Saturday, January 17, 2004

BBC NEWS | Wales | North West Wales | Spooky goings-on at museum

BBC NEWS | Wales | North West Wales | Spooky goings-on at museum: "Sunday, 16 May, 2004,"

Spooky goings-on at museum
Sunday, 16 May, 2004,
Maes Artro was a training base for RAF Llanbedr in 1941
A 36-strong team of ghosthunters say they have no doubt a former RAF base in north Wales is haunted after spending Saturday night there.

Members of the Club Zero Ghost Group stayed up around the clock to monitor any spooky goings-on at Maes Artro in Snowdonia, now a heritage museum.

It has become a magnet for paranormal investigators from across the UK.

Owner Malcolm Green believes the ghosts of two RAF men roam the site, a fighter training base during World War II.

There is definitely paranormal activity there and we are going to back for a full weekend in September....

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"Shop of horrors"

HUBBLE, bubble, toil and trouble - shoppers can now pick up a broomstick, a pointy black hat or even a cauldron on one Cardiff high street.

Halloween may be nine months away but pagan Jai Gomer says he has had nothing but positive responses to his new store, which sells witching supplies to the people of Roath.

Jai, 36, and wife Gillie, a 26-year-old witch, opened the store at the start of December and were expecting frowns from the area's more conventional religious leaders.

"But everyone who has popped in has been really positive," said Jai. "We have high hopes for this store - this is the first time we have done anything like this but we want it to become a centre for pagans in the city."

The shop, called Natural Magic, sells incense, totem charms and candles - "for ritual use," says Jai - as well as more conventional witching supplies.

A large room above the store, on busy Clifton Street, is being converted and will be used for workshops, reiki healing and pagan "moots", or meetings.

"I say good luck to the couple," said pensioner Joyce Cole, who works in a charity shop on the same street.

"But I won't be joining in with all that - I'm 76 and what I didn't do in the past I won't be doing in the future."

Jai says that he will sell anything related to paganism or Wicca - the religion followed by an estimated 10,000 British witches - as long as he can find the right wholesaler.

For more information see the shop's website at

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Friendly Matilda found slaughtered

A HORSE that would let children ride on its back has been brutally killed in a mysterious attack. Matilda, a six-year-old black and white mare, was found dead in her field on Tuesday morning with multiple stab wounds and a slit throat.

The killing is being investigated by both the RSPCA and Bargoed CID.

Owner Mark Harrison, 34, from Abertysswg, Rhymney, said, "I just can't believe anyone could do such a thing to an animal. It was absolutely horrific.

"I'm just glad it wasn't my children who found her." The dead horse was found by Mr Harrison's father-in-law, Josh Jones.

Mr Jones, 54, said, "I was on my usual walk to check on the horse when I saw the door was ajar on the stable and the horse was lying in the field.

"I never saw such an awful thing in my life.

"It begs belief why anyone would do this."

The horse had been locked in its stable the previous night but is thought to have bolted as she was attacked.

The walls of the stable were covered with blood.

The attacker stabbed the horse with such force that the weapon passed straight

through the horse's chest.

Mr Harrison said the loss of Matilda was like a death in the family and his sons Liam, six, and Kavan, three, were particularly upset.

The approachable horse had been special to many people in the area, with children often calling by the field to feed it and ride on its back.

The crime is not the first of its kind - numerous attacks on horses have been reported around the country in the past few years - but RSPCA inspector Rachel Jones described this latest incident as the worst she had ever seen and one that she could not understand.

"I have heard of similar attacks on horses, whether through an act of revenge or some sort of satanic ritual, but nothing as bad as this," she said.

Miss Jones also considered the attack strange because none of the other horses in neighbouring fields or stables had been harmed.

However, a spokesman for the International League for the Protection of Horses, Dave Guy, said there could well be a reasonable explanation behind the death.

"It doesn't appear to be a mad rage because the attacker wouldn't have singled out this particular horse," said Mr Guy, a former mounted policeman and equine investigation specialist.

"And we've all heard the stories about satanic killings, although I've never encountered it personally.

"But 99% of the time it is normally a tragic accident and we usually have enough evidence to prove that. That's not to say this isn't one of the exceptions and all the factors have to be looked at."

Detective Sergeant Gwyn Pidgeon, of Bargoed CID, said he and his officers had been sickened by the incident and were urging anyone with any information to contact the police or the RSPCA.

Grandmother passed on the craft

GEORGENA Blything says her grandmother passed witchcraft to her when she was five.

"I told my mother that my grandmother had died half-an-hour before we were told that she had passed on," she says.

"Afterwards I used to have strange dreams. It took me some time to realise that I was a witch." She says that witches do go out in robes on Hallowe'en to celebrate the crowning of the Holly King and the festival of the dead.

