A spell intended to bring misfortune, illness, harm or death to a victim. The most dreaded form of magic, curses are universal. They are “laid” or “thrown” primarily for revenge and power but also for protection, usually of homes, treasures, tombs and grave sites. A curse can take effect quickly[…]


Village witch or healer who provided cures, remedies, charms, spells and divination, usually in exchange for a fee or gift. Scott Cunningham (Courtesy Llewellyn Publications) 86 cunning man/cunning woman “Cunning” comes from the Old English term kenning, meaning “wise” or “knowledgeable.” Other terms for cunning man and cunning woman are[…]

Cunning Man/Cunning Woman

High priestess of a coven of hereditary Witches in the New Forest of England, who initiated Gerald B. Gardner into Witchcraft in 1939. Little was known about Clutterbuck for many years, prompting some outside observers to speculate that she had never existed at all but was fabricated by Gardner. In[…]

Clutterbuck, Old Dorothy (1880–1951)

 Influential Witch mystery tradition founded by Robert Cochrane in England in the 1950s. The Clan of Tubal Cain, named after the legendary Hebrew blacksmith, Tubal Cain, was never intended by Cochrane to become a religion. Its concepts were passed to America in the 1734 Tradition and also were absorbed into[…]

Clan of Tubal Cain

Chelmsford witches Four major witch trails in the 16th–17th centuries that resulted in numerous convictions and executions. The first trial occurred in the summer of 1566, under the rule of Queen Elizabeth, whose Parliament had passed the second of England’s three witchcraft acts in 1563. The Act of 1563 tightened[…]

Chelmsford witches

Amniotic fetal membrane that sometimes clings to a newborn’s head or body after birth. Being born with a caul, or veil, has significance in folklore related to magical powers. A person born with a caul was believed to have psychic gifts such as the ability to see ghosts and spirits[…]


One of the most important ecclesiastical documents of the Middle Ages was the Canon Episcopi, ca. 900, which defined witchcraft as Devil-worship but declared it to be nothing more than a foolish delusion. The origin of the canon is unknown. When it was made public at the beginning of the[…]

Canon Episcopi

According to a prophecy by the famous 19th-century cunning man James Murrell, the Essex village of Canewdon, located in England’s “witch country” of East Anglia, would be populated with witches “forever.” Indeed, the village and the surrounding area have been steeped in witch lore since at least 1580, when a[…]

Canewdon Witches

Burroughs, George (d. 1692) Minister accused of witchcraft and executed in the Salem Witches hysteria in Massachusetts in 1692 to 1693. George Burroughs served as minister of Salem Village from 1680 to 1982. He was a man of good reputation, having graduated from Harvard in 1670. He had distinguished himself[…]

Burroughs, George (d. 1692)

Aquarian Tabernacle Church Interfaith church of Wicca and Earth Religions, formed in 1979 in Index, Washington, by Pete “Pathfinder” Davis, to support the Wiccan and Pagan communities. The Aquarian Tabernacle Church, or “Tab,” as it is known, is recognized as a church in the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland and[…]

Aquarian Tabernacle Church

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