.

The priestess directs the ritual to a crescendo, and everyone focuses on transferring the energy into a physical object such as a necklace or a worry stone meant for a son going to Iraq.

“We simply raise energy as a gift of the gods,” Snavely said. The physical sensation is an expansion of yourself, a natural high, she explained.

Snavely is a stroke survivor, and she gave her boyfriend consent for a similar ritual when she was hospitalized. Through an e-mail list, there were circles being done all over the country to help her and she attests that it made a difference. Although she has a permanent disability, she was able to retain her speech and her recovery went relatively smoothly.

“I am not permanently disabled to not function as priestess, thank goddess!” she said.

Paganism contains a broad category of nature-based religions such as shamans, druids and witches who observe natural energies and the powers of the mind.

“Awareness of nature is more than looking at a forest through an automobile window while you speed by. It is actually getting out there and being able to be a part of that forest,” said Eugene Witches leader Jeff Orendorff. “A nature-based individual can simply be in contact with nature and through that nature be in contact with what made that nature.”

Witchcraft tends to have more of a female goddess orientation, and some Wiccans do not allow men to work in their groups. However, what they all have in common is the idea that what happens in your little world affects everything else in some way. Kindness is spread by being kind to others. For this reason, it is prohibited to do witchcraft against someone else’s will or to manipulate someone. For this, there is the rule of three — whatever you put out comes back to you in a greater magnitude.

In Old English, Wicca means to bend or alter.

Anton explained that if you’re really firm like some trees, then you can snap when life starts pressuring you.

“That’s our magical idea,” Anton said. “Do what you want as long as you don’t harm anyone.”

Wicca is the most practiced pagan religion in Eugene. Most practitioners are eclectics, which means that they pull together from various sources. Anton said that the popularity of earth-based religion has multiplied greatly in the last 20 years and that the Eugene area probably has somewhere between 1,500 to 3,000 practicing pagans.

Yet a stereotype remains in the general public’s eye that witchcraft is somehow associated with evil.

“The word has been grabbed by other folks. What witchcraft means now for a lot of religions is a negative thing because it’s been turned around,” Anton said.

Snavely said a big reason for this misunderstanding is 1,500 years of churches preaching against witchcraft. When Gerald Gardner, an English witch who is considered to be the biggest influence on modern witchcraft, began writing about witchcraft it was still illegal. Laws prohibiting witchcraft were finally repealed in 1951.

Today, “witch” is still a powerful word that turns heads and has even caused parents to lose custody of their children.

Even people who know Snavely well have their prejudices. Snavely said she had to decide between being a “closet” witch or an “out” witch. She is mindful of this and sometimes has to censor herself in social and professional settings.

“You practice it like any other religion,” Anton said. “What you think affects the world around. It’s a very simple concept.”


Was Moll Dyer Real or a Legend?

1/19/10 - The story of Moll Dyer, a witch who was driven from her home south of Leonardtown more than 300 years ago, is well known and often repeated in St. Mary's County.

But was she ever real? There are no records of her existence. However, there is a road and stream named after her south of Leonardtown and lands there bore her name since the 1890s.

A large rock, said to be the last resting place of Moll Dyer where she left imprints of her knees and hand on the stone, was moved in 1972 to the front of the circuit courthouse in Leonardtown. The area of Moll Dyer Road was purported to be haunted.

Tradition has it that Moll Dyer was an outcast in the small community between Leonardtown and Redgate. Though she lived in a hut, she survived via the generosity of others through the alms house, located where Leonardtown Middle School is now.

The winter of 1697 was extraordinarily harsh. On March 27 the Council of Maryland proceedings in Annapolis commented on the bad weather: "It hath pleased God that this winter hath been the longest that hath been known in the memory of man, for it began about the middle of November, and little sign of any spring yet. It was very uncertain weather, several frosts and snows, one of which was the greatest hath been known."

Witchcraft was often blamed for such calamitous times. In St. Mary's that year, the legend goes, Moll Dyer fit the description of a witch — a strange old hag.

Witches weren't common, but it was still widely believed they did exist then.

In June 1654, the crew of the ship Charity on route to Maryland from England testified about the hanging of passenger Mary Lee for suspicion of practicing witchcraft, according to the Proceedings of the Council of Maryland.

On Oct. 4, 1659, Edward Prescott was acquitted for "one Elizabeth Richardson hanged in his ship" for witchcraft, according to the proceedings of the Provincial Court. Plaintiff John Washington of Virginia couldn't attend court that day and because there was no testimony, Prescott was released. He blamed John Greene, captain of the ship, for the execution.

In 1674, John Cowman of St. Mary's County was arraigned, convicted and condemned for witchcraft, conjuration or enchantment upon the body of Eliza Goodall, according to an 1885 edition of the Baltimore Times. Cowman was pardoned by Charles Calvert.

On Oct. 9, 1685, Rebecca Fowler of Calvert County was hanged for practicing witchcraft. She was the only person executed in Maryland for witchcraft, according to the 1938 book "Crime and Punishment in Early Maryland."

One story about Moll Dyer says there was careful consultation as Dyer's neighbors decided to force her away after their crops were ruined and their livestock died. Another account says the decision was fueled by binge drinking at the alms house. Both stories say countrymen bore down on Dyer's hut with torches on a cold February night in 1697. Her house set ablaze, Dyer sought refuge in the surrounding woods and the men did not pursue her.

