Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kaley Cuoco Grants 'Witches' in Toyota Super Bowl Ad


In the continuing pantheon of pre-release Super Bowl commercials come this Saatchi LA-created work for Toyota featuring The Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco. in the ad, which touts the RAV4, Cuoco takes on the role of a modern genie granting wishes to the Henderson family.
As each family member makes a wish, Cuoco grants it...with a twist, especially for Dad who just can't seem to get his wishes to come true the way he had envisioned them. Wishes include eradication of Dad's "spare tire" (sort of), daughter's wish animals could talk, mom's wish to eat all the chocolate she wants, daughter's wish she could be a princess, son's wish he could be an astronaut (hmm, send him over to the Axe commercial) and Dad's wich for infinite wishes which, well, results in the wrong kind of witch...uh...wish.
The "Wish Granted" commercial also features an image submitted by Ryan Koch of Fitchburg, Wis., as part of the Get In the Big Game opportunity that took place earlier this month.
Of her participation in the ad, Cuoco said, "As soon as I saw the script, I knew I wanted to be in this commercial because the sense of humor was right up my alley. It was so much fun and I'm excited that everyone gets to see it now and again on Sunday."

Boy Scouts Rule On Atheists Unchanged As BSA Reconsiders Ban On Gays

Huffington Post

(RNS) For former scoutmaster Richard Guglielmetti, the Boy Scouts of America's reconsideration of its ban on gay scouts and leaders is long overdue.
Guglielmetti, 66, who led Troop 76 in Simsbury, Conn., for a dozen years until 2005, said leaders and members of his troop ignored the national organization's prohibition on gays because they felt it was wrong.
"It's about time," he said Monday (Jan. 28).
Despite the national policies set forth by BSA, his troop always rejected the policy, Guglielmetti said.
"We had a bunch of boys in our troop who were gay, and they all felt the policy was wrong," he said. "Gay Scouts and everybody was always welcome in our troop."
One of those Scouts was Guglielmetti's own son, Matthew, now 34. Last year, Matthew turned in the Eagle Scout award he earned in 1993 because of Scouting's anti-gay policies, his father said.
In September, the elder Guglielmetti resigned from Scouting. He had been serving the Matianuck District in north central Connecticut as the chairman responsible for giving Eagle Scout candidates their review boards.
Guglielmetti said that for him the final straw was hearing of Ryan Andresen, a gay teen in California who was not allowed to earn his Eagle Scout ranking even after completing the required service project.
"The boy did all the work and everybody knew he was gay, and then they rejected him. That was just intolerable. When that came up, I said, I can't take it, I can't put up with this anymore," he said.
"Just because a person is gay doesn't mean he's a pedophile," Guglielmetti added. "Barring gay leaders kind of accuses them of being pedophiles. Which they're not -- there's plenty of good gay men that would be good leaders. As far as their policy against gay Scouts, I don't think they should discriminate against anybody -- black, white, rich, poor, gay, straight. I mean, it's Boy Scouts, and they're boys. That was my problem with it."
The potential policy shift raises a question about another group shut out of Scouting: atheists, who decline to say the Boy Scout Oath because it begins: "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law."
David Silverman, president of American Atheists, said Monday, "If they are considering lifting the ban on gays, that's a good thing, that's progress. If they lift that bigotry from their requirements, I would hope they remove the rest of the bigotry and admit atheists as well."
Refusing to admit atheists who decline the oath, Silverman said, "tells boys that atheists are immoral. If local groups want to behave in an ethical way, I'm confident they will make Boy Scouts about Scouting, not about bigotry."

The Girl Scout Promise is similar in committing the girl to "serve God and my country."
But the official site also stipulates: "According to the Girl Scout Constitution, the motivating force in Girl Scouting is spiritual. The ways in which members identify and fulfill their spiritual beliefs are personal and private."
The Girl Scouts of the USA policy is that religious expression is diverse and "the decision to say grace, blessing or invocation is made locally at the troop or group level and should be sensitive to the spiritual beliefs of the participants."
Brian Shane writes for USA Today and The (Salisbury, Md.) Daily Times. Mike Chalmers writes for USA Today and The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal. William M. Welch contributed to this story.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'Beautiful Creatures' Trailer - Thoughts?

