Jed Smock of The Campus Ministry poses with a group of unnamed College students holding signs reading “Pagan and Proud.” Photo by The Campus Ministry.

Over the course of the Gwinnett County cases, Laura Mallory’s blog was constantly updated with testimonies attesting to the real dangers posed by witchcraft. The site was rife with stories of young children “huddled over books casting spells,” playing “power games” with their families, controlling “evil entities” and even threatening to “kill their parents or kill themselves” while experimenting with witchcraft. During the Gwinnett County School Board case on April 20th, a former witch admitted that “as a teenager she became involved in witchcraft after she read the Harry Potter books.”

What did it mean to identify as a witch during the early 21st century? Who were the “witches” thought by Mallory and other members of the Christian Right to be a threat to their children? What were they like, and what did they want? This section challenges the Christian Right’s characterization of 21st century witches using input from former and current Wiccans.

“History” briefly explains the history of modern Paganism, from the movement’s origins in the mid 20th century to its recent revival in the digital age.

“Perceptions” analyzes evangelical filmmaker Caryl Matrisciana’s negative depiction of witches from her 2001 documentary, Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged, Making Evil Look Innocent, a noted influence on Laura Mallory’s worldview.

Finally, “Practices” draws from Wiccans’ perspectives on their own faith, demonstrating why some Wiccans willingly choose to identify with witchcraft.