Thursday, October 29, 2015

Witch Versus Warlock

No, that's not the title of the latest Hollywood attempt to capitalize on the popularity of witchcraft, released just in time for Halloween. It's the latest courtroom drama to emerge from the Salem witchcraft scene.

The case pits witch Lori Sforza, who goes by the professional name Lori Bruno, against warlock Christian Day. At a hearing yesterday, Sforza won the first round and was granted a protective order against Day after accusing him of telephone and online harassment that she alleges has gone on for the last three years.

During testimony that at times became heated, Sforza accused Day of making incessant phone calls and humiliating her on Facebook. Day’s lawyer countered that the dispute stems from a onetime business partnership that fell apart. Day and Sforza both run occult shops in Salem.

I will point out that whether or not the dispute stems from a business partnership gone bad makes no difference in a harassment case. You simply don't harass or threaten people, no matter how upset you are or how good you think your reason might be. But I know from personal experience that this basic principle is quite hard for warlocks to comprehend.

During the hearing, Sforza reportedly told the judge that she can see into her own future, saying, ‘‘That’s why I'm here today.’’ Sforza, 75, uses the business name Lori Bruno and says she is a psychic witch who descends from a line of Italian witches. She also leads a pagan church in Salem.

Day, 45, who now lives in Louisiana, owns occult shops in Salem and New Orleans. Described on his website as the ‘‘world’s best-known warlock,’’ he organizes the Festival of the Dead in Salem, a series of occult-themed events every October that culminates in a Witches’ Halloween Ball.

The judge hearing the case said he was dismayed by the volume of late-night calls Day made to Sforza. After hearing the decision, Day, who didn’t testify, denied making the calls and then stormed out of the courthouse, according to The Globe. He told reporters he would appeal the order.

There's a reason I've been known to refer to the Salem witchcraft scene as "the clown shoes of magick" on this blog, and these folks and their associates are why. I have nothing against anyone who happens to live in Salem, Massachusetts - as a matter of fact, I have a number of OTO brothers and sisters who reside there of whom I think quite highly.

But frankly, the toxic behavior of this particular group is one of the biggest trainwrecks to ever transition from the occult world to the mainstream media. Complain all you want about the various Golden Dawn or Thelemic orders fighting among themselves, but compared to these folks they're complete amateurs. Or, perhaps, simply saner.

And personally, I know of no reason to doubt Sforza's account and agree with the court. Day has a long history of harassing people online, and even though he denied making the phone calls I assume the court could see otherwise from his phone records. This is the same guy who posted a death threat against me years ago because he thought I said something nasty about his ritual skull. I mean, come on!

On a related subject, it never ceases to amaze me how much of this online bullshit could be cleared up by treating online posts the same way we treat letters. Mailing a death threat to someone is a crime. Why shouldn't posting one be? I realize that in the online world it can be harder to identify the source of said threat, but our technology gets better all the time.

Think about a situation like last year's "gamergate," which included death threats, rape threats, doxxing, and the list goes on. But because of our outdated legal system, nobody could be prosecuted for any of it. Given the cowardly nature of online harassers, I expect that if there were real criminal penalties attached to posting threats we would see far fewer of them and the Internet would be a better place for everyone but trolls and assholes.

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