Ron Howard in Talks to Direct Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book for Disney as Live-Action Film

Disney’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book finds new life in director Ron Howard.  Last April, Disney picked up the feature rights to The Graveyard Book with plans to reunite director Henry Selick (Coraline) with another Gaiman work.  Then, just this past August, Disney put a halt to the production, which was then slotted for stop-motion animation, citing creative issues.  The latest twist is not only that Howard is reportedly in negotiations to helm the picture, but that it will be a live-action adaptation (which is interesting considering most of the characters are dead…).
Heat Vision reportsgraveyard-book-neil-gaiman-cover that Howard is in talks to direct The Graveyard Book as a live-action adaptation of Gaiman’s Jungle Book-inspired story.  The children’s story was a winner of both the Carnegie and Newbery medals, marking the first time a book achieved such a feat.  Howard, meanwhile, is currently putting the finishing touches onRush, a Formula-1 racing movie starring Chris Hemsworthand Daniel Bruhl, which opens September 20, 2013.  He also recently signed on to adapt the fantasy adaptation,All I’ve Got, so we’ll see how his schedule works out.
Check out the book description below (via Amazon):
It takes a graveyard to raise a child.
Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

Happy Anniversary, Doctor Who! Let's go back to the beginning...William Hartnell...

BBC Calls Yoga a ‘Fad,’ Promptly Offends Millions


While performing foot-in-mouthasana, the BBC has offended up to one billion Hindus by referring to yoga as a “new age fad.”
BBC News-World posted a video on January 10 marking the 150th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda who is known and celebrated for introducing Eastern philosophies to the Western world in the late 19th Century. Innocent enough, until the BBC refers to Vivekananda as “the man behind yoga and other new age fads.” The President of Universal Society of Hinduism, ever eagle-eyed Rajan Zed, is asking for an apology for what he calls insensitive and belittling remarks. For the sake of context, the quote in its entirety was, “Yoga, meditation and new age fads have become a multi-million dollar industry.” Semantics aside, it is hard to argue with the last bit.
Zed said that the BBC “…should immediately apologize for this inappropriate terminology and hurting the feelings of about one billion Hindus and publish it on BBC website.”
Whether or not Zed is qualified to speak to the feelings of one billion Hindus is up for debate. The knowledge that yoga has been around for far longer than any other so-called fad is not. Certainly the BBC is not the only media outlet to suggest the growing western popularity in yoga is a fad (and cautious Lululemon stock holders have been wary of the bursting bubble for a while now) but this offense was not an isolated case.
Tensions may be remaining from an incident a few months back in which the BBC labeled the Hindu festival of Holi as, “filthy holiday.” BBC News’ Editor On Demand Mark Barlex later issued an apology after this mishap stating, “…we apologise for any offence that was caused.”
BBC has not yet responded to Zed’s demands for an apology.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Doctor Who Reads...

Doctor Who: more 50th Anniversary rumours

Den of Geek

Far be it from us to dowse enthusiastic reporting on Doctor Who's forthcoming fiftieth anniversary with the waters of scepticism, but there's just a chance that the newest rumour is more enthusiasm than fact.
The Birmingham Mail is reporting, without source or quote, that "Show boss Steven Moffat is close to completing a script which will see the current Doctor, Matt Smith, needing the assistance of ALL his police box predecessors", going on to add that "Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann have all signed up to record an anniversary audio adventure, and are keen to appear in the historic TV show, too. Christopher Eccleston is said to be reconsidering an earlier decision not to take part, and David Tennant – a friend of Moffat – has hinted that he has been invited to reprise his role."
Hmm. "Keen to appear" and "said to be reconsidering" are somewhat bet-hedging wouldn't you say? While we'd love nothing more than to confirm the long wished-for news that Moffat's fiftieth anniversary episode plans will indeed feature all eleven Doctors (three added in post-production, naturally), at present, this seems like little more than wish-fulfilment.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Malawi frees all witches from jail

