Do You Believe in Witches?
By request, here’s an MP3 version of the music I wrote for Pumpkinrot’s 2009 haunt video.
LISTEN: Do You Believe in Witches?
Just a quick editorial note (not that everything on a blog isn’t editorial):
A matter of what most would consider political correctness has been on my mind since the start of this project and I’d like address it. Namely, it’s that the subject of this piece is a witch.
I have very dear friends who are Wiccans. Maybe you can already see where I’m going here. The thing is, the witch depicted so masterfully by Mr. Rot in the aforementioned video is of the old fashioned “terrifying hag, most likely consorting with Satan” variety. Many Wiccans find this depiction offensive, as it characterizes their faith in a decidedly negative way. The roots of Wicca trace back to the traditions and practices of many of those who were persecuted as witches back in the day, and some modern Wiccans cite this nasty old crone image as a lingering propaganda tool from a very dark time. In some ways they are right. At the same time, however, this image is one that has been somewhat secularized as it has become a part of American pop culture.
I wrestled with this notion when working on this project. I certainly don’t want to harm my friends–or anyone, for that matter–but it’s clear that some could be offended. I sympathize with that. I ask myself if it’s possible for a rational person to draw a connection between this gruesome caricature and the good, decent people I know who practice Wicca. The answer, unfortunately, is that even the most bizarre prejudices can be surprisingly enduring. Believe it or not, in the year 2011 it’s not 100% safe to assume that everyone knows Wiccans don’t sacrifice animals in the name of Satan and streak across night sky on broomsticks. Some people actually still think that’s true.
Personally, I believe there are few enough crazy assholes people who feel that way that it’s no reason to spoil a perfectly good scary story. What we’re talking about here is a dark take on a classic villain with far stronger connections to The Wizard of Oz than to Joan of Arc or Bridget Bishop. In the end, I feel this a harmless indulgence of fiction and creativity and nothing more. Perhaps I’m naive but I believe no harm was done here. You may feel otherwise.
Lastly, for anyone reading who still sees the Devil lurking behind every pentacle, well…you also have my sympathies. Four centuries is a lot of catching up to do.