Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Gerald Gardner, Terrorist

In this season of the ancestors, a tale of the ancestors.

Gerald Gardner was living on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea when he initiated Arnold and Pat Crowther. After their handfasting (“The Bride Wore Black When the Witches Wed”), which Gerald himself performed, they got their own place in Sheffield and set up a temple in the attic.

Pat wrote to Gerald and asked if he would fly over from Man to consecrate the temple. Delighted, Gerald agreed.

On the day of the flight, the Crowthers drive to the airport to collect Gerald. Waiting on the tarmac, they watch Gerald get off the plane, limping pronouncedly.

“Oh Gerald,” says Pat, “Have you hurt your leg? Shall we swing by the doctor on the way home?”


“No, no, my dear,” says Gerald, “Let's just get in the car.”

They all climb in, and Gerald proceeds to undo his trousers. Even for Gardner, this was unusual behavior.

Pat and Arnold watch in amusement as Gerald pulls the coven sword from the leg of his trousers. It's been strapped against his leg the whole time. 


“Well,” says Gerald, defensively, while they laugh, “We need it for the ritual. We couldn't have them thinking I was hijacking the plane now, could we?”




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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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