Malawi Today 
Liviness Elifala and her friend Margaret Jackson, of Lodzanyama Village, Traditional Authority Ntema in Lilongwe, have not been home for the last three years.
The two have been in prison and returned home three weeks ago following the latest presidential prisoner parole.
This means for the first time, there are no prisoners in Malawi who were jailed for practising witchcraft. The development comes at a time the Witchcraft Act, which does not recognise the existence of witchcraft, is under review.
Elifala found her house dilapidated, the planting season is gone and, therefore, she has no food now and will still have none after the harvest season.
“Some children told their parents that we had enrolled them in a witchcraft school. The parents and chiefs ganged up against us, accusing us of practising witchcraft. We did not want trouble, so we admitted doing it although I had no idea what they were talking about.
“We were taken to Kanengo Police where I spent about two weeks in a cell,” said Elifala, who did not flash a smile the whole time she talked.
One informant in the village said the two used to get children to magical soccer games using human heads as balls.
And that was the end of the two women; the court found them guilty and sentenced them to five years in prison.
“We were never harassed in prison, except for one time when my fellow inmates beat me up,” said Elifala.
Key in the release of the two women is the Association for Secular Humanists (ASH) with its executive director George Thindwa. ASH is at war with witchcraft and is currently running adverts on local radios to sensitise people against witchcraft-related violence.
In the lead-up to the release of the two women, it bombarded the State with petitions to free all witchcraft convicts from the country’s prisons.
So far, the organisation has bailed the women out by giving them two bags of maize each, medicine and assorted groceries.
With funding from the Norwegian government, ASH engaged Chancellor College sociologist Dr Charles Chilimampunga to determine the extent of the witchcraft problem in Malawi.
Results of the study indicate that despite the two Lilongwe women being free, there is still a long way before communities let go of their view on witchcraft.
The study, released in April last year, found that 87 percent of sampled communities believe there are witches among them and that witchcraft is on the rise. Most of the accused are older women and the accusers are usually children.
“This study found that some suspected witches are subjected to acts of violence. For example, 11 (73 percent) of the 15 sampled suspects, reported that they were beaten up,” reads the report.
Apart from physical violence, the suspected witches lose their property through vandalism, they are socially and psychologically sidelined and some witchdoctors have been reported to have sexually abused female suspects.
Legally, witchcraft is not recognised in Malawi. The Witchcraft Act of 1911 says it is illegal to accuse somebody of being a witch, meaning that the children who accused the two women violated the law.
But Elifala and Jackson were jailed because they admitted that they are witches. According to the witchcraft law, it is illegal to say you are a witch.
In a country where the belief in witchcraft is pervasive regardless of levels of education and social status, to most people the law reads like an alien novel whose narrative is not rooted in society.
“The means by which witches are identified are very dubious and questionable since they cannot be subjected to scientific scrutiny or testing. Revelations by ‘witches’ and children can be misleading since admissions by the accused are sometimes made under duress,” says the report on the witchcraft study.
Thindwa pointed at some religious leaders, especially from the Pentecostal hue, who he said have been blaming things such as financial misfortunes on witches.
This, he said, incites hooliganism against witchcraft suspects.
To deal with the problem, the report calls for a nationwide campaign to enlighten the masses on what the law says on witchcraft. It also calls on the police to handle witchcraft accusations without emotions and favouritism
“[There is need to] develop measures that ensure that those accused or mistreated in the name of witchcraft are able to report, come forward and speak out of injustices to police, DCs or relevant NGOs. Establishment of temporary shelter, hot-line and legal support would be in order,” says the report.
For Elifala and Jackson, however, all they hope for is to get back the life they lost and try to ignore the stares that will haunt them and the poverty that prison created for them.
Lodzanyama used to be their home, but that changed in a flash when everyone turned against them.
Now the village is just a camp for them.

The Modern Magic in Africa's Witchcraft Industry

Think Africa Press

Witchcraft beliefs are often seen as rooted in tradition, but modern dynamics of new media, globalisation and marketisation are just as important.

