Will Santa Muerte Spark a New Moral Panic?

Joseph Laycock, scholar and author of "Vampires Today: The Truth about Modern Vampirism," examines media coverage of the killing of two boys and one woman over the span of four years in Mexico, allegedly the work of Santa Muerte cultists. Laycock's Religion Dispatches piece argues that "these murders will likely have lasting consequences for alternative religion in North America," that they are a "Manson moment" that will have potentially harmful reverberations in the years to come."It goes without saying these murders are unconscionable, and a tragedy. But attempting to find a grand pattern, or a reason, in a connection to so-called ritualistic violence brings authorities no closer … [Read more...]

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.In wake of the recent record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot, The Baltimore Sun checks in with Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett, a Wiccan who won over 40 million dollars in the Maryland state lottery back in 2007. Bartlett says that he made mistakes "giving money to help other people realize their dreams instead of my own," but that he still has around $15 million in the bank. Bartlett recently made the news when he launched an (unsuccessful) million-dollar Kickstarter campaign t … [Read more...]

Follow Winegarner’s Rules When Reporting on Pagan and Minority Religions

Journalist Beth Winegarner has written an excellent how-to piece for Poynter, an institution dedicated to improving journalism, on covering stories that may involve Santeria, Palo, Paganism, or other esoteric religions. While the whole piece is well worth the read, and contains relevant examples, I want to excerpt just the "rules" for the sake of simplicity.Don’t take what police or other sources say at face value. Find & interview real experts. Write carefully, with attention to relevant details.Over the years, I have dinged journalists over, and over, and over, and over again when it comes to covering religious or spiritual practices they may not understand. Most of the is … [Read more...]

Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup + Crowdfunding Update)

Welcome to the latest installment of Unleash the Hounds, in which I round up articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans. Before we get started I wanted to give an update on the Pagan journalism crowdfunding experiment I launched on March 21st. The very excellent news is that not only have I reached my fundraising goal of $1850 dollars to send The Wild Hunt to Chicago in November so that I can cover the American Academy of Religion's 2012 Annual Meeting, but I've surpassed that goal by hundreds of dollars. All in less than a week! Thank you! Your enthusiastic response not only means I'll be covering the AAR's Annual Meeting, but that we have a head start on the next crowdfunding assi … [Read more...]