"Nothing was heard of her for several days, until a boy hunting for his cattle in the woods espied her kneeling on a stone with one hand resting thereon and the other raised as if in prayer, or to curse her tormentors, wrote Joseph Morgan of Leonardtown in the 1890s.

"Her life had gone out in the dark, cold night, and she still rested in her suppliant position, frozen stiff with the Winter's cold. The story runs that she offered a prayer to be avenged on her persecutors and that a curse be put on them and their lands," he wrote.

The Beacon newspaper of Sept. 12, 1901, reported the experience of a young man returning to Leonardtown on horseback in the dead of night. "At Moll Dyer's run he stopped to water his horse. He says he noticed that another traveler was at the run and thinking he knew who it was, asked it to move. No attention was paid to the request and it was repeated somewhat more harshly. Surprised at the fright manifested by his horse, he turned and noted that the horseman he thought he knew was riding a headless animal, and while gazing at this unusual appearance he distinctly saw the spectral horse part in the middle and the horseman disappear between the two disjointed ends."

Moll Dyer's Run was cited in a deed from 1857. There were five houses around the run, according to a May 1854 survey of the area, on the east side of Clay Hill Road, which is today's Route 5. The road that later became Moll Dyer Road was already there.

By 1895, 60 acres of land near Clay Hill Road was called Moll Dyer's Hill, just north of Redgate.

In 1968, Philip Love, an editor for The Evening Star, began searching for Moll Dyer's rock. He and his wife found what was supposed to be that rock in the woods of Stephen Foxwell's farm, a farm that is today home of Lil' Margaret's Bluegrass Festival.

But Love was not the first to claim finding the infamous rock. "In a clearing up on Clover Lot, Mr. John T. Yates found in a gully, not far from the run, the legendary ‘Moll Dyer's stone.' The knee prints on the stone are still visible," according to the Beacon of April 13, 1911. According to land records, Clover Lot was then part of Foxwell's farm and is today located at 42660 Moll Dyer Road, home of William and Alice Holly. Next door is Elizabeth Holly, who moved to the first house on the left in 1968.

On Oct. 14, 1972, the local National Guard, which was housed in today's Leonardtown library, hauled the 875-pound rock up from the Clover Lot to the old county jail, owned by the St. Mary's County Historical Society, in front of the circuit courthouse where it rests today.

Elizabeth Holly said she was at work the day they moved the rock, which tore up her driveway in the process. She heard the story of Moll Dyer when she and her husband moved in and was aware of the rock's story, but said recently of the witch, "She ain't bothered us."

NOTE: The Moll Dyer mystery will most likely never be solved. I have heard of the apparitions that haunt the rock and courthouse, but is it Moll Dyer. Witchcraft is a Maryland much of our history and legends are the result of people who practiced or were accused of practicing the 'craft'. Though I'm a transplanted Marylander, I was raised just across the Mason-Dixon line in Pennsylvania and accustomed to the craft for healing through my ancestors and others who kept the tradition intact...Lon



Witchcraft trials and executions were facts of life in colonial Maryland.

From Southern Maryland to the Eastern Shore and as far north as Anne Arundel County, historians have documented at least 12 cases of persons prosecuted or persecuted in the 1600s and early 1700s because of accusations that they practiced witchcraft.

There wasn't the same sort of hysteria in Maryland that there was in Massachusetts, where 19 men and women were executed and many imprisoned for witchcraft in 1692.

But Maryland and neighboring Pennsylvania and Virginia all had witchcraft trials, according to Hagerstown-based historian John Nelson.

Two of the earliest witchcraft cases in the Maryland State Archives involve executions aboard ships bound for Maryland from England.

Two men who recently had arrived on the Charity of London told colonial officials in St. Mary's City in 1654 that the ship's crew had hanged an old woman named Mary Lee after she was accused of sorcery.

Her supposed crime: summoning a relentless storm that some on board blamed on "the malevolence of witches."

The second shipboard execution involved George Washington's great-grandfather, John Washington of Westmoreland County, Va. He accused ship owner Edward Prescott in 1659 of hanging Elizabeth Richardson as a witch.

Prescott acknowledged the hanging at his trial but was acquitted after he said the ship's captain, John Green, was the one responsible. The trial was in Patuxent, in either Anne Arundel or Charles counties.

Maryland's only recorded execution for witchcraft on land occurred Oct. 9, 1685, in Calvert County. Rebecca Fowler was hanged after a jury found her guilty of "certain evil and diabolical arts called witchcrafts, enchantments, charms [and] sorceries."

Hannah Edwards, also of Calvert County, was acquitted in 1686 of similar charges.

St. Mary's County is rich in witchcraft history, with three cases in the historical record and a folk tale that is perhaps Maryland's best-known bit of witch lore.

There is no historical record of Moll Dyer, but her legend is as enduring as the 875-pound boulder in front of the Old Jail Museum in Leonardtown that supposedly bears her hand print.

The reported witch is said to have been driven from her home on the coldest night of the year by townsfolk who burned her cabin. Dyer died of exposure and was found with her hand frozen to the rock, the story goes.

Maryland's last recorded witchcraft trial was held in Annapolis in 1712. A jury acquitted Virtue Violl of Talbot County of using witchcraft to harm the health of an invalid neighbor.


North Carolina Conjurer 'Dr. Possum' - 8/18/09 - Six or seven years ago, three women came to Doctor Possum’s home wanting the Celtic witch and root doctor to tell them if their husbands were cheating on them.

