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Crafting The Art Of Magic:
A Critical Review

By D. Hudson Frew (Morgann)

Copyright 1991 by D. Hudson Frew.
Used by permission of the author.

Independent evidence of an earlier group

On page xix Kelly questions the likelihood of there having been a pre-Gardner coven, saying:

... the very ordinary bits of evidence (addresses, letters, diaries, even laundry lists) that we would expect to find for the existence of a pre-1939 coven were nowhere to be found.

As if this absence of evidence is evidence of absence. But on page 32, Kelly quotes Doreen Valiente in support of a different point to the effect that:

... the whole occult scene was so secretive in those times [pre-1939], so furtive almost (witches were, after all, still doing something actually illegal, for which they could actually have been prosecuted), tracks were very well covered, I can assure you!

It doesn't seem likely that Witches operating under such conditions would leave such clues as addresses and letters lying about. It is unreasonable to assume that a thoroughly closeted coven would leave the same kind of paper trail behind as those functioning in the post-1960's atmosphere of religious tolerance. The pre-1939 mindset would more likely be akin to that expressed in the Gardnerian text called "The Warning":

Keep this book in your own hand of write... never let this book out of your hands... never keep the writings of another... Each should guard his own writings and destroy them whenever danger threatens... if any die, destroy their book if they have not been able to... (page 85)

It is hardly surprising that evidence incriminating to members of any pre-1939 coven is not forthcoming. (Laundry lists? You mean like "1 ritual robe w/ hood, black: no starch"?)



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