Witchcraft beliefs in Africa returned to the news cycle towards the end of 2012 following reports of mass exhumations in Benin. In the dead of night, over 100 corpses were dug up from a cemetery near Porto Novo and mutilated – reportedly so that body parts could be sold on the black market. In recent months, there has also been a string of UN and NGO reports linking African witchcraft beliefs to child abuse, killings and human trafficking.
In coverage of such stories, it is often suggested that witchcraft beliefs, and the abusive practices that can follow, are deeply rooted in African tradition and local cultural heritage. An Al Jazeeradocumentary about witchcraft accusations and infanticide in northern Benin, for example, stresses the role that witchcraft plays in Beninese tradition and the difficulties faced by authorities in eradicating entrenched superstitions. Similarly, some reports emphasise the “traditions” that inform witchcraft-related child killings.
But while the role played by cultural heritage is undeniable, it is critical to separate ‘traditional’ elements from more modern innovations. Studies suggest that witchcraft-related practices have undergone rapid transformations in the last 20 years. According to a UNICEF report, for example, witchcraft accusations directed at children only date back around 10 or 20 years; prior to this, the accused were typically elderly women.
Today’s witchcraft beliefs and practices are as much products of modern dynamics as they are informed by long-standing tradition. Witchcraft beliefs are not remnants of ‘pre-modern’ cultures but contemporary phenomena embedded in, and partly constituted by, specific and current cultural and socio-economic contexts.

Witchcraft 2.0

One important factor in these modern witchcraft beliefs is the recent rise of Pentecostal churches and other evangelical religions in West Africa, facilitated by modern media technologies.
Several religious figures, for example, use television and the internet to advertise their usually expensive services as exorcists. Prior to his arrest, "Bishop" Sunday Ulup-Aya in Nigeria earned $261 for each child he delivered from demonic possession. Similarly, Helen Ukpabio and her African evangelical franchise, Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, encourage witchcraft and demon-related fears, and call on people to subscribe to the organisation or pay hefty fees for exorcisms. On her website, Ukpabio sells publications and films including titles such as Married to a WitchThe Coven and Unveiling the Mysteries of Witchcraft, the last of which sells for $25.
The use of modern media is not limited to Christian churches however. Benin has also seen the emergence of evangelical Vodun priests such as Dah Aligbonon Akpochihala, who hosts his own radio show and frequently appears on television to dispel misconceptions about the Vodun religion.
Although it is clearly too simplistic to suggest these evangelical practitioners are primarily responsible for driving witchcraft beliefs, their pervasive presence and use of popular media has inevitably contributed to the continued infusion of such beliefs into the general cultural landscape and popular conscience.

The magic of the market

Market forces are also central to today’s witchcraft beliefs. Again, although we must be careful not to over-emphasise the importance of such forces, economic dimensions are inextricable from, and central to, contemporary beliefs.
On the one hand, these influences can operate from a top-down perspective. Practitioners such as Helen Ukpabio have helped create a lucrative market in anti-witchcraft goods and services, thus subjecting beliefs to the kind of marketing strategies typical of any modern capitalist industry.
Demand for charms and services that supposedly protect against sorcery have led to some shocking events in West and Central Africa. The corpse mutilations in Benin are one example. “The desecration of graves is about money in this region”, commented Joseph Afaton, director of the cemetery in Dangbo, Benin, where the desecrations took place.
In certain parts of West and Central Africa, people with albinism are said to have magical powers and an IRIN report estimates that a "complete set of albino body parts" – including all four limbs, genitals, ears, nose and tongue – can sell for about $75,000 in Tanzania.
Adding another economic layer to the issue, in many cases children accused of witchcraft end up as child labourers. Several industries in West Africa rely heavily on child labour, including cocoa farming in the Ivory Coast, and witchcraft beliefs are sometimes deliberately manipulated by human traffickers to silence victims and coerce them into accepting their fate.
From selling charms to child labour then, numerous parties stand to benefit from witchcraft beliefs and the human rights violations often facilitated by such beliefs.

Toil and trouble

On the other hand, economic forces can be seen to affect witchcraft beliefs from a more bottom-up perspective.
Interestingly, the UNICEF report mentioned above suggests that child witch accusations often take place in circumstances where families are unable to support their own children. A comparative survey published in the report found that impoverished regions of Africa in which children were able to support themselves experience a far lower frequency of child witch accusations even in cases where witchcraft beliefs form part of local tradition.
Additionally, modern scares often enter into discourse about sorcery. For example, a Beninese student told Think Africa Press that, prior to a car journey, he never told anyone where or when he was travelling lest someone employ sorcery to try to kill or injure him in a car crash. Traffic accidents are indeed a significant modern danger in Benin, causing over 2% of all deaths. The UNICEF report also cites urbanisation and the dissolution of the traditional family as factors behind recent transformations in the nature of witchcraft accusations.

Modern solutions to a modern problem?

