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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 shows.

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."

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