Further reading

Cahill, Robert Ellis. Strange Superstitions. Danvers, Mass.:

Old Saltbox Publishing, 1990. Opie, Iona, and Moira Tatem. A Dictionary of Superstitions.

New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Huebner, Louise "The Official Witch of Los Angeles." Louise Huebner made a media splash in the late 1960s and early 1970s with various antics and sPELLs for sexual energy. Huebner, who claimed to be a hereditary witch, wrote two books and made one record, all with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek tone, which portrayed witches as mean, capricious and orgiastic individuals. They included statements such as the following: "And as a witch, I can be a lot meaner than I could have been if I were Jeanne Dixon"; "I always giggle when I'm excited. It's part of being a witch"; "Enchanters need orgies. The orgies will help you generate the electrical and magnetic impulses you will need to cast spells."

According to Huebner, her mother knew she was "different" by the time she was five. Her grandmother was a fortune-teller, and Huebner began practicing fortune-telling at age 10 by reading palms.

In Los Angeles, Huebner established herself as an astrologer and psychic. She authored a newspaper column and had her own horoscope radio show from 1965 to 1969. In 1968 Los Angeles County Supervisor Eugene Debs named her "The Official Witch of Los Angeles" in connection with a Folk Day "happening" at Hollywood Bowl. Huebner, dressed in a long silver robe, passed out red candles, chalk and garlic and led a mass ritual to cast a spell over Los Angeles County to raise its "romantic and emotional vitality." The spell consisted of an incantation: "Light the flame/Bright the fire/Red is the color of desire."

When Huebner began using the "Official Witch" appellation to promote herself, Los Angeles County attempted to stop her from doing so, stating that the title was intended for Folk Day only. Huebner called a press conference and threatened to "despell" Los Angeles County. In the ensuing publicity, the county dropped the matter.

Huebner made numerous radio and television appearances around the country. She dressed in black and carried about a pet black beetle, Sandoz. She also kept a rat and a cat. In 1970 she went to Salem, Massachusetts, where she was received by Mayor Samuel E. Zoll, who gave her a broom inscribed, "May your ride be long and enjoyable." Huebner was quoted by the press as stating the reason for her visit was to forgive Salem "for what they did to those people who were not witches" in Colonial times.

Huebner's books are Power Through Witchcraft (1969); Never Strike a Happy Medium (1971). Her record is Moon Magic: A Witch's Guide to Spells, Charms and Enchantments (1972); Magical Creatures: The Charming and Mystical Powers of Brownies, Elves, Fairies, Gnomes, Pixies, Sprites and Demons (1972); Superstitions: A Witchy Collection of Beliefs About Love, Money, Weather and Much More (1972); Love Spells from A to Z: Witchy Spells for Brewing Up Romance (1972); Magical Candles, Enchanted Plants ad Powerful Gems: Their Meanings and Uses in the Wild World of Witchcraft (1972); Your Lucky Numbers: A Witch's Secrets to Your Personality, Feelings and Relationships Through Numerology (1972); Magic Sleep: A Witch's Interpretation of Your Dreams (1972); In the Palm of Your Hand: Your Personality and Future in a Witchy Guide to Palmistry (1972); Your Future—It's in the Cards: A Witch's Bewitching Scheme Using Standard Playing Cards (1972); Seduction Through Witchcraft.

Huebner's husband, Mentor, died on March 19, 2001. Mentor was an artist who worked on about 250 films and on the designs of theme parks around the world.

Hutton, Ronald (1954- ) Professor of history at Bristol University in England and an authority on the history of Paganism and Witchcraft in Britain.

Ronald Hutton studied history at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He specializes in 16th and 17th-century British history. In the Pagan community, Hutton is best known for his writings on the history of Paganism, Witchcraft, magic, shamanism and the development of Wicca, most notably The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles: Their Nature and Legacy (1993); The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain (1996); The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft (2001); Shamans: Siberian Spirituality and the Western Imagination (2001); Witches, Druids and King Arthur (2003); and The Druids: A History (2007).

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ill-wishing A curse that is the product of envy, revenge and anger. In earlier times, people commonly blamed their misfortune on the ill-wishing of others. If two people argued and then one suffered a mishap, became ill or had other problems, the other party was suspected of ill-wishing them. Remarks such as "You'll be sorry" were taken seriously as a form of negative witchcraft. If someone enjoyed a great deal of good fortune or prosperity and then suffered a setback, they believed themselves to be the victim of the secret ill-wishing of envious neighbors.

The remedy for ill-wishing was to seek out a witch, a PEL-LAR or a cunning man or woman (see cuNNING MAN/cuNNING WOMAN) and have the ill-wishing broken or neutralized with a CHARM. If the identity of the ill-wisher was not known, magic or DIVINATION was performed to expose them.

See BLASTING; HEX; SPELL.

imp A small DEMON, often kept inside a bottle or ring and used for magical purposes. Imps are evoked and commanded to carry out tasks and SPELLS.

Witches were said to keep imps that assumed different forms, such as TOADS, rodents and especially flies, spiders and other insects. When accused witches were imprisoned, they were watched closely for any appearances of their imps. Prisons were full of insects and rodents, so it was rare that a cell would not have such visitors. Guards would pounce on them, and if they were killed, it meant they were harmless animals or bugs. But if a fly or spider escaped, it was taken as a sure sign of the witch's imp.

Margaret Jones Puritan Witch
A witch feeds her imps (FROM JOHN ASHTON, the devil in britain and america, 1896)

Witches were accused of using imps to carry out evil deeds upon innocent people, such as bewitchment, ill fortune, accidents and even death. In return, the witches suckled the imps with their own BLOOD, using their fingers or protuberances on the body. Witch hunters searched bodies for WITCH'S MARKS, usually warts, discolored skin, and unnatural lumps believed to serve as teats or paps.

In some witch trials, the term "imp" was used interchangeably with FAMILIAR.

Further READING:

Upham, Charles. History of Witchcraft and Salem Village. Boston: Wiggin and Lunt, 1867.

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