Sorcery in Africa is not a simple concept, as Joachim Theis, UNICEF’s child protector in West Africa, explains in an IRIN report: “It has spiritual, economic and social drivers... It gets blurred with all sorts of other beliefs, but it cannot always be put into one box”.
Witchcraft beliefs are complex, varied and dynamic. They are not purely tradition but nor are they merely a response to rapid modernisation. They overlap many areas of life and society, and are intertwined in modern processes and even legal institutions – performing witchcraft is a recognised crime in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad and Gabon, and children can be imprisoned for it.
As well as being mindful of tradition therefore, NGOs and governmental bodies working to prevent child abuse and infanticide need to target these very modern and tangible realities: the explicit ‘witchcraft industry’, anti-witch legislation, child labour and human trafficking, poverty, urbanisation and family dissolution. If all they have left to face in the end is tradition, then they will have made considerable progress.
Think Africa Press welcomes inquiries regarding the republication of its articles. If you would like to republish this or any other article for re-print, syndication or educational purposes, please contact:

Box office update: Jessica Chastain takes No. 1 and No. 2 with 'Mama' and 'Zero Dark Thirty'

by Grady Smith

Image Credit: Universal PicturesMama-Box-Office-03
Jessica Chastain is having a moment. Not only did the red-headed Oscar nominee win a Golden Globe last weekend for her work in Zero Dark Thirty, which forced her to take a night off from her Broadway run — yes she’s starring in Broadway’s The Heiress during the thick of awards season — but she’s now achieved something few actors have ever managed: she currently holds the number one and number two movies at the box office.
Chastain’s latest vehicle, Mama, crushed the competition over the three-day weekend with a whopping $28.1 million. Universal, who produced the PG-13 film for only $15 million, openedMama in 2,647 theaters, where it earned a terrific $10,624 average. The horror title played very well with young women — 61 percent of viewers were female, and 63 percent were below the age of 25. Unfortunately, most of those audiences weren’t overly enthusiastic about what they saw, issuing Mama a lackluster “B-” CinemaScore grade.
Chastain’s other entry, Zero Dark Thirty, fell only 28 percent in its sophomore weekend of wide release to $17.6 million, which brought the Osama Bin Laden huntdown’s total to $55.9 million. Controversy continues to boost the Kathryn Bigelow-directed drama’s profile, but great word-of-mouth seems to be playing just as big of a role in Zero Dark Thirty‘s success.
It’s fair to say that Chastain’s presence in both Mama and Zero Dark Thirty had little to do with each film’s successful box office performance. Neither was marketed on her appeal, and yet, that doesn’t take away from her achievement.
Silver Linings Playbook performed very nicely in its nationwide expansion. Upon jumping from 810 to 2,523 theaters, Playbook increased 126 percent to $11.4 million, which brings its total to $55.3 million so far. (Kudos to the Weinstein Co. for its deftly executed platform strategy. If they had opened Silver Linings Playbook in wide release, as planned, we almost certainly wouldn’t be talking about it 10 weeks later.) In the month leading up to Oscar season, good word-of-mouth may continue to carry Silver Linings Playbook to a total as high as $100 million.
In fourth place, Warner Bros.’ crime drama Gangster Squad fell 47 percent to $9.1 million, giving the $60 million Sean Penn/Josh Brolin action flick an unremarkable $32.2 million total after ten days.
Still, Gangster Squad’s second weekend was better than the debuts of new releases Broken City and The Last Stand, which both flopped out of the gate. Fox’s $35 million Broken City, which stars the usually reliable Mark Wahlberg alongside Russell Crowe, drew only $9.0 million worth of tickets from 2,620 theaters, while Lionsgate’s $45 million The Last Stand, an Arnold Schwarznegger film, fared even worse with a puny $6.3 million. Both films played primarily to older male audiences (who are also seeing Zero Dark Thirty and Gangster Squad), and they may have cannibalized each other over their first three days.
1. Mama – $28.1 million
2. Zero Dark Thirty – $17.6 million
3. Silver Linings Playbook – $11.4 million
4. Gangster Squad – $9.1 million
5. Broken City – $9.0 million
Check back tomorrow for the full box office report, which will cover the four-day holiday weekend.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Parents beat 9-year-old girl for 'being a witch'

The Local

Two parents from western Sweden are facing charges that they savagely beat a 9-year-old girl and forced her to drink her own urine because they thought she was a witch.