Douglas Helvie, who goes by “Doctor Possum” for his work practicing the African-inspired magical practice of hoodoo, looked to his Norse runes to help see the truth. The 24 symbols carved into chips of rock help the conjureman tap into his psychic consciousness, he said.

What he saw about two of the women gave him pause.

“What I’m seeing right here is you’re not being cheated on. What I’m seeing right here is you’re cheating on your significant other,” said Helvie, as he recalled the memory from inside his store “The Hex House,” recently opened in February of this year.

He sells herbs, candles, coffin nails and books on the occult in the store, located behind his home in Ernul.

A black leather top hat perched on his head and a silver pentagram hanging from his neck, Helvie said he saw that the second woman was cheating with two men. The color ran out of her face, he said, and she asked him how he knew.

“I see what I see,” Helvie said. “You come to me, you ask me to do this reading, I tell you what I’m going to see.”

The 48-year old has been doing psychic readings and other work for years, as he’s a believer in the Wicca faith and a practicing Celtic witch. Just recently, he was also trained in hoodoo.

He completed a mail-in course with Catherine Yronwode of the California-based Lucky Mojo Curio Co. on Feb. 10, and his certification hangs on the wall of The Hex House.

“The hoodoo is a magical practice, it’s not a religious practice,” he said. “It’s something that a person of any religion can practice, if they understand there are certain things it encompasses.”

He said that mostly women come to see him for psychic readings or to pick up a mojo hand — which is a small bag that he fills with herbs such as lavender, rose petal, myrrh, orange peel — for help with love or romance issues.

But there are some things he won’t do as a root doctor or conjureman, such as death spells, or magic to make a person fall in love.

“I won’t put a love spell on somebody for you,” he said. “I’m not going to cage anybody for you. I don’t want the karma, thank you very much.”

Helvie said he has, however, done spiritual healings (one time he said he helped clear out a person’s headache using meditation techniques), he’s done spells to help ward off “good old-fashioned bad luck,” and he’s done psychic readings. He also has small statues of bears, a cat and a dog in The Hex House to help a person’s pet.

“If somebody comes to me, like they have a pet that’s sick or seems to be having difficulties, I’ll do that for free,” he said.

When he works the magic, he said he draws on powers from different sources such as nature or realms beyond normal human consciousness.

“When I practice hoodoo, it’s not uncommon for me to draw on my pagan gods,” he said. “Having said that, I might be … calling blessings from the Buddha. It’s kind of open-ended and it’s got many facets.”

As for his background, Helvie says he’s always had an interest in the occult. He attributes part of his attraction to his astrological sign — he’s a Scorpio, which characterizes people of intensity and contradictions that often have an interest in the paranormal and other unknown mysteries, according to

From the age of eight until he was 25, Helvie said he was a practicing Satanist. “Not the puppy-killing, animal-sacrificing kind, but I had gotten involved in that behind my mother’s back as a youth for reasons that are very deeply personal,” he said.

By the time he left the religion, he had risen through the ranks to become a lord high priest. But he left Satanism, and “frankly didn’t look back,” realizing it was causing him to be more and more of a negative person.

Helvie found a group in New Bern practicing Wicca, which is a nature-based religion that recognizes that spirits exist in all things, he said, explaining his own interpretation of the religion. “Plants, trees, people, and animals, everything we believe has a spirit,” he said.

The religion also recognizes a male and a female deity, he said. “It’s not only a god or male deity that exists out there, but there’s a goddess, a female-equal, but separate deity that exists with the god.”

Helvie said he realized from the beginning that the religion was what he’d been looking for in his heart, and now he’s practiced Wicca going on 22 years. He has even started his own branch called Eternal Harvest, and he practices a form of Wicca that is an amalgamation of Germanic and Celtic techniques, he said.

He took the hoodoo course to become a root doctor and conjure man because he felt people, especially in the Southeast, would be more uncomfortable going to see someone who calls himself a witch.

“It’s kind of a social door opener,” he said.

As for why he’s called “Doctor Possum” — he explained the name’s origin came from one day working maintenance at the New Bern Golf & Country Club when he saw a possum on the grounds.

His co-workers, who knew his faith background, had nicknamed him “Doctor Buzzard” after several other root doctors, but he said he was warned in a dream that he couldn’t keep the name.

“‘You’re doing magic on the possum,’” said Helvie, recalling what his co-workers said.

“I’m just petting it!” he said he told them, but the name stuck.

And while Wicca gives him personal powers, its ethics and codes of conduct also guide his life.

“I’m amazed by the potential, how if a person really learns the ancient ways, they can empower their lives, and help them frankly be better people,” he said.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Witch Legends and Real-Life Encounters

In keeping with the Halloween spirit, I have found a few interesting 'witchy' posts from the past years. Though this is only a small sample, I hope you'll enjoy reading:

Bell Witch Story: Missing Grave Marker Returns After 40 Years

11/5/08 - The latest chapter of Middle Tennessee's famed Bell Witch story could be titled "The Tale of the Homesick Headstone."

It begins in 1860, when the 22-year-old great-granddaughter of John Bell died and was buried in the family cemetery, her rest undisturbed until the headstone disappeared about a century later.

It ends earlier this month, when the missing marker turned up in Nashville, upside down and broken in two.

"The stone was found in Madison," said Tim Henson, a local historian and curator of the Adams Museum in the Robertson County town. "It was used as a stepping stone in someone's yard for at least 41 years."