But the idea is not as sinister as it might seem. To the Celts death was the door to a new life. It was part of the ancient creed that those who had passed on, still had an interest in the living and were willing to help them.

CHILDREN who run from house to house trick or treating at Hallowe'en are trivialising an ancient faith, it was claimed yesterday.

Hallowe'en is actually a celebration of new year for those who follow witchcraft, an ancient Celtic faith still observed by some in Wales.

Georgena Blything, a witch who has been practising her craft since she was five, says that Hallowe'en is a serious occasion which marks the start of the winter half of the year.

Tonight she and fellow followers will be carrying out the crowning of the Holly King, the winter lord of misrule, who is traditionally chased away at the start of Spring.

Ms Blything, who lives at Uzmaston, near Haverfordwest, said that her children don't go out trick or treating because they understand the nature of what this time of year is really about.

"I find what's been happening over the last few years with trick or treating upsetting. It's a trivialisation of a faith that dates back to pre-Christian times," she said.

Ms Blything said that many pagan rituals practised by witches and druids were hijacked by Christianity as a kind of cultural colonisation.

And she also dismissed myths about black and white witchcraft.

She said, "There's no such thing as black and white witches. We believe in the number three, that if you do anything that's wrong it comes back to you threefold.

"So we don't have black witch-craft."

She said that there were hundreds of followers of witchcraft in West Wales, and some of them would be taking part in the crowning of the Holly King tonight.

Hallowe'en is the old Celtic eve of Samhain, meaning summer's end.

Ms Blything said that apart from the crowning of the Holly King, the night was also marked by a ritual bonfire that was meant to signify the time when all bad thoughts and frustrations of the old year went up in smoke.

"Bonfire is a derivative of bone fire," claimed Ms Blything. "The Guy Fawkes night did a favour to the pagans because it meant that they could light bonfires without drawing attention to themselves."

While Guy Fawkes is not strictly a Christian ritual, Ms Blything says that Christianity took over every pagan festival and made it its own.

"Even Christmas was celebrated before Christ," she said.

"For witches mid-December marked the re-birth of the sun and the way to spring.

"So it made sense for Christians to take it as the date of the birth of Christ.

"It's a debate I've often had with vicars."

These days the most common connection between people of the craft and those outside, is through herbal remedies.

She says herbal medicine is the oldest form of medical treatment known to mankind and it is still widely used all over the world.

Treatments include herbs that have properties that can help people with all kinds of ailments, says Ms Blything.

They include remedies from everything from colds and flu to anti-depressants and treatments for arthritis and poor circulation.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Witches cast their spell over Llandaff for a day - icWales

Witches cast their spell over Llandaff for a day - icWales
May 17 2003 by Claire Hill, The Western Mail

WITCHES throughout Wales will be convening in Cardiff today to celebrate their religion.

The Witchfest, to be held at Llandaff Rugby Club, will feature speakers on subjects ranging from teenage witchcraft to pagan artwork.

Welsh witch Jo Winter believes the success of the festival is down to a growing acceptance of witchcraft throughout the world.

She said, "I belong to the Children of Artemis and in the past few years their membership has increased from 1,000 to a million.

"It is a lot safer to be a witch now. I think because the world is getting smaller, everyone has got closer and openly discussing issues on the internet."

Today's event, to be held metres from Llandaff Cathedral, runs from 10am till midnight and has already sold out.

Ms Winter is looking forward to spending a day with like-minded people.

She believes she has always been a witch, but it took her many years for her to tell people. "I was not actually out of the broom cupboard when I was bringing up my children, but I have always been able to do things."

As a practising witch, the 58-year-old from Cardiff still hasn't told some friends about her lifestyle and has regularly had people shouting at her for being a witch.

However, she said programmes such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Charmed, which show witches in a glamorous light, have helped to make the religion and lifestyle more appealing.

"Anybody can do anything that they want, but people who practise witchcraft are careful at what they do and others do not believe they can do it."

The interest in teenage witchcraft will be highlighted by Teresa Moorey, mother of four, who has written a book about teenagers and witchcraft.

However, though there is some acceptance of witches in modern society not everyone is willing to allow people their own viewpoints.

Ms Winter said, "I have had people come into the shop where I work and see my pendant and decry me as the devil.

"But that is a Christian invention. Sometimes people will listen to me but others just shout.

"I feel sorry for people who would not stop and talk about things.

"I think to have any spiritual belief that you accept to follow and really believe is very enriching. I have no problems about people dying, as I have beliefs about where they go."

Witches live by very few rules, but they believe this is enough to fulfil a positive life.

"The main rule is to do as you will, but do not hurt anybody and that everything comes back to you three-fold," she said.