Prosecutors allege the girl's mother and stepfather kicked and beat the 9-year-old so badly that she lost consciousness as they attempted to exorcise evil spirits from her.

She was also forced to drink a mixture of her own urine and cleaning fluid until she vomited. 

The couple also tried to administer electric shocks in the girl's mouth, the local BorĂ¥s Tidning (BT) newspaper reported.

The attacks allegedly took place in 2007 and 2008, but the girl only spoke of the incidents long after they took place.

Social services removed the girl from the care of the couple several years ago and she has since been placed in a foster home.

The man and the woman charged for attempting the violent exorcism deny committing any crimes.

"As far as I know, they still believe she could be a witch," prosecutor Daniel Larson told the TT news agency.

He added that the girl retold of several violent attacks carried out by her parents, but when drawing up the indictment he focused on some of the most serious attacks which carry a longer statute of limitation.

"There is information about how she was locked up, forced to cut her hair and wear a wig, and how she was accused of being a witch," Larson said.

The case is the second in the past year in which adults have been accused of abusing children thought to be witches.

In the previous case, all four adults were acquitted by the district court. However, an appeal hearing is scheduled for April.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's a good time to be a Whovian!

Jharkhand: Woman beheaded on suspicion of witchcraft


Jamshedpur: The head of a tribal woman was chopped off by her brother-in-law who then surrendered with it at a police station at a village in Jharkhand's Seraikela-Kharswan district, police sources said on Saturday.
The brother-in-law Bagit alias Diku Mardi walked into Rajnagar police station with the head of the 60-year-old woman and the axe with which he killed her on Friday at Murumdih village, the sources said.
Bagit told the police he killed his sister-in-law for practising witchcraft which he said was causing his son's illness. Bagit was produced in court and sent to judicial custody.
Jharkhand: Woman beheaded on suspicion of witchcraft

Jeremy Renner: In 'Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters,' 'we get our butts kicked a lot'

Two nice little kids are left in the woods by their dad, they find their way into a house of candy, it's a kill-or-be-eaten situation inside with the witch who lives there, and the kids survive. But, as Jeremy Renner pointed out on TODAY Wednesday, "It didn't end there" in the fairy tale of "Hansel and Gretel."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Neighbors In Salem, NH Concerned About New Witchcraft Temple

SALEM, NH (CBS) – The Temple of Witchcraft in Salem, New Hampshire is moving locations to a residential neighborhood on North Policy Street.
That has some neighbors voicing their concerns to the town’s planning officials – not about religion – but about traffic. The temple is close to Canobie Lake Park, and neighbors say traffic is already a nightmare.
They are worried about more cars in the area, the lights and a new parking lot that will be built on the grounds.
The temple has about 200 members locally and about 500 globally.
“My concerns with the witchcraft have nothing to do with religion,” said neighbor June Lilley. “I just don’t believe that it’s in the right spot.”
One of the reasons is that the new 5-acre property allows them to be closer to nature.
“Modern witches are an Earth-based tradition,” says Temple co-founder and witch Chris Penczak. “This location afforded us a forest.”
The Temple will host rituals, ceremonies and classes.
City officials tell WBZ-TV the witches presented proper plans and the move has been approved.
The temple’s leaders say they are happy neighbors seem to be more concerned about traffic rather than the witchcraft.
“Witches are people too,” says Penczak.
Some neighbors admit they are a little curious.
“When somebody moves in your neighborhood and say witchcraft, you’re first thing is like ‘well that’s pretty weird’,” says neighbor Scott White. “You don’t want them casting any spells over here or anything but I mean they seem like normal people.”
The witches say they plan to break ground on the new parking lot in the Spring and then the move will be complete.

Jeremy Renner Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Gallery

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Exclusive Photos From Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters's has your exclusive first look at four new photos fromHansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, coming to 3D, 2D and IMAX theaters on January 25.

Directed by Tommy Wirkola, the film stars Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Peter Stormare, Derek Mears and Thomas Mann. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters takes place 15 years after the siblings' incident at the gingerbread house. The two are now specialized bounty hunters looking to put down the cackling black-hat set.

Click on any pic below for access to our image gallery!

