An article in a national newspaper caught my eye this morning which made me think what would happen if they had been Muslim or even Mormon ??
It sounds like a horror story straight from medieval times. Two witches descend on an ancient market town – only to be targeted by terrified Christians calling for them to be burned at the stake. But for father-of-one Albion and his partner Raven, 39, this is no historical event – it is a modern nightmare. The Pagan couple opened their shop ‘The Whispering Witch’ in the quaint town of Alcester, Warwickshire, around 15 months ago and claim to have been subjected to a hate campaign ever since. ‘People shout ‘burn the witches’ as they go past and we’ve had others urinating up the window,’ said Albion, 51. ‘I found a pile of wood stacked in front of the door one morning. We’ve also had letters quoting extracts from the Bible telling us not to ‘promote the work of darkness’ in ‘their town’. I can only assume this is the work of Christians. The handwriting looks as though it’s from an adult. It’s like living in the 16th century.’
The couple opened their shop The Whispering Witch in the quaint town of Alcester, Warwickshire, around 15 months ago. Originally from Redditch, they have been Pagans for years and no longer use their birth names, which they refuse to reveal.
Albion said. ‘Things have gotten so bad that Raven has been close to a nervous breakdown. When she walk’s down the street, people cross the road to avoid her. She’s been to the doctor to get help, the stress is too much. It does sound like the letters are from people attending the churches because of the references to the Bible. We’ve had four in total and each one has been in different handwriting. It seems their main aim is to oust us from the town because they disagree with our beliefs. There are references to the devil, but we don’t believe in that as it is a Christian concept. It is pathetic and unbelievable. What we are suffering is racism from people with a 16th century mentality. Paganism is a recognised religion and we are here to stay.’
As well as selling various items like cauldrons, crystals, herbs and wands in their spooky shop, the Pagan pair hold witchcraft courses, seances and ghost hunts.
‘People come and ask us for advice and sometimes they want to be put in touch with loved ones who have passed away,’ Albion said. ‘We can do that through our seances. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t.’
The couple have even organised a Ghost Festival in September to try to boost tourism.
‘We want to support the town and make the festival a success,’ said Albion. ‘It’s something that could really put Alcester on the map.’
The couple have not yet reported the incidents to police, but Christians in the town say they are aware of the bad feeling. Reverend Alistair Aird, from Alcester Baptist Church, condemned those behind the attacks but added: ‘My impression is that people in the town don’t feel that this is the kind of thing they want in Alcester. The murmurings are what I have picked up whilst walking around town from mothers, who have talked to me in the street. I have not had any dealings with the owners and the business is entitled to set up wherever they want to.’
When asked about people shouting ‘burn the witch’, he added: ‘I have never heard of any of those things. However, if it is happening then it is wrong. It would be disappointing to believe that Christians were behaving that way.’
Councillor Chris Gough, a former Mayor of Alcester and deacon at Alcester Baptist Church, added: ‘I’m aware that they are being frowned upon. Instinctively, it is not the sort of thing we want to see in the town. As a church-goer, I think we probably feel strongly about anyone who puts themselves forward as a witch in any form.’