“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” -Anne Lamott
A few years ago my wife and I were accused of witchcraft. Witchcraft!!
Now, before you go all pitchfork and fire on me, hear me out for a few minutes (trust me, this gets good).
You may find this amusing, especially if you know me. But then, this may also cause you to wonder…
Some of those who know of the incidents I am about to describe were infuriated, and came to our defense ready to fight (no, really, they were poised to involve the law and their local religious organizations in the fight), which I also found somewhat amusing. I was thankful, however, knowing I had so many people close enough to me willing to show up in my defense.
What you may find downright startling, is the person doing the accusing. For the purpose of this post, I’m simply going to refer to the person as “J.T. Lucy” (don’t worry, it makes sense to me. Hehe.) For reasons I’ll share below, you’ll get a good chuckle out of it as I did when I first learned of these accusations.
Allow me to call for a sidebar: I have a lot of friends who are practicing witches, pagans, occultists, spellcasters, etc. This post is not about them, or their craft, religion, philosophy of life or lifestyle. I respect them. There will be no tirades against any of them or their lifestyles here, so if you are looking to sink your teeth into something like that, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re upset about the fact that I have these friends, then scurry on because I don’t really give a shit.
I also have a lot of friends who practice various other religions, including Christianity, and this is not about them either. (Same rules apply if you don’t like that I have friends of other faiths and philosophies.)
I may actually clarify a couple of things about witchcraft for you here, but it’s not my primary focus. It’s unfortunate that poor translation, misunderstanding, and false accusation have caused thousands of years’ worth of confusion, hatred, and destruction. I’m not intending to make a case for or against any religion or system of philosophy or beliefs. That’s not my gig, so I won’t spend a whole lot of time discussing it, but it’s worth mentioning.
And so, the day I was accused of witchcraft along with the “irrefutable proof”…
My wife and I were driving through Memphis, TN with our boys about the time we received the phone call. “Are you guys practicing witchcraft? I was just told that you were witches and casting spells on people!”
Panic was set deep in her voice on the other end of the phone.
A friend had just been approached by J.T. Lucy with “irrefutable proof” that my wife and I were witches holding black masses, and cursing people with spells.I was just waiting for the addition of human sacrifice and using the blood of chickens or something.
The real interesting part of the story was J.T. Lucy had gone out of his way (like, waaay out of his way) to pay our friend a visit and deliver this condemning news. What we couldn’t understand was this accusation wouldn’t bring him, or anyone he was involved with, any gain. It would actually only serve to discredit him and harm the reputations of those close to him.
Wait until you hear his “proof”. Our friend got nearly as big a kick out of the conversation as we did, once she figured out we weren’t killing chickens, of course.
So, here we are strolling down Beale St. (“Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale” – you’re welcome for the ear worm) and we get the news: J.T. Lucy is on a rant about our witchy ways, and he also visits a few other people who each in turn blow him off, paying him no heed.
Being accused of witchcraft could cause a stir for some, IF YOU LIVE IN THE YEAR 1692 AND HAVE A SPOTLESS CHARACTER RECORD. There a lot of people that lived in 1692, but not one has been found with a spotless record. That’s true for our day as well. Let’s move on, though…
I must be honest and say the thought crossed my mind to play this up a bit and add fuel to the fire, just to have a little fun. You know, like, wear all black most of the time, burn some incense, and do some other weird stuff…oh wait, I already do. Dang it!
Here’s a guy who, several years back, shared a conversation with my wife and me about his personal life, which kinda’ blew our minds! I feel this is important in this context…
As his story goes:
- He was contacted by God (whoa!) and given instructions on what to teach for the remainder of his life.
- He was informed he would ultimately reach and change the world with these revelations; however his wife would lose her mind in the process.
- He relayed that he was given a choice: teach “God’s word” to the “masses” and his wife would be given over to a demon and would literally lose her mind or; don’t teach God’s “word” and keep your wife sane and demon-free.
Tough choice, I’m sure.
He continued to share with us that doctors would never be able to figure out what was wrong with her and that she would be given untold amounts of medication and psychiatric care, but there was nothing anyone would ever be able to do for her. He was resolved to teach “God’s word” and live with his wife while she deteriorated right before his eyes.