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Nepal jails mob for burning suspected 'witch' alive

Daily News

A mob in Nepal was jailed for severely beating and burning a woman alive after the village sharman accused her of practicing witchcraft. “Witch-hunters” abuse hundreds of lower-caste women every year in Nepal.

Nepalese activists protest over violence against women in Kathmandu on January 6, 2013

Agence France Presse

Nepalese activists protest over violence against women in Kathmandu on January 6, 2013
A court in Nepal has jailed members of a mob who burned alive a 40-year-old woman after accusing her of casting black magic spells in a remote southern village, an official said Tuesday.

Mother-of-two Dhengani Devi Mahato died when she was severely beaten, doused in kerosene and set alight in February last year after the village shaman (traditional spiritual healer) accused her of practicing witchcraft.

"Eight men including a shaman have been convicted of murder. The district court has sentenced each of them for 20 years," Din Bandhu Baral, an officer at Chitwan district court, told AFP. The verdicts were handed down on Monday.

"I think this will serve as an apt precedent at a time when protests are being organized across the country demanding stern action against the perpetrators of violence against women."
Baghauda village, inhabited by ethnic Tharus and other indigenous tribes people, is a 90-minute drive from the nearest town of Bharatpur.

Hundreds of lower-caste women suffer abuse at the hands of "witch hunters" every year in Nepal, where superstition and caste-based discrimination remain rife and where most communities still operate on strict patriarchal lines.

Human rights campaigners say the perpetrators of such crimes are rarely brought to justice.
In the capital Kathmandu, hundreds have been protesting since the end of December over the alleged rape and robbery of a maid by government officials and other cases of violence against women.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

World News - Odisha: Man kills two, injure another over suspicion of witchcraft

IBN News

Rourkela: Two persons were killed and another is battling for her life in an attack believed to have taken place over suspicion of practice of withcraft in Odisha's Sundargarh district, police said on Wednesday.
Though the incident took place at Lodhusha village in Tikayatpalli area on December 30, it came to light on Tuesday and one person was arrested in this connection, they said.
"We have arrested one Pramod Behera. We suspect that he is mentally disturbed. Investigation is on," said inspector-in-charge (IIC) of Tikayatpalli police station, K Bariah.
Pramod allegedly attacked the three with a sharp weapon as he suspected that they had caused him bad luck by practising sorcery.
While Dhrubacharana Sahu and Daitari Sahu died after the attack, Daitari's mother Chandani Sahu is undergoing treatment at a hospital, he said.
The incident took place when Pramod attacked Dhurabacharana with a sharp weapon when the latter was sleeping in the house, said Bariah. Pramod then attacked Daitari Sahu who was busy in harvesting outside.
When Dharitri raised an alarm his mother Chandani Sahu came rushing to his aid. In a fit of rage, Pramod attacked the elderly woman too the IIC said.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Neil Gaiman's Graduation Speech 'Make Good Art' To Become Book Designed By Chip Kidd

Huffington Post 
Neil Gaiman melted more than a few hearts when he delivered the inspirational "Make Good Art" commencement speech at Philadelphia’s the University of the Arts this past May. Gaiman's sage advice inspired illustrator Gavin Aung Tung to create a brilliant comic following its YouTube debut. Next up for the author's wise words? A new book designed by Chip Kidd.
neil gaiman commencement

Gaiman, known for his short fiction works including "Coraline" and "The Sandman," gives a 20-minute speech on the difficulties waiting in both failure and success that emerge in the pursuit of art. The standout passage reads:
When things get tough, this is what you should do: Make good art. I'm serious. Husband runs off with a politician -- make good art. Leg crushed and then eaten by a mutated boa constrictor -- make good art. IRS on your trail -- make good art. Cat exploded -- make good art. Someone on the Internet thinks what you're doing is stupid or evil or it's all been done before -- make good art.
The book won't be released until May 14th but you can watch the YouTube video below to get your inspirational juices (or New Year's resolutions) flowing:

Church minister warns witchcraft is thriving - in WALES (home to 83 witches, 93 satanists and the site of an exorcism)

  • Reverend Felix Aubel, of Carmarthenshire, has battled with the occult
  • Speaks of chilling tales including a mother and son hospitalised by 'evil eye'
  • Latest census has revealed there are 83 witches and 93 satanists in Wales

Rev Aubel has revealed witchcraft is thriving across rural parishes