Now the marker is in its rightful place. Getting it there had its spooky moments, which seems fitting for a member of the family at the center of one of the South's most celebrated ghost stories.

Story begins in 1817

In 1817, an angry spirit took up residence on the Bell farm in Adams, about an hour's drive northwest of Nashville. Some people identified her as Kate Batts, an eccentric woman who believed John Bell had cheated her in a land deal.

She tormented the family, slapping, pinching and pulling the children's hair. She sang hymns, preached and plagued their father, who fell into recurring bouts of illness until he died in December 1820, a terrible smell on his lips and a mysterious bottle of black liquid nearby.

The tale has been the subject of books and movies, including An American Haunting (2006). And townspeople and tourists say Kate still haunts today, throwing salad spoons and blue balls in the air.

The supernatural Bell mystique may extend to the headstone of Mary Allen Bell Coke, if the story its finder tells is any indication.

The marker had made its way to a trash bin in Madison, where a homeowner found it years ago and added it to the lawn.

"A contractor from Springfield, working on that house, brought it home," Henson said. The contractor, Janie Hudgens, was intrigued and went online to research the dead woman. That led to funeral director and Bell descendant Bob Bell in Springfield, who called Henson.

Hudgens said that after she and husband Sparky found the stone, she made it her mission to find out where it came from.

"I'm from Alabama, and we respect the dead there," Hudgens said.

"When we found the headstone, that bothered me. For three nights straight, I was on the computer till 3 or 4 in the morning looking for where the tombstone belonged."

The night before they were to give Henson the marker, they were in bed with the room dark when the screen came to life, static crossing its screen. Not long after she turned it off, "it came on again, and it was on the page about the Bell family."

Then there was the wind, which she said "blew the deadbolt-locked door open."

As she told Henson, "I think this stone wants to get home."

Henson recently took it to the cemetery and placed it on the grave, but that was just for a brief visit. It'll remain in storage until it can be safely and securely displayed.

"We just want to place it back in the Bell cemetery that it belongs in," he said. "We know within a foot or two where it's supposed to go. We want to put it back so that it can't be taken away again."

The Bell Witch: An American Haunting

The Bell Witch : The Full Account


The Witches of Canewdon St. Nicholas Church

Click for video

Haunted Earth visits Canewdon Church, famous for it`s alleged connection with witches and witchcraft.

Here Chris investigates local history as well as connecting with the spiritual presences of this grave yard.

Historical Background

Canewdon is a village in the Rochford District of Essex in England.

The origin of the name is unclear. It is believed by some to come from Canute the Great. The village is on a hill, and locally is claimed to be the site of an ancient camp used by Canute, during a battle during his invasion of Essex in 1013.

The 14th century church of St. Nicholas, with its 15th century tower and porch, stands on a hill 128 feet above the marshes. The oldest part of the church is the outside wall of the north aisle which contains many Roman bricks, presumably from an earlier building.

There is much superstition around the village, believed to be a centre of witchcraft. Legend has it that while the church tower stands, there will always remain six witches in Canewdon. Local folklore also has it that if you walk around the church seven times (anticlockwise) on Halloween you will see a witch, and thirteen times you will disappear. Both these stories can make the village a popular destination on Halloween, to the extent that the police have been known to seal off the village to non-residents.

Whilst the church of St Nicholas stands full on Beacon Hill, Canewdon, it is said that there will be as many witches in silk as in cotton.

A lot of the folklore probably came from George Pickingill who, living in the village during the late 19th century, still apparently practised pagan rituals in the church grounds. The idea that something magical can happen from running about the church is probably an exaggeration of what scared locals saw the witch master and his nymphs doing 'walking the circle' as it is known in paganism.

Most of the village was built in the mid-Sixties, much to the old locals' dismay, and until recently there has been an "us and them" situation.

There are many ghost stories within the village, most again central to the church. The most famous ghost is the grey lady who reportedly floats down from the church's west gate towards the river Crouch. These stories often attract ghost-hunters and young curious people who can prove a nuisance to the village.

The image was captured at Canewdon St. Nicholas Church. Famous for its tales of witches and witchcraft. The police normally seal off the church at Halloween due to so many people trying to access the graveyard. The image was taken with no external lighting... there have been tales of a fire elemental at the graveyard.

The Witches' Craft: The Roots of Witchcraft & Magical Transformation

The Word: Welsh Witchcraft, The Grail of Immortality And The Sacred Keys


Film Crew 'Possessed' During Seance at Pendle Hill

4/11/09 - A film crew got a little more than they bargained for when making a documentary about the Pendle witches.

As part of Pendle’s Paranormal Road Map, presented by Clitheroe-based TV historian Simon Entwistle, the crew bravely ventured into a barn on Pendle Hill to conduct a seance in the hope of contacting the spirits of the witches.

According to Simon, the team got a fright when three of them ‘became possessed’, causing them to turn ‘distressed and violently ill’.

Simon described the material, which also includes a dramatic reconstruction, as the best he had ever seen.

And he is convinced the witches’ 400-year-old story is worthy of a place on the silver screen.

The 11-strong film crew, with a stunt man and 20 actors in 17th Century attire, descended on Pendle Hill to make the documentary.

But it was not long before the ‘spooky’ aspect of the setting became apparent.

An elaborate stunt had to be cancelled when a seemingly fit horse involved went lame, according to Simon.

The first part of the film deals with the history of the Pendle witch trials and what is now considered an appalling miscarriage of justice.

