The Rantin’ Raven: You Got Some Splainin’ To Do…

The Rantin’ Raven: You Got Some Splainin’ To Do… August 15, 2015

So once again some bozo in a backwater police department encountered a case that squicked him out, and for lack of a better explanation, he assumed “them Wiccans did it.” The recent triple murder in Pensacola, Florida, was proclaimed by the police department’s spokesman, Sgt. Andrew Hobbes, to have been perpetrated by Wiccans. He claimed there was Wiccan significance in the choice of murder weapons (a claw hammer, a gun, and something sharp) positioning of the bodies (which he’s never explained,) and in the “fact” that it occurred “at the blue moon” (which it didn’t, and which wouldn’t have been significant if it had.)

The media immediately picked up the story and tweaked it until it was even more lurid than it had started out. Wiccans all over the country arose in outrage. And how did we express that outrage? By once again complaining of our hurt feelings. By once again politely explaining to the media and the police that Wiccans don’t murder people and by asking them, hat in hand, to stop lying about us.

Guys, we’re doing it wrong!

Schmidt_Alex /
Schmidt_Alex /

Why do Wiccan spokespersons keep assuming that if we can just explain ourselves well enough, we will stop being accused of murder every time a slightly creepy case pops up? It has never worked, and it never will. What’s worse, it puts us on the defensive. It’s time for a totally new tactic.

It’s time we stopped explaining ourselves and started demanding answers. Put these ill-informed police representatives on the hot seat for a change. Get them to publicly admit what we already suspect, that their so-called “expertise” on Wicca and the occult derives entirely from Christian sources, and that it’s almost all totally incorrect. The Pensacola case is a great example of that: how is a claw hammer a sign of a “Wiccan” murder? And how was it connected to the “blue” moon–which by the way means nothing to Wiccans–when the blue moon was on a Friday but the murders took place three days earlier. That’s like assuming a death was by drowning because it took place three blocks from the beach.

When the police or media pronounce–almost always on (at worst) no evidence and (at best) misunderstood evidence–that a crime was “Wiccan,” we need to immediately demand answers to a few important questions:

  • Who–by name and position–made the judgment call that the crime was Wiccan or occult in nature?
  • Did this person represent him/herself to the police and/or media as having expertise on the subject?
  • If so, where and how did they obtain it? What makes them an expert?
  • Were the validity and accuracy of their educational sources (if any) looked into? For instance, were any of them actually Wiccan? How about the FBI? The FBI’s extensive and bias-free 1992 report on “Satanic” crime can be read here.
  • If this person’s “expertise” was merely self-proclaimed, or if it came exclusively from biased sources, such as for instance the long-discredited ‘Satanic Police Seminars,’ why was this person still allowed to speak about the case and who authorized their doing so?
  • And finally, why haven’t they been fired?

These questions, or ones very similar to them, need to be asked every time, without fail, when criminal allegations against Wiccans or other Pagans arise. Watch how the dynamic changes when we make our accusers justify their accusations in the court of public opinion just as they would be required to in a court of law. Watch how fast they backpedal when they have to tell the world they’ve been lying through their teeth.

We must not allow ourselves to be put off or mollified by half-baked apologies after the damage is done, either. If satisfactory answers are not forthcoming, we need to keep the pressure on by repeating the questions in progressively more demanding terms, and if necessary publicizing our accusers’ refusal to answer.

If we don’t make them stop insulting us, they’re never going to.

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