Monday, March 3, 2008

Pardons for British Witches

A political movement in Scotland is attempting to secure pardons for everyone convicted under British witchcraft laws that were repealed in the 1950's. All I can say is it's about time! Witchcraft laws are and were just plain silly, and were often used to prosecute anyone who was deemed undesirable in their community. Most of these people did no magick at all and were coerced into giving confessions under torture if they confessed at all.

An interesting relatively recent case that is being addressed by the pardon movement is that of Helen Duncan, who was convicted in 1944. She was a medium who appears to have been genuine enough that she was able to obtain information about the sinking of a British battleship that the government was covering up in order to preserve troop morale during World War II. Even though genuine spiritual powers seem to have been involved in the case, the real reason for her conviction was still political - she uncovered something that the government didn't want anyone to know.

The repeal of Britain's witchcraft laws set the stage for the arrival of modern Wicca, which was first publicized by Gerald Gardner in 1954.

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