Australian Media on Paganism
Witch TV shows a 'powerful evil'
NT Sunday Territorian, April 9, 2000
Teen witch TV shows are a powerful evil that encourage youngsters
to dabble dangerously in the occult, the head of the Catholic
church in Perth claims. The most Reverend Barry Hickey says
satanic covens are well established in WA and he believes withcraft
is increasing. And he is concerned that popular TV shows such
as Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage
Witch encourage children to play with the occult and the netherworld.
Archbishop Hickey said, "The devil and evil are very real forces.
They are not fogments of the human imagination. Dark forces
do exist. It is almost fashionable to dabble but people can
get their fingers burnt or worse. If you do try to summon up
forces beyond this world, you are more likely to summon up demonic
forces than good angels." The archbishop said the high-rating
TV shows were innocent if treated only as entertainment.
Dangers He said: "If they remain as simple fun with no belief
then I suppose they are innocent, but there is a worrying trend
among young people to go further. Parents must be aware of this
and warn their children of the dangers of the devil." Channel
7 program director Jamie Martinovitch said witch shows rated
well. He said: "These are good, fun family programs and should
be taken in the right spirit. I have not seen any evidence of
an occult following or that teenagers take them seriously."
But the archbishop is concerned about television playing with
dark forces as a means of creating controversy or making money.
He said: "The occult is not something any community plays with
or makes money out of. The forces we are dealing with here are
powerful and to play> with them is to begin to gamble with the
future of civilised society."
The WA coordinator of the Pagan Alliance, a retired teacher
known only as Michelin, backed the archbishop. She siad: "I
thoroughly agree with him. These programs must only be treated
as entertainment.. Young people must be aware they cannot go
round putting spoells and curses on others. They wil come back
and bite you."
University of WA psychology professor Kevin Durkin said parents
should be aware of what children were viewing. But he said,
"I wonder how strong the evidence is that people suffer problems
after watching these kind of shows. I doubt most young girls
believe they can summon up the devil after watching a few TV
Internet Coven The Internet has provided a meeting place for
young people who call themselves witches. Monsignor Peter Elliott,
head of Melbourne's Catholic religious education, said teenagers
were putting themselves at risk. Monsignor Elliott said the
teenagers were exposing themselves to sexual "predators". The
naive internet notice board postings provided names and e-mail
addresses, he said. On one notice board there were about 100
Melbourne teenagers, some as young as 13, wanting to talk to
other children about witchcraft. Ada, a 16 year old, wanted
to form a teen coven. She wrote: "I have just finished studying
to become a witch."