October 31, 2013
I always welcome communications from professional scholars as well as everyday interested parties on the topic of witchcraft, particularly reports of its occurrence in the modern world. (I am intrigued by both the unexplainable and the all-too-clearly fraudulent: What does it say about a place that such clear hoaxes can still gain a foothold?)
I was especially excited to see what additional contacts and conversations I might be able to gather as Halloween approached, particularly since I had elected to make a research trip up to Salem.
But while I expected a spike in messages and I expected many of these offerings to be of questionable benefit to my studies — Halloween inevitably brings out both pranksters and the apparently insane — never before I have seen so many that, for lack of a better word, frightened me.
There were two reasons for why these, far more so than any I received in the past, are so disturbing:
1. The effort that went into them. Quite simply, if this is a joke, it is a bizarrely committed one: the messages show no sign of stopping and they only grow stranger and more menacing.
2. The knowledge of me. While we live in a time when no one can expect complete privacy, there is still an expectation that we
While I am reluctant to share these works to further encourage (or enrage) those sending them, I will offer a couple of samples in case others have a different interpretation of them than threat:
Whether or not you believe witches are real, there is no denying that the fear and violence associated with them throughout history have all too often proved to be authentic.
To those responsible for these messages, whatever you may think of witchcraft or my work involving it, I ask you to respect my privacy and my safety. All others, I thank you for your continued interest and support.
I am headed out tonight to meet with an amateur scholar and descendent of one of the accused Salem witches who purports to have some very interesting information on the true nature of what his ancestor was involved in — come back tomorrow for the full report!