Members of re-enactment group, 17th Century Life and Times, were on hand to ensure complete historical accuracy.

Simon said they did a “fantastic job.” He added: “For me personally, it’s the best material I have ever seen relating to the Pendle witches.

“It’s the best story in East Lancashire. In America they have a huge museum in Salem and quite proud of the story.

“People come from all over for the Pendle witch tours. If Steven Spielberg got his teeth into it I’m sure he’d do a fantastic job.”

The latter part of the material features the seance, co-ordinated by renowned ghost hunter Roy Basnett and the Pathfinder PI team.

Director Mark Howard, whose previous credits include Roddy Smythe Investigates with Peter Kay, said: “Almost 400 years on from the actual event, here we are, with actors in clothing from the period, possibly walking in the very same tracks trodden by the original protagonists. Bit of a weird feeling really.”

The tour around the hill, described by the crew as “informative and unsettling,” also features Liverpool actress and radio presenter Margi Clarke and BBC radio presenter Alanna Rice.

It was produced by Manchester-based independent company GCH Entertainment and filming took place on Sunday April 5.

The Lancashire Witches: A Romance of Pendle Forest.

History of the Pendle Witches and Their Magic


Abducted By Witches, Woman Recalls Her Shocking Life in the Coven

4/24/09 - At the age of 15, Nikki Russo checked into a California hospital for treatment of an eating disorder. It was in this hospital that she was eventually abducted by a nurse, initiated into a coven of witches and thrown into a dark world filled with drugs, alcohol, abuse and intimidation.

Today, Russo’s story and struggle to recovery is chronicled in the new book The Pomegranate Seed: Nikki Russo's Sojourn Through Institutional Failure And The World Of The Occult

The book, published by iUniverse, is written by veteran Gulf Coast Newspaper staff writer Bob Morgan, who first interviewed Russo in October 2007 and wrote an article regarding her story.

Why come forward with such a painful book now?

“Timing is everything,” Russo, now 37, said this week. “It’s a means of survival. You can only keep the memories down to a certain point. It gets to the point that more or less you have to deal with it.

“I hope that people walk away with the knowledge of what is out there and what can happen,” Russo said. “I hope this book can open people’s eyes.”

Morgan, who has won 20 Alabama and Mississippi press awards, said Russo’s story is the most compelling he has personally encountered during his years in journalism.

“Two things I would say about Nikki’s story. First, anybody who has a loved one needs to hear Nikki’s story and confront the reality of what can potentially happen when people turn to societal institutions that should be trustworthy. And second, the amount of courage it took for Nikki to come forward and tell this story is beyond question. The book is not only shocking, but intensely personal.”

According to Morgan, the tone of The Pomegranate Seed was set by two considerations. The 2007 newspaper article, once it hit the Internet, was scrutinized by many Wiccans or witchcraft practitioners, some of whom dismissed Russo’s story as so-called “Satanic panic.” Thus, Morgan said the book was written with an eye to dates, court documents and depositions that leave no doubt that Russo’s story happened in the real world.

The other consideration was Russo herself and the personal pain and trauma she continues to go through after nearly 20 years. Going over the events that occurred from 1988-90 during interviews for the book often pushed Russo to her limits, Morgan said. He adds that on some occasions Russo had to take a week off before delving into the material again.

“You and I might take a day for granted but Nikki does not,” Morgan said.

According to Morgan, he got the idea for the book title from a poem of Homer, the ancient Greek writer. The “Hymn to Demeter” tells the story of a maiden who was forced to live her life partially in the light and partially in the dark because she ate pomegranate seed in the Underworld.

It was through this process and release of the book that Russo hoped she would find the closure she has so desperately sought. For Russo, unfortunately, the release of the book has not brought that closure.

“When stuff like this happens, you can’t walk away from it, it stays with you.” she said. “I’ll never get back what was taken. I’ll never be able to get away from the memories.”

Some of the frustrations that Russo encountered almost 20 years ago in dealing with the State of California, she continues to experience today in connection with what she calls the “victim-witness” program.

In the same way that Russo had to change her name years ago to escape threats from coven members, she knows today that the person they abducted no longer exists. At the same time however, she is comfortable with the person she is today.

After she left the “Brotherhood,” the coven of witches in which she was initiated, a deprogrammer told Russo she had two choices: She could either go into a padded room or try and function and contribute to society.

“The padded room was really not that appealing,” Russo said.

The Pomegranate Seed: Nikki Russo?s Sojourn Through Institutional Failure And The World Of The Occult


Grace Sherwood: The Witch of Pungo

6/3/09 - More than 300 years ago, a series of strange events struck old Princess Anne County, Va. farmers.

Cotton plants withered. Cows' milk dried up. Husbands' eyes wandered from their wives.

Who was to blame? According to the local women, Grace Sherwood.

The farmer's wife knew a little too much about herbs, was a little too pretty and wore clothing that was a little too tight, according to local historians. So they accused her of witchcraft.

A judge ordered Sherwood to be tried by ducking. So on July 10, 1706, with her thumbs tied to her big toes, Sherwood was ducked in the Lynnhaven River.

The street leading to her ducking spot now carries her legend as Witchduck Road.

"It's named after Grace Sherwood's ducking," said local historian Deni Norred, who co- wrote "Ghosts, Witches and Weird Tales of Virginia Beach." "She was the first person tried by water in Virginia for witchcraft."

