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Article Specs

VxAcct: 230739

Article ID: 5052

Section: whs

Age Group: Adult

Posted: January 20th. 2003

Views: 15296

Christian Authors [6]

by Kerr Cuhulain

Johnston starts to get really ugly as Chapter 16 progresses. For example, he begins to attack Gerald Gardner:

"A major figure in the more modern chronicles of the black arts is the Englishman Gerald Gardner. Spokesman for the Museum of Witchcraft he established on the Isle of Man in 1936, Gardner became probably the most famous advocate for witchcraft in Europe. After the repeal of the British fortune-telling law in 1951, which effectively legalized witchcraft, Gardner published his Witchcraft Today, a textbook still carefully studied by aspiring witches.

"Gardner's teachings maintained a religious respectability for The Craft, and he was and is usually associated with 'white' forms of witchcraft. However, his own rites and off-the-record discipleship apparently featured the more satanic aspects of black witchcraft with ceremonies involving sado-masochism, sex, magic and drugs.

"Like Gardner and Crowley before him, the next figure in modern satanism popularized satanism with shock theatrics. Pop religious satanism was the 1960's brainchild of Anton LaVey."(20)

Johnston is clearly equating Wicca with Satanism in this case. Of course, neither Gardner nor Crowley were Satanists. Crowley wasn't a Witch either. "Sex, magic and drugs" certainly applies to Crowley, but Crowley's practices were a quite different system from those of Gardner. Gardnerians don't advocate the use of illicit drugs.

In Chapter 16 of The Edge of Evil there is a section: "The Non Publicized Religious Satanists." It records Johnston's discussion with Sam Webster, a movie consultant. Webster is the founder and chief executive officer of Occult Influences, a Studio City, California, firm that advises producers of horror films on occult material to include in their films. Webster considers the following films to be "magickally accurate"(21): "The Golem" (1920), "The Black Cat" (1934), "Curse of the Daemon" (1958), "The Devil Rides Out" (1960), "Burn, Witch, Burn" (1962), "The Raven" (1963), The Dunwich Horror" (1968), "The Wicker Man" (1972), "Ghoulies" (early 1980's), "The Serpent and the Rainbow" (1988), "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist." There is very little accurate or real about any of these sensational Hollywood horror films. They weren't written as documentaries. They were written to entertain. Yet Johnston would obviously like us to accept them as documentary.

Webster claims that he is well known in the "magical community rather than the wiccan community, although I'm respected among the wiccan."(22) Indeed? This seems unlikely given some of the statements he makes to Johnston. For example, Johnston records the following conversation with Webster:

Johnston: "Do you know of a group called WICCA- not as in wiccan witchcraft but an acronym for something like World International Council of Covens? They supposedly met in Mexico in 1981."

Webster:"Life span on these kinds of organizations runs ten years and less. We're watching some of the major ones in their death throes now."

Johnston: "Such As-?..."

Webster: "Oh, Covenant of the Goddess."(23)

Note how Johnston is clinging to the W.I.C.C.A. Letters here again, despite his earlier disclaimers. Unlike the imaginary organization W.I.C.C.A., the Covenant of the Goddess is real and is one of the most well known and widespread Wiccan organizations. As I sit here writing this, COG is still going strong with no signs that it is in its "death throes." Webster carefully evades the question about the acronym W.I.C.C.A. by making a general statement instead, later dropping the name of a real organization but proving by his statement that he doesn't know as much as he would have you believe.

"The Satanic Calendar of Brainwashing Ritual" is included later in this same chapter. In it Johnston says:

"The high point of the satanic calendar is Halloween. Notes from a browse in the libraries encyclopedias remind me that the source of Halloween celebrations is the old Celtic festival of Samhain. Samhain was worshipped as the Celtic god of death about 2,000 years ago in what is now northern France, Britain and Ireland. The Celtic year began November 1, and since these tribes began their 'day' in the evening, the night of what the Romans dated October 31 was the festival of Samhain.

"It was thought that Samhain would allow the spirits of the dead to return to their homes before the long winter season of the new year began. Some legends have it that the souls of the wicked dead of the preceding year had been condemned to live in animals throughout the 12 months, and food set out in honor of Samhain would free these spirits from their condemned status. If a spirit returned to his home and found no offer of food, an evil spell would be cast over the house- sort of a macabre prototype of 'trick or treat' I would guess.

