January 19, 2012

The Salem Witches Hex Tim Tebow?

This started off with The Boston Herald calling the owner of local witch shop Crow Haven Corner, Lorelei and asking about curses. Apparently the New England Patriots' star quarterback Tom Brady made the cover of Sports Illustrated, which is considered some sort of curse in the sports world. When she mentioned that rituals can be used to neutralize negative energy it became a bigger scoop for the Herald, as they were the ones to break the news that the ritual would be held a few days later at the shop. It also became a surprising opportunity for good publicity for Lorelei and the store, as the story was picked up by local news outlets and quickly spread to syndication and national news outlets.

I figured the story was cute and would get a bit of coverage, but had no idea that when I showed up to witness the ritual at Crow Haven Corner at 12pm on Friday the 13th I would have to shove past gigantic news cameras just to get into the store. Fox, CBS, NBC, etc etc - they were all there. Must have been a slow news day!

 This doll isn't supposed to be scary, but tell that to my nightmares.

Honestly, I expected the ritual itself to be really cheesy after that whole Charlie Sheen thing last year, but it was surprisingly well-thought-out, politically correct, and positive. Lorelei even mentioned Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow saying he had "powerful energy..., magic[, and was] a force to be reckoned with," but went out of her way to say she wished him well, but wanted the Patriots to win. The whole thing was meant to be for neutralizing the Sports Illustrated "jinx" and to ask for victory for the team in the upcoming game, but still many news outlets sensationalized the story or just got it plain wrong, some going so far as to say things like " SALEM WITCHES HEX TIM TEBOW..."

Suddenly the story was everywhere, and the videos had gone viral.

That little circle second from the right represent bloggers.

All the publicity has been great in the eyes of the majority of most people. I have personally seen in the comments of may of these articles professed Christians and atheists going out of their way to say how this makes witches and religions associated with witchcraft look good. They are used to seeing witches in the media portrayed as a bunch of circus freaks, weirdos, and publicity whores and many noted how relieving it was to see a legitimate ritual; done in a fun way for a good cause.

The backlash, as always, came from the pagan community. Some pagans are so obsessed with the embarrassment associated with the aforementioned freaks and publicity whores they assume every witch in the news is just out to make a buck. This comes as no surprise to any witch that's ever been in the media. The moment you put yourself out there there are throngs of people shouting about how you're a sell out and judging you guilty of the crime of simply being in the media at all. These detractors inevitably end up resorting to making fun of the way you do your make-up, your weight, or accusing you of living in your parents basement playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Although sometimes the mockery is warranted.

It's just how it is. Don't know if that will ever change.

January 9, 2012

Laurie Cabot Closes Shop - Christian Day Opens Hex: New Orleans

The Salem Witch Wars: Never Again. 

When this cartoon was published in the newspaper October 2007 Laurie Cabot was a tiny bit annoyed by it. She always ran her business as well as her coven with integrity and class, and spent time being an activist and donating time and money to charity. Sure sometimes she was in the news for embarrassing things, but that was her personal life and no one else's business.

Christian Day, on the other hand, thought it was hilarious. He started his business knowing very well that regardless of all else haters gonna hate. I'm sure that on some level being compared to someone he looked up to was kind of an honor, and on the other hand, he just really loves controversy.

In the long run, it ended up that the witch wars all the gossipy folk in the pagan community were supposing went on between Christian and Laurie were much imagined and embellished. In fact, even after he went to her birthday party a few years ago, proving once and for all they were still friends, some people still say they hate each other.

And now, after 42 years, Salem's Official Witch, the most respected and beloved freak in New England, Laurie Cabot is closing her shop for good. Most people heard the news via her Facebook page where she wrote a lengthy status update explaining everything:

"As you can imagine running a store and trying to be available to the temple is a lot of work, and so I have decided to align myself with my new goals and close my store, The Official Witch Shoppe."

Of course, this wasn't her first shop. Over the years Laurie has become successful and world famous, but business has always been hard for her. Over the years she has been in the news for all kinds of things, some of them related to mistakes she had made business-wise, sometimes her problem was simply trusting people too much. But she is ending things on a good note...

She goes on, "...from the first, The Witch Shoppe to Crow Haven Corner and then The Cat, The Crow and The Crown and finally to The Official Witch Shoppe. It has been a dream come true to have had the experience of operating my stores and the countless wonderful people I have met and interacted with at each of my shop locations. "

 1971(?) - The Witch Shoppe, Salem, MA

'Crow Haven Corner', now owned by a student/friend of Laurie's, Lorelei.

The location of 'The Cat, The Crow, & the Crown', which then became The Official Witch Shoppe.

Now, when it really comes down to it this isn't really all that shocking to someone that knows her. She really loves being who she is, interacting with people, etc., but everyone could always tell that Laurie didn't really like being a tourist attraction! I'm not sure how different she used to be, but for a long time now it's been clear she'd rather not harassed by pushy tourists, choosing rather to be more elusive and mysterious.

I'm sure at this point she can sell her products online and get more business than the physical shop does, and she will still be busy teaching classes - not to mention most psychics have regulars that call in for readings and I'm sure hers are extremely dedicated. In the long run, maybe the shop just wasn't worth her time and money anymore. Odds are she'll do more good for the community, make more money, and have more fun without it. I don't think she'll ever fully retire, so this might be the closest she ever comes.

 Keep your eyes peeled for this sign at 1219 Decatur Street in The French Quarter.

The other big news in Salem is also big news for Vieux Carre. Salem's own Christian Day is opening up another incarnation of his successful shop, Hex, in the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. "It happened very quickly," he said on his Facebook page. He's already headed down there and plans on opening as early as February. Rumor has it he plans on opening a third shop in Saudi Arabia in the future. 


So watch out, N'awlins, the Howard Stern/Kathy Griffin/Joan Crawford of witchcraft is on his way...

Oh wait, add Winifred Sanderson to that.[credit]