Sherwood escaped her bonds and swam to safety, which the court considered proof of her devilish dealings. The day's wisdom dictated that an innocent woman would have sunk, Norred said.

Sherwood served several years in jail before returning to her three sons. She lived to be nearly 80 and died at her farm in Pungo around 1740.

Witchduck Road isn't the only landmark named after Sherwood or her trial. There's also Witch Duck Bay, Witch Duck Point, Witch Point Trail and Sherwood Lane.

Three years ago, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine exonerated Sherwood. A bronze statue at Sentara Bayside Hospital, located on the corner of Independence Boulevard and North Witchduck Road, honors her legend.

But according to local stories, that legend isn't quite over. Some say Sherwood returns to visit her ducking spot every July and can be seen as a spot of light dancing on Witch Duck Bay.


Grace Sherwood's Story

Early court records tell the tale of Grace Sherwood, who was tried in 1706 as Virginia Beach's first witch. Unfortunately, there are no existing images of Grace. Her story is perhaps the most fascinating of the folklore in the history of Tidewater. Witchcraft was a very serious and real thing to the colonists. The cult was believed to be a threat to the Christian Church, and everyone during the early 1700's was on the lookout for witches, who could be recognized by so-called unusual or mysterious behaviors.

Grace lived her entire life in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach (named for Indian chief Machiopungo), and married James Sherwood with whom she had three sons. She was said to be strikingly attractive, string-willed, and a non-conformist by nature. These traits were resented by her neighbors, who began spreading rumors about her witch-like behavior. She was accused of blighting gardens, causing livestock to die, and influencing the weather.

After eight years of constant slander and bickering by her neighbors, Grace was formally charged with suspicions of witchcraft. A jury of women were ordered to search her body for suspicious or unusual markings, thought to be brands of the devil himself, and naturally the jury found, "marks not like theirs or like those of any other women." However, neither the local court nor the Attorney General in Williamsburg, would pass judgment on declaring her a witch. It was finally decided that Grace, "by her own consent, be tried in the water by Ducking, (dunking)." Water was considered to be the purest element and the theory was that it would reject anything of an evil nature. Based on this theory, the accused was tied up and thrown into the water. If the person drowned, he was declared innocent of witchcraft; if he could stay afloat until he could free himself, he was declared a witch.

On July 10, 1706, Grace was marched from the jail (which located near the present day site of Old Donation Church) down the dirt road (now Witch Duck Road) to the Lynnhaven River. This portion of the river has since been named Witch Duck Bay in memory of the occasion. This being a big event, hoards of people from all over the colony flocked to the scene as news of the Ducking had spread throughout the Commonwealth.

Grace Sherwood was tied crossbound with the thumb of her right hand to the big toe of her left foot, and the thumb of her left hand to the big toe of her right foot, and thrown into the water. As predicted by her accusers, Grace managed to stay afloat until she could free herself and swim to shore. She was jailed and awaiting trial for witchcraft for nearly eight years, when the charges against her were dropped due to the softening of her accusers hearts, and she was set free. She moved back to her Pungo home and lived there until her death at the age of 80.

Many stories have been told and retold over the years about this most remarkable woman. One of the many tall tales that have been handed down from generation to generation has to do with the day of her ducking. When they led Grace Sherwood through the crowd that had turned out to see her put into the water she told them, "All right, all of you po' white trash, you've worn out your shoes traipsin' here to see me ducked, but before you'll get back home again you are goin' to get the duckin' of your life." When they put Grace into the water the sky was as bright blue as a bird's wing, but immediately afterward it grew pitch black, the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed all across the heavens. The terrified people started for home, only to be washed off the roads and into the ditches by a regular cloudburst.

Witchcraft Myths in American Culture

Mysteries and Legends of Virginia: True Stories of the Unsolved and Unexplained (Myths and Mysteries Series)

The Witch of Pungo and other historical stories of the early colonies

Just the Facts? Amazon Aliens, Connecticut I-95 UFO and Kentucky Bigfoot Encounter

Amazon ET?

As biologically diverse as the Amazon is, this peculiar creature would not appear to be a natural inhabitant of the Brazilian jungle or, indeed, Earth for that matter.

Standing just a few feet from a mesmerising flashing light, this unidentified being could offer proof that we are not alone in the universe.

The image comes from a video obtained by noted paranormal writer Michael Cohen and is claimed to have been filmed by two British tourists visiting the Mamaus region of the Amazon.

While the camera is focused on some young children, seen in the distance behind them is a silvery light.

However, it is only when the eyes are diverted to the surrounding jungle does it become apparent that there is a small being standing side-on just to the right of a tree, appearing to arch its back.

It is the 'unmistakable' form of an 'alien'. No explanation is offered as to what the light may be.

While for many the images can simply be dismissed as a well-executed hoax, Mr Cohen, who runs the noted paranormal website, suggests the photos go some way to proving the existence of aliens.

He said: 'This is highly compelling footage that will be hard to discredit.

'It comes from an area known for experiencing intense UFO activity. It is rather apparent that aliens are interested in this region due to its biological diversity.

'The area was also the focus of a high-level Brazilian government investigation known as Operation Prato, where the army was sent in to monitor and confirm an alien presence in the region.'

He said the Brazilian government denied there was an Operation Prato for years before conceding it did occur and released large amounts of files associated with it.

Having obtained the footage, Mr Cohen, who is well known within UFO and paranormal circles, was inundated with requests from Hollywood producers keen to use his proof.

