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The witch is back .. and teenagers are hooked.

THE occult is officially the latest teen cult. Thanks to the likes of television shows such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Sabrina The Teenage Witch, interest in all things supernatural is on the rise.

Gone is the image of the old hag flying on her broomstick across the night sky. Today's witches are blonde, beautiful - and the stars of hit TV shows.

According to the Pagan Federation, television programmes depicting young, glamorous, successful people achieving great things by the use of magic are to blame for teenagers becoming hooked on witchcraft and sorcery.

Then there's Harry Potter. Bespectacled schoolboy wizard Harry has bewitched children across the globe with his magical adventures.

Edinburgh author J K Rowling's creation, which has sold more than 30 million copies world-wide, is so popular he made it on to the front page of America's Time magazine.

While youngsters just can't get enough of the orphan who battles with evil warlocks, monsters and goblins, Kent headmistress Carol Rookwood called Harry Potter an evil influence.

She banned the books from the library at St Mary's Church Of England Primary School, in Chatham, and suggested parents take similar action at home, warning that the stories exposed vulnerable young people to the occult.

In America, a similar situation exists at the Bristol Elementary School in Novia Scotia, where one woman is trying to ban the Harry Potter series over its links with the occult.

Practising witches are also said to be annoyed with claims that Harry promotes their religion and say the book is fiction and does not represent their beliefs in any way.

Rowling isn't the only author who has tapped into the trend for one of the fastest growing religions among young people today. Last year saw The Young Witches' Handbook by Kate West hit the shelves, as did Spells For Teenage Witches by Marina Baker

With an estimated 200,000 followers, Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions among young people in America.

Thanks to actress Melissa Joan Hart - who plays the high school sorceress Sabrina - and stunning Sarah Michelle Gellar, the star of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, today's teenagers are fascinated by the modern witchcraft.

Now an American high school has suspended a teenage pupil after accusing her of casting a magic spell that caused a teacher to become sick.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it had filed a law suit in the District Court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on behalf of Brandi Blackbear, claiming the assistant principal of the school suspended the youngster for 15 days for supposedly casting a spell.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 20, 2001
Words:429
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