icBirmingham (England), Aug. 18 2002
A self-styled “White Witch” was killed in a bizarre accident after performing a ritual spell to celebrate a friend’s birthday at her Midland flat, the Sunday Mercury can reveal.
Aspiring model Elspeth Henderson, 22, died from smoke inhalation after a burning candle set fire to her second-floor Wolverhampton flat on April 13, an inquest heard.
Five days earlier, the University of Wolverhampton psychology student had invited friends Katherine Barrow and Kathryn Gnossil around to her new flat.
It was Mrs Barrow’s birthday and, on their arrival, Miss Henderson lit several candles which had been strategically aligned as part of a mystical good luck spell.
Mrs Barrow, landlady at the Halfway House pub where Miss Henderson worked for two years, said: “We had to bring some flowers as part of the spell which was supposed to be in celebration of my birthday.
“Elspeth mumbled some kind of chant and we all had to blow the candles out at the end of it. It wasn’t anything spooky and we just considered it a bit of fun.
“Elspeth was interested in all this mystical stuff and had recently performed a ritual for the Spring equinox. She had also done some kind of blessing ritual involving candles for the flat because she had only just moved in. But whatever it was seems to have turned out to be a curse instead.”
“She considered herself a white witch and had a very keen interest in mysticism. She would read Tarot cards and concoct natural potions but it wasn’t something she was obsessed with.”
Last week’s inquest in Wolver-hampton heard how a lit candle had been placed on top of a video recorder under a table.
In recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Richard Allen said the fire had spread through the floorboards and ceiling of the flat below.
Mrs Barrow, who also visited Miss Henderson just hours before her death, said: “I went round to the flat and noticed that the candles used for my birthday spell were still in the same position.
“She told me that they had to remain ritually aligned like that for a few days to make the spell work. I didn’t notice any candles on the video recorder and she seemed in good spirits.”
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