'This footage will be used in direct collaboration with an American film and will serve to highlight this as proof of this footage's veracity,' he said. - dailymail

NOTE: Mr. Cohen is well know as a huckster within the paranormal community. His claims of alien invasions and communication with extraterrestrials continue. This new claim is most likely another fabrication...Lon


The 'dead' rising from the grave in Iowa

Bones and caskets popping up eveywhere!

That which is buried six-feet-under, should probably remain six-feet-under.

So when one Iowa woman visited her relatives in Lehigh's Oak Grove Cemetery only to find herself stepping onto the set of a horror film -- complete with exposed bones and jutted out caskets -- she felt nothing short of disturbed.

"To me it's just the lowest form of disrespect," Karen Long-Fladeboe, told Des Moines' KCCI-8.

The graveyard's resemblance to "Night Of The Living Dead" is now of public interest, but caretakers have actually known about the erosion problem for at least two years.

In 2009, heavy rains washed away the wall supporting part of the cemetery, leaving misplaced gravestones, bones, and coffins littered along the property.

"The whole hillside just dropped into the ravine, and there's nothing nobody can do about it," Phil Burgland, a township trustee, told local ABC affiliate WOI-DT. "The whole hillside just slid."

Burgland says that he and the other trustees "don't want a situation like this," but the protocol for moving the deceased isn't exactly cut and dry. Any relocating of a gravesite requires "cause of death, date of death, and next of kin," according to Burgland. With the cemetery in shambles and many of the headstones worn over the course of a century, finding that information is almost like catching a ghost. - THP


Two Large Disks seen at I-95 Crash

Unedited - Connecticut: On Sunday evening, October 9, 2011 at approx 7:25 pm near exit 73 (Niantic/Flanders) all cars on I-95 south came to a complete halt. As usual, this automobile back up was a few miles long and no cars or trucks could move. It was a complete standstill.

My wife and I had just completed a wonderful dinner in the quaint town of Mystic and began our trip home to Hartford. I recall telling my wife, this evening had been one of the most beautiful crystal clear blue skies I had ever seen. There were no clouds present. It seemed the sky had two or three beautiful hues of blue. It was very breath taking indeed. Because the weather was so warm and pleasant, I opened the moon roof on the car to feel the night air as we drove home.

A sighting of One Object in the distance on I-95

As we were heading south on I-95 and passing exit 74 or 75, I noticed to my right off in a distance, a stationary object. This object was a couple of hundred feet in the air and had blinking lights (approximately 4 or 5 lights). As we were traveling at 55 to 65 mph and the road began to turn away from the direction of the object, I let go the image to maintain focus on the road ahead. I thought to myself, what was that object? Was it a large flat rounded helicopter with four / five lights blinking? Was it a large flat round floating balloon with four / five flashing lights? Was it a large water tower with five blinking lights? If a water tower, where were the tower legs? I had to put it out of my mind to watch the road and focus on the fast moving traffic.

A sighting of Two Objects near – I-95

A mile or two down the road, we came to a complete stop on I-95. We were now near exit 73. All I could see in front of me was a long line of red backup lights. In my rear view mirror all I saw see were white headlights.

I could not believe it, here it is one of the most beautiful evenings I have had and yet here I sit in a parking lot on I-95. As we sat there in standstill traffic, I decided to look up through the moon roof over my right hand shoulder to view the sky. What I saw next, gave me first a double take, then a shock.

The object, I had just seen a few miles back was here - “hovering”. What I saw was a large flat, rounded disk (see object 1 below) with 5 lights, blinking on and off. These lights seemed to blink in a reticulating fashion.

This object was approximately 400 to 500 feet above the ground and about 200 feet from the road.

Just then, I had another shock; there was more than one object! This second object (see object 2 below) was moving slightly next to this first object (object 1).

Object 2 was at a slightly lower altitude (possibly 50 feet below object 1). These two objects also appeared to be within 100 feet of each other.

Both objects were exactly the same shape, had the same number of lights, same color and all 5 of the lights visible were blinking. It seems one craft lights blinked in the reticulating fashion and the other objects lights just came on and off.

As I focused on this second object, I realized, it was moving very slowly towards –I-95 (us and the two / three cars behind us). I remember stating out-loud, “Oh Jesus”. (Comment: My wife, being a strong Christian, I assume was insulted and ignored my comment. I am sure she was concerned I said this. She also does not believe in this phenomenon and I did not bring this to her attention.)

I was in shock, as I have never seen a disk in person before let alone two objects at one time. I also knew we were in a position of vulnerability. We were unable to move until the traffic could move. I felt a little panic knowing this.

I also wondered, were we being watched by these two floating objects? Were these objects observing the cars and trucks in this backup?

I then thought for a split second, there could possibly be a third object? but could not verify that assumption. I had a strong feeling, that there was a third object but could not get a good look at it. I just “sensed it” another presence.

As the cars began to move, I was glad we could leave the area. I forced myself to brush off what I just witnessed as a not so happy observation. As I traveled down the road, I had the inclination to look one more time in my rear view mirror. Sure enough, there it was in the rear view mirror where we left it. I could still see one stationary object with its lights blinking on and off near the highway.

In retrospect, I now realize, two things: 1) when I saw the first object from a distance (a few miles away before the back up), the second object “object 2” must have been behind the other, or just showed up after we all came to a complete stop. 2) If I had not had my moon roof open and looked up when I chose to do so, I would have never seen these two objects. The angle of these objects was above and to the right of my roof. Meaning, it would have been impossible for me to see these objects. The only way I would have seen these in the back up is if I was 20 or 30 cars back and was looking up to the sky in the direction of the right hand side of the highway.

