Witches charged after raccoon entrails left on doorsteps

SALEM, Mass. –Two witches have been accused of tossing a raccoon head and entrails on the doorsteps of two businesses as part of what a witness called an internal Wiccan community feud.

Sharon Graham, 46, a self proclaimed high priestess of Salem witches, and Frederick Purtz, 22, pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Wednesday in Salem District Court on charges of malicious destruction of property. Graham also was charged with intimidating the witness, allegedly telling him she would “make him pay” if he didn’t keep quiet.

Lawyers for Graham and Purtz said the “sensationalized” charges wouldn’t hold up, noting the storefronts weren’t permanently damaged, an element of malicious destruction.

A lawyer for Purtz, Sean Wynne, said his client was taken aback by the accusations and did not take part in the animal’s mutilation.

He said there were likely “internal issues within the Wiccan community,” but the tossing of raccoon entrails in May was probably a “bastardization” of Wiccan practice because the religion doesn’t condone blood sacrifice or harming others.

The witness, Richard Watson, told police he accompanied Graham, his former roommate, and other men including Purtz when they threw the raccoon remains on the business’ doorsteps, Angelica of the Angels and the Goddess’ Treasure Chest. Watson told police Graham hoped to frame a local Wiccan who had fired the woman from his psychic telephone business last spring.

Watson also said Graham had a disagreement with the owners of the businesses over proposed regulations that would limit the number of psychics who come to the city during the Halloween season.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 24, 2007.
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