"The October 31 celebrations were orchestrated by the teacher-priest Druids. Huge bonfires of sacred oak branches were kindled to burn sacrifices of crops, animals and apparently humans in honor of the god of death. The people dressed in animal skins and wore animal headdresses as the priests predicted the coming year's fortunes by examining the remains of the sacrifices."(24)

The encyclopaedia which Johnston fails to identify here is an old edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I have pointed out again and again in this book that Samhain was not the God of the Dead in Celtic beliefs. No substantial evidence exists to substantiate Johnston's claims about human sacrifice either.

Johnston follows this with a calendar of "blood rituals" which appears to have been borrowed from David Balsiger's material, which I discussed earlier. To this calendar Johnston has added the "Feast of the Beast" mentioned in Pazder's book Michelle Remembers, listing the next "feast" in 2009 CE. No mention of this alleged "feast" ever appeared in any book previous to Pazder's, and Pazder's book has been proven a fraud.

In Chapter 23 Johnston comments on the Salem Witch trials in which 20 people died: "...There is still conjecture that some of the 150 accused- out of only 100 or so households in the village- were actually practising satanic witchcraft. But even verification of the practice of witchcraft does not constitute biblical grounds for execution. Highly regarded fundamentalist speaker and teacher Josh McDowell in Demons, Witches and the Occult points out...'Even today treason is often punished by death. However, since no nation today is a theocracy, a nation governed directly by God, the penalties instituted then are not applicable. Witchcraft is still evil and is still rebellion against God. It is not treason."(25)

It is bad enough that Johnston is making these allegations in spite of the fact that there is ample evidence to show that none of the people condemned for Witchcraft in Salem were Witches. Yet Johnston is also saying that the only reason that the executions were unacceptable is because the government of the day wasn't a theocracy. This is a hideous statement. Is Johnston then saying that if the fundamentalist Christians have their way and turn our government into a Theocracy, it will then be acceptable to hang Witches and other non-Christians for treason?

At the end of The Edge of Evil is an Appendix of Symbols. I noted the following errors in Johnston's list:

  • Johnston has incorrectly identified "FFF" as a version of 666 in Revelations.(26) It is, in fact, a shortened version of an old Celtic blessing: "Flags, Flax and Fodder". The older version was "FFFF": "Flags, Flax, Fodder and Frigg", Frigg being a Norse Goddess, also known as Freya, who was patroness of the hearth and home.

  • Waning Moon and star symbol: Johnston describes this symbol as follows: "Here the moon goddess 'Diana' and the morning star of 'Lucifer' are represented. This symbol is found in nearly all types of witchcraft and satanism. When the moon is turned to face the opposite direction, it is primarily satanic".(27) In fact it doesn't matter which way the moon faces. Waning or waxing, it isn't a satanic symbol at all.
  • "The pentagram, or without the circle, the pentacle is used in most forms of occult magic. A spirit conjured within the pentagram cannot supposedly leave the circle without permission. Witches generally conjure spirits from outside the pentagram while satanists can submit to possession by the spirit by standing within the pentagram while calling up a demon."(28) There is no form of traditional magic anywhere that conjures any kind of spirits into pentagrams. In western Ceremonial magic a pentagram may be drawn inside the magic circle, but entities are called into a triangle outside the circle, as it is not considered to be a safe practice to invite entities into the circle itself. Witches don't conjure spirits like western Ceremonial magicians do. If Johnston had ever picked up any of the grimoires still in print and read them he would know this. Obviously he has not, relying on the inaccurate speculations of fellow Christian authors and Hollywood experts like Webster instead.
  • Johnston depicts a symbol resembling an upside down axe and calls it a representation of "anti-justice." It could just as easily represent a Thor's hammer, a Norse symbol which would certainly stand for justice and is a symbol of the Asatru spiritual path. It could also be interpreted as a fasces, an ancient Roman symbol of an axe bound with sticks that also stood as a symbol of justice.
  • Johnston lists the usual "anarchy symbol" found books of this ilk, but he has it upside down.(29)

The final appendix in The Edge of Evil is a Glossary, in which I found the following errors:

  • "Book of Shadows: Also called a Grimoire, this journal kept either by individual witches or satanists or by a coven or group, records the activities of the group and the incantations used."(30)

NOTE: As I pointed out earlier in my book, a Book of Shadows and a Grimoire are two different things. Later in the glossary, Johnston defines "Grimoires" as "A medieval collection of magical spells, rituals, and incantations. Also any coven or circle's Book of Shadows recording spells, ceremonies, and histories of the group."(31) Once again, Johnston confuses the two.