I know people saw this. I am sure they wish, they had not.

Description of Two Objects

These objects were disk shaped. Both had 5 lights along the rim. This tells me, the craft had more than five lights perhaps 15 to twenty around the entire circumference of the craft. The objects where two half’s of an inverted bowl.

Each craft had to be 2 to 3 inches in length from at arms length. According to my calculations this would make them approximately 80 feet long. The height of the craft would be ¼ to 1/5th of its length. This calculation assumes the objects were 200 feet from the road (us) and 500 feet in the air. Estimated distance to objects from my location would be approximately 538 feet.

The lights blinked on and off each second or less. One object lights seemed to reticulate in a sequence.

Though the sky was now dark, the lights from these objects and headlights from the backup traffic seemed to show the exterior color of these objects were “silver”. In other words, I knew they were not black or some other color. More silver / light gray like coloring.

Report to the Police

Given this was a major accident that occurred on I-95, and not knowing how the accident occurred. I thought the police might like to know what I saw. I first contemplated their reaction. Would they think me a NUT doing so? However, I rationalized after a day or two, if I saw this while driving and focused on these objects, I may have had an accident. The cars had been moving fast, the road bends and any amount of time eyes being off the road to view an unusual sight could cause a car accident.

I first contacted the dispatch officer at East Lyme a few days after this sighting. The dispatch officer heard my story and referred me to the investigating officer of the I-95 crash at Montville. I shared the story again this time via phone voice mail to this officer. A week later, not hearing back from the officer, I decided to follow up by email to the head officer of the police station. I inquired, if they knew anything and to please share what they had heard so I could report this event to Mufon.

To-date, I have not been contacted. Does the police know something? Did others report this same event? I may never know. Perhaps they think, I am a NUT!


I am still in shock, the memory of what I saw that evening I cannot change. What I saw that evening was both awe inspiring and scary at the same time. This was real. It was frightening and interesting all wrapped up in one event.

Someday I hope the government will come clean and share what they know. I was not looking for this - It was present.

I will add, the following day - another witness reported a similar craft to NUFORC near exit 85 (10-10-2011) a week later two witnesses submitted a similar craft near Hartford to MUFON. - MUFON CMS

Connecticut UFO's & Extraterrestrials!: A Look at the Sightings &


Close Encounter with Bigfoot

Unedited: This is a story told to me by a good friend that i go to church with,I 100 percent know this is a true story.

I'll do my best to tell it best i can but as you read it, it will become clear why some of the facts are hard to find and get to.

I have spoken to my friend a few times about this at great length and the event is totally amazing to say the least.

This took place in the 1980's (best i know) in and around the Hutch & Colmar area of bell county Kentucky. This area has had many Bigfoot encounters/stories over the last 50 years.

Well as the story goes several teenage boys were doing their normal thing for around here,teaming up and going 4 wheeler riding on the old strip mine roads and logging road. This is a normal thing around here and a fun thing to do on weekends.

Some of the 4 wheelers had 2 boys per 4 total there were around 5-8 people in this riding party,maybe a few more or less. Well, as they are going up on of the strip mine roads they see what they at first think is a big stump on a ridge but as they get closer the stump is moving. The road they were on went towards this big thing, as they got closer it starting coming toward them and of course they hit the gas on the 4 wheelers and tried to hurry past the massive creature.

At this point the Bigfoot really starts chasing the four wheelers,the bigfoot cuts down the ridge to try and cut the boys off, the first few riders make it past the area where the bigfoot is coming to, but my friends brother who is on the back of a four wheeler with two people on it are at the end of the riding group line, well this bigfoot makes its to the cut off point at almost the same times as the last four wheeler with the 2 boys on it.

The bigfoot makes a grab for the boy on the back of the four wheeler,this is my friends brother,it either grabs him slightly or the four wheeler (not sure on this but one or the other) and almost rippes him off the four wheeler,but due to the speed they rip loose from the bigfoot.

Of course these boy are scared almost to death about this and now all these years later it is very hard to get them to even speak about it.I talked to my friend about maybe getting his brother to tell me even more details but he said he can't hardly talk about it without breaking down and crying as it was so terrorifing.

The other boys are also like this,they can't talk in great detail as it really bothers them to this day.
You can read more at Close Encounter with Bigfoot

When Bigfoot Attacks


Bigfoot in Kentucky

The Wildman of Kentucky: The Mystery of Panther Rock
Purchase your copy at Mothman Dynasty: Chicago's Winged Humanoids

 photo fortean-reptilian_zpsb0c95d60.png

NOTE: Any use of witness information, which includes any attempt to contact a witness or persons involved in an event, is strictly prohibited without the written consent of 'Phantoms and Monsters' and/or its associates.

Chicago & Regional Winged Humanoid / Flying Entity Sightings & Encounters - Witness Sightings Map

NOTE: Any use of witness information, which includes any attempt to contact a witness or persons involved in an event, is strictly prohibited without the written consent of Lon Strickler.


Donations for the 'Phantoms & Monsters' newsletter, blog and subsequent research are essential and always appreciated. You can use one of the donation buttons or go to and use my email as the payee. Thanks again for reading and for your continued support. Lon

Please help support
'Phantoms and Monsters'