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YOUNG MUMS TURNING TO WITCHCRAFT; Scots women behind occult craze.

Byline: LYNN McPHERSON EXCLUSIVE

THOUSANDS of Scots women are ditching Christianity to take up witchcraft.

Experts say there are around 10,000 witches in Scotland - 10 times as many as a decade ago.

Many are young mothers and professional women, who prefer spell-making and sorcery to keep-fit classes.

Cult TV programmes such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which stars Melissa Joan Hart, are changing the image of Britain's oldest religion.

The rise of satanic singer Marilyn Manson has also led to a new generation of people dabbling with the occult.

And with the first Harry Potter film due for release in November, the popularity of witchcraft is set to soar.

The Pagan Federation claims magistrates, doctors, policewomen and lawyers are turning to the occult.

Mum-of-three Christine Quick, 42, of Aberdour, Fife, is a practising witch.

She has her own website - greenwitch.co.uk - and runs a shop, Mystique Moments, in the village, selling potions for love, astral travel and eczema.

Christine believes she is a reincarnation of a witch who was drowned in the Forth 1000 years ago.

She said: "They tied her to a pole and waited for the tide to come in. I've always hated water."

Blonde Christine finds it amusing when people expect her to look like their idea of a witch, complete with broomstick and pointed hat.

She said: "When people in Aberdour found out what I am, they were shocked.

"People came up to me and said, 'You just can't be a witch - you're so normal.'

"They expect witches to be bad - but I'm good. In a pub one day, a man insulted me. The whole place went quiet. They were all waiting for him to go up in a puff of smoke."

Christine says an increasing number of her customers are professional women.

She said: "I get a lot of teachers and nurses. They travel up to 100 miles to visit me because they can't be seen to be witches in their own community. There is still a lot of shame and people do point the finger."

Latest research shows 41 per cent of Scots do not identify with any religion - up from 29 per cent in 1983.

Last week, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales said Christianity is near to being "vanquished" in Britain.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, said people had turned to New Age practices rather than to God.

But last night, Andy Norfolk, of the Pagan Federation, said many people have a misguided notion of paganism.

He said: "There are an awful lot of us about. We don't all look unusual, with hooked noses or warty features.

"Witchcraft is a serious, nature-based mystery religion in which the natural world is seen to be sacred."

The federation has 5000 active members, a tenfold growth in the last decade.

Mr Norfolk added: "There are at least 10,000 witches in Scotland."

On Thursday evening, STV and Grampian will broadcast This Scotland - Witches of Prestwick, which contains interviews with witches, including a teacher, business-woman, student and bio- technician.
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 9, 2001
Words:511
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