There Are About 30,000 Pagans In Northeast Ohio
NewsNet5, May 15, 2003
CLEVELAND — Witchcraft — the word conjures up all sorts of images of magic potions and spells. However, as NewsChannel5’s Debora Lee reported, one of your co-workers or the woman next door just might be a witch. Mark and Elizabeth Sommerer, adoptive parents of four cats, are self-described “regular people.”
“We shop like everybody else does. We go to the Laundromat. We play with our kids. We pay taxes, work jobs,” Elizabeth said. And Lee said they cast spells.
The Sommerers are witches, and they have an altar. “Our caldron represents the female and the antlers represent the male,” Elizabeth said. “This is holy water. I bless things with it.”
They contacted NewsChannel5 after seeing news reports of so-called Satan worship linked to the discovery of two animal carcasses in LaGrange Township.
While Satanic acts were later ruled out, they feel their beliefs are often confused with Satan worship.
“Witchcraft, the way real witches practice it, doesn’t have anything to do with animal sacrifice. It doesn’t have anything to do with Satanism,” Elizabeth said. “Magic is taking the reality presented to you and using your will to change that reality into something else, without harming another being,” Mark said. They compare it to prayer, Lee reported.
The Sommerers said you light a candle, think positive thoughts and then do what’s necessary to make those thoughts a reality. “If I could wiggle my nose and make stuff happen, I wouldn’t be here. That’s for sure,” Mark said.
Lee reported that Mark was actually raised a Lutheran, and while Christians seriously object to his beliefs, they’re shared by a surprising number of people.
Mark and Elizabeth are two of an estimated 30,000 pagans living and working in northeast Ohio, many of whom call themselves witches. They hold an annual celebration of fertility on Public Square.
“We’re your neighbors, we’re your friends. We’re anybody you could meet on the street,” Mark said. And they say their choice of beliefs is just that — their choice. Mark said he quit a job once because he was being persecuted over his beliefs.