  • "Chalice: A Silver goblet used for blood communions."(32)

NOTE: Wiccans do use the chalice but never to hold blood. Wiccans do not engage in blood sacrifice.

  • "Coven: Also called a clan, a coven is a group of satanists who gather to perform rites..."(33)

NOTE: Obviously Johnston thinks that Satanists and Witches are the same thing, judging from this definition. Wiccans have covens too, but have nothing to do with Satanists. Clans is not a term used by Wiccans. Satanists ordinarily organize themselves into Grottos or Pylons, not Covens.

  • "Druids: ...Very powerful and very dangerous- still active today."(34)

NOTE: Active yes. Dangerous? Well, I imagine that some of them would take exception to comments such as this and consider commencing a civil suit.

  • "Magister: Male leader of a coven."(35)

NOTE: Not in any Wiccan coven that I've ever known.

  • "Magus: A male witch."(36)

NOTE: Obviously Johnston is unaware that Wiccans refer to a male Witch as "a male Witch".

  • "Pentagram: A pentacle surrounded by a circle... When the star is inverted with two points up, it stands for black arts."(37)

NOTE: Johnston has gotten it backwards once again. He is obviously also unaware that an inverted pentagram is a non-Satanic symbol used by the Masonic Order of the Eastern Star and several Wiccan traditions as a sign of the second degree. Johnston would also no doubt be surprised to learn that the US Medal of Honour is an inverted pentagram.

  • "Warlock: Often used of a male witch; actually designates a traitor."(38)

NOTE: It would be more accurate to say: "A term often used by ignorant outsiders to refer to a male Witch." Johnston is correct in identifying the original translation of this word as traitor. It was a term used by the early church in reference to people that they considered heretics.

An examination of Johnston's list of experts in the text of The Edge of Evil will give you an idea where he has gotten this erroneous information. This long list includes many people who I have discussed in this series: Geraldo Rivera (whose "Investigative News Group" has been responsible for a number of television shows focussing on sensational aspects of "Satanism"), Jerry Simandl, Dr Al Carlisle, John Frattarola, Dr Catherine Gould, Bob Larson, Craig Hill, Dale Griffis, Maury Terry, Lt Larry Jones, Cassandra "Sam" Hoyer (an alleged "survivor" of Satanic abuse), Kathy Snowden (Cassandra Hoyer's therapist), Jacquie Balodis, Lyle Rapacki, Pat Pulling, Jack Chick, Diane Daskalakis, Dave Balsiger, Johanna Michaelson, Lawrence and Michelle Pazder, "Dr" Rebecca Brown and Elaine Moses, Dr Bennett Braun, Dr Kurt Koch, Dr Roland Summit, Josh McDowell, Lt Michael Nelson, Mary Ann Herold, Sergeant Randy Emon (using Emon's old material), Ken Wooden, and Lauren Stratford.

As if this wasn't enough, I found the following additional well known Satanic Conspiracy myth supporters in the bibliography of The Edge of Evil: Mark I. Bubeck, Martin Ebon, Dave Hunt and T A McMahon, Salem Kirban, Hal Lindsey, Winkie Pratney, Mike Warnke, and Thomas Wedge.

Johnston has gone to a lot of trouble to hunt down people sympathetic to his views to use as "experts" in his book. He has obviously made little effort to hunt down well known public Wiccans. Instead Johnston relies on selected unknown and unidentified "informants" whose stories we are expected to accept at face value. This is not serious unbiased investigation by anyone's standards. As a result The Edge of Evil book is full of inaccuracies and half truths. Johnston is clearly not the "expert" that he makes himself out to be.






ABOUT...

Kerr Cuhulain


Location: Surrey, British Columbia

Website: http://www.officersofavalon.com

Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).

Email Kerr: cuhulain@telus.net

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