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Can You Read This Witch Spell? A Chicago Library Needs You

The Newberry is asking for public's help in translating 17th-century charms manuscript

(Newser) - In the market for some 17th-century spells written by (possible) real-life witches? The Book of Magical Charms, a handwritten manuscript penned by two unknown Brits in the 1600s, is shelved at Chicago's Newberry Library, along with two similar books, Quartz reports. The charms manual includes everyday tips and remedies,... More »

Grandma Gets Life for Dressing as Witch to 'Torture' 7-Year-Old

Her boyfriend, a demon named Coogro, was sentenced to 30 years

(Newser) - A 51-year-old woman who dressed as a witch named Nelda to "repeatedly torture" her 7-year-old granddaughter received three life sentences Thursday, the Oklahoman reports. Geneva Robinson of Oklahoma City pleaded guilty to five counts of felony child abuse. The assistant DA says Robinson's granddaughter spent months living in... More »

UK Wants Help Finding 'Witches' Marks'

Medieval signs were meant to ward off evil spirits

(Newser) - This Halloween, you can don your sexy witch costume or you can go off in search of actual witches—or at least so-called witches' signs, and a historic group in England, which is apparently littered with them, is hoping its citizenry will choose the latter. As the BBC reports, Historic... More »

In Ancient Scottish Chapel, Evidence of a Witch Prison

Aberdeen church has an iron ring set in stone

(Newser) - The remains of some 2,000 people lie beneath Scotland's East Kirk of St. Nicholas church, but an iron ring set in the stone pillar of the chapel could link directly back to a spookier past: the documented trial and execution of 23 women and one man accused of... More »

Radiohead Vanishes Online, Leaves a Few Breadcrumbs

Band sends cryptic postcards to fans, wipes its website and Facebook, Twitter pages

(Newser) - Radiohead has announced a new world tour that kicks off May 20 . A ninth album is said to be forthcoming. On Saturday, some fans received cryptic postcards with only the words: "Sing the song of sixpence that goes / Burn the witch / We know where you live,"... More »

Spot Where Salem 'Witches' Were Hanged Identified

Proctor's Ledge is the fateful spot

(Newser) - Nearly a century ago, historian Sidney Perley identified the place in Salem, Mass., where 19 accused witches met their end in 1692; now, finally, confirmation. The Salem News reports that the seven scholars who compose the Gallows Hill Project have after a five-year effort definitively determined that Proctor's Ledge... More »

Salem Witch's Prediction Comes True in Court

Judge grants protective order to 'psychic' Lori Bruno Sforza

(Newser) - A Salem witch has come out on top in a court battle with a warlock without the help of a single curse or spell. On Wednesday, a judge ruled New Orleans warlock Christian Day must give up all contact with 75-year-old Lori Bruno Sforza or face up to two and... More »

King-Protecting 'Witchmarks' Uncovered in Home

Though King James I never made it to the Knole estate in Kent

(Newser) - Most old homes bear normal signs of wear and tear. The strange gouge marks beneath the floorboards of "one of Britain's most important historic houses," however, tell a pretty interesting story, the Independent reports: They were intended to guard King James I from witches and other evil... More »

7 Accused Witches Killed in Tanzania

Police arrest 23 in brutal village slayings

(Newser) - Authorities in a remote village in Tanzania have made 23 arrests after seven people were hacked to death or burned alive because they were believed to be witches, reports the Telegraph . The victims were both men and women in the western village of Murufiti, with five of them older than... More »

Accused Witch Burned Alive in Papua New Guinea

Despite scores of witnesses, no arrests have been made

(Newser) - The AP has a horrific story from Papua New Guinea, where a 20-year-old woman was tortured by a mob and then burned alive after being accused of witchcraft. Hundreds of bystanders watched, and some even photographed her death, but local police have yet to make a single arrest. Kepari Leniata,... More »

Ex-TSA Employee: I Was Fired Because I'm a Witch

Carole A. Smith claims religious discrimination got her canned

(Newser) - Carole A. Smith ranked among the top 10% of workers when it came to catching weapons on the X-ray machine at New York's Albany International Airport. So why did the TSA fire her? She says it was over her religious beliefs: Smith is a practicing Wiccan, or, as she calls... More »

Romania May Fine Witches for Faulty Predictions

Country looking to squeeze more money out of profession

(Newser) - Romania's witches better make sure they own top-of-the-line crystal balls: The country is considering a new law that would require witches to get a permit—and make it possible to fine or even imprison one whose prediction turns out to be false. Witches, predictably, are none too pleased. "What... More »

Witchcraft Now a Legal Profession in Romania

...which means they have to pay income taxes

(Newser) - Romania's witches aren't happy about a change in the country's labor laws that makes witchcraft a recognized profession. The move, part of a crackdown on tax evasion, will make it harder for witches to avoid paying income tax, AP reports. One witch has threatened to cast a spell using black... More »

Witches Furious With O'Donnell

Don't count on the Wiccan vote in Delaware, Christine

(Newser) - Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell apparently didn't realize she was risking votes when she denounced her witchcraft-dabbling past as a brief fling with "questionable" people. Now witches are furious. "She is defaming Wiccans," High Priestess Selena Fox told the Huffington Post . "America needs to be a place... More »

Help Wanted: Witch, Good W/Potions, $75K

(Newser) - A British tourist attraction is seeking to conjure up a new resident witch, the BBC reports. Wookey Hole Caves has advertised for a witch willing to live in the site's caverns and practice her—or his—trade for an annual salary of $75,000. Applicants need to have strong cackling... More »

Five Found Guilty in Maori Exorcism Death

Mentally ill woman was drowned in attempt to purge her of evil spirits

(Newser) - Five people who drowned their niece in an attempt to rid her of evil spirits have been found guilty of manslaughter by a New Zealand court, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The 22-year-old woman, who prosecutors said was mentally ill, died after the group poured water over her face for... More »

Abuse of Child 'Witches' Burgeoning

Growing number of kids suspected of witchcraft worldwide

(Newser) - Children dubbed “witches” are facing increasing abuse in Nigeria and elsewhere, advocates say. “They would take my clothes off, tie me up and beat me,” said a 14-year-old, whose grandfather concluded he was a “witch” 2 years ago when he cried at the threat of being... More »

'Witch' Murders Rattle New Guinea

(Newser) - An increasing number of women are being tortured and murdered in a series of witch hunts in Papua New Guinea, reports the Independent. The problem is so severe that the government has launched a new commission to address it. Women are often blamed for any untimely death in a tribe.... More »

Trial Begins in Maori Exorcism Death

Woman drowned during ritual to rid her of evil spirits

(Newser) - Nine Maoris accused of killing a mother of two during a botched exorcism have gone on trial in New Zealand, the Daily Telegraph reports. The six women and three men have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the death of the 22-year-old woman who drowned when the accused restrained her... More »

Downturns Spark 'Witch Hunts' Against Elderly

People lash out during tough times, researchers explain

(Newser) - "Witch-hunting” is a hot term these days as angry Wall Street investors pine for revenge—but in some countries they take it literally, Tim Harford writes in Slate. In Tanzania, Bolivia, and India, elderly women are often targeted as witches when resources are scarce. Tanzanian women are killed by... More »

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