Let me stop right here for a quick minute… You “hear” from God (maybe, but that’s sketchy to me); He tells you that you are going to “teach” something revelatory to the “masses” (Wait, hasn’t that already been done? And when you say masses…?); AND your wife is going to lose her mind and become demon-possessed, but you have a choice…?
And you want to accuse me of witchcraft? Something just doesn’t add up here.
But wait, there’s more!
This is also the person who told a group of homeless men at a shelter that if they didn’t give their money to his church, they would be cursed. Homeless…give me your money…cursed… (really?)
Yes, this guy runs a little church independent of any accountability, leadership, or overseeing affiliation. Out there on his own, doing whatever the hell he wants and…changing the world! (Does anyone else see the word “Cult” appearing in their mind’s eye?)
Soon you’ll know the “evidence” of my witchy ways, though. *wrings hands in anticipation*
The writing’s on the wall, friends.
BUT…before we move on to the evidence that will no doubt seal my “crafty” place in the history of our world, let’s clarify a few things about the term “Witchcraft” (I apologize in advance, but I need to do this…I am the one being accused after all).
J.T. Lucy’s definition of “witchcraft” is claimed to be straight from the Bible, and the same one that was used to burn at the stake or drown a great number of people through the centuries.
I challenge this definition and way of thinking (and I’ll win).
Did you know during the great witch hunts in history, much of the agenda was political or a religious power-trip? Of course you did.
What bothers me about this, however, is the “rules” for finding “witches” became so shallow and desperate that one could be accused of witchcraft if they were found sweeping their house with a straw broom. A Straw Broom!!! Not sure they had Hoovers or Dysons in the late 1600’s. I’m pretty sure everyone used straw brooms, but only certain people were singled out (sound familiar?).
If you were found cooking with certain herbs (and the list changed depending on who was doing the hunting), or preparing meals after a certain hour of the day, you could be brought to “trial” for being a witch.
If a stray cat was found on your property…witch (better run to the hills if it was a black cat).
If a stray cat was found on your neighbor’s property…witch (you were probably spying on them).
If your neighbor’s garden wilted or died…witch.
If you had a garden…witch (I mean, come ON! Supermarkets didn’t exist until mid-20th century! Everybody had a garden.)
If your hair or eyes were of a certain color…witch.
If someone in town didn’t like the way you looked at them…witch.
If someone in town didn’t like you, period…witch (I thought that was called a “bitch”…? Oh well, what do I know?).
You get my point. All these accusations just land on scorched ground, with no chance of taking root.
Unfortunately, you don’t need good ground to hang good and well-meaning people. You simply need rotten people with an agenda, a lust for power and control, and a target.
The accusation of “witchcraft” historically has been unfounded, even from a Biblical viewpoint.
Modern definitions (from a so-called “Christian” viewpoint) of witchcraft are formed from mis-translation, and loosely-defined fears stemming from King James’ deathly fear of witches in his day.
The word translated as “witch” in ancient Biblical texts that is most readily used to condemn is translated better as “sorcerer” and defined as one who controls, sways, or influences individuals or groups of people using drugs, poisons, or other chemicals that can alter the thinking or behavior of those people (hmmm…this definition holds some weight for a future conversation, methinks).
This type of sorcery was used for decidedly evil purposes that would alter a person’s thinking or behavior, to the gain or benefit of the “sorcerer” or the person employing the sorcerer.
Truth is: we have a skewed translation being leveraged to condemn innocent people for shady intentions.
The reality is that humans have condemned other humans for thousands of years based on the fear of humans for the benefit of other humans with a definite human agenda.
See the trend. Somehow, humans are always involved. Pesky varmints aren’t they?
Take a deep look at history, and even spend some time in properly translating ancient texts (in context), and I’m pretty sure you’ll be surprised at what you may find. I hope.
Back to my story…
So this guy, J.T. Lucy, is willing to give his wife over to demon-possession in order to teach God’s “word,” demands money from the homeless in order to secure their salvation (or at least protection from curses), and is a verified gossip running around town attempting to stir up trouble (Go see what your Bible has to say about stuff like that. Ouch!).
It gets better.
His accusation against me and my beautiful, grace-filled wife comes at us from behind (coward).
Here’s his proof:
(Are you ready for this?)
D.C. and his wife are growing a garden in their backyard, filled with vegetables, fruit trees, and (wait for it…here’s the clencher) herbs!
WHAT?!?!?! *crowds of people gasp for air* “No, no! Not…herbs!”
“Surely, basil and parsley shall condemn thee! The sins of oregano shall follow you all the days of your life.”
*recovers from belly-laughing*
But wait, there’s more proof. Just a garden alone would be shaky ground for accusation:
D.C. and his family also light tiki-torches around their backyard after dark!
Well, shit, folks! That settles it. Citronella torches are entry to the gates of Hell, apparently.
In my own defense…I’m not, in good conscience, going to light them during the day! (What kind of monster do you think I am?) First, it’s too hot, and mosquitoes normally start biting in the evening, or at night, anyway. Thus, the torches…after dark.
But, hey…I guess if you need proof.
I believe the biggest offense I committed in all of it (and what really got the witchcraft wheels turning) was this:
I refused to attend his church and give them my money. Not going to church anywhere probably set more fires, too, but who’s counting?
Well, there you have it folks.
I also sweep using a straw broom (I have wood floors), wear mostly black shirts (I like black), and have been known to sip a bit of wine with my evening meal (drinking wine was also an accusation, by the way, and we all know that only witches drink wine).
“How did he ever gather such irrefutable evidence against you, D.C.?”
I’m glad you asked.
Here’s the spooky part of the whole gig: my wife and I found this guy walking the tree line behind our house several nights watching us after we returned home from work. He would often watch us while we were gardening in the mornings or late evenings. Fffffrrrrreeeeaaaakkkkyyyy!
(You have no idea how tempting it was to throw my hands in the air, face West, and begin chanting something in Latin when we knew he was there…just for fun. Hehe.)
Yep. He was a regular to wander the perimeter of our property watching through the trees and hang out behind our house on many occasions. I caught him on one occasion with a small rifle. What?!
When I confronted him about it, he thought it was funny. When I informed him I would take legal action if I caught him again, he didn’t think it was funny.
The closing chapter on this story reveals a desperate and pride-filled man who hears “God” condemn his wife to demon-possession and mental illness in order to change the world, and who threatens homeless people for money, and who apparently has nothing better to do than to start gossip with our friends while spying on us from the tree line behind our house.
This is a man who is THE religious “elder” for his independent and controversy-filled church, and who is considered a prophet by a handful of people who have been leveraged into his agenda (it goes much deeper than you might imagine).
In my opinion, this is a lonely, jealous man who is hell-bent on self-preservation, and is probably…ultimately…just bored with his life and is part of a culture that celebrates behavior such as his.
Let’s just consider what his Bible says about these types: you can identify them by their “fruits.”
If their “fruits” (the results of their lives) are rotten and disgusting, well then…
Be careful what tree you pick from.
As for me and my witchy ways? They don’t exist.
Sorry to disappoint.
I’m just a guy who loves his family, has a lot of fun writing books, and enjoys giving talks about folklore and monsters. Yes, I have a deeply spiritual side that is both powerful and private and would probably confuse and confound the hell out of a lot of people on both sides of the fence, but that’s my business, not yours, or J.T. Lucy’s.
I grow rosemary, basil, mint and oregano (to name a few), and my family also grow peas, tomatoes, and zucchini…and Bermuda grass. I have a yard full of it.
I have been known to light tiki torches if the bugs are biting enough to call for it. Sometimes I light candles, too. Just because I like candles. I know…pretty shady, right?
I also regularly burn incense (it smells good).
I do own a lot of books about witchcraft and the occult. I also own a lot of books about Christianity, Buddhism, Star Wars, painting with acrylics, and…birds. I wonder what kind of bird I am?
I’ll leave you with a quote from a famous song by Ozzy Osbourne…
Wait…what? Ozzy! Well, dammit, it’s all gone to hell now. He listens to Ozzy.
Must be a Satanist!
“Crazy, but that’s how it goes
Millions of people living as foes
Maybe it’s not too late
To learn how to love, and forget how to hate…”
-Ozzy Osbourne, from the song “Crazy Train”