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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Troll Bridge


A pagan couple once bought a house in the rural part of a Midwestern state. This house stood next to a bridge.

A few days after they'd moved in, there came a knock at the door.

“Hi,” said the couple at the door. “Our car broke down on the bridge; can we use your phone?”

(This, of course, was B.C.: before cell.)

“Sure,” said the home-owners and, being good pagans, they played the gracious host until the tow-truck arrived.

A few days later, there's another knock at the door. Another break-down on the bridge.

A few days after that, it happens again.

Finally, the couple gets pretty sick of it. (Call it hospitality fatigue.) So the husband walks over, stands under the bridge, and really lets loose.

“Listen, you!” he hollers. “I don't know who you are or what you're playing at, but I'm warning you: my wife is a witch, and if this doesn't stop right now, she's going to come over here and take care of things good and proper. And believe you me, you really don't want that to happen!

From that day forward, there were no more break-downs on the bridge.

I heard this story from my friend and colleague folklorist (and witch) Sabina Magliocco, who heard it from the couple that it actually happened to. You can draw your own conclusions.

I tell you, sometimes it's just a matter of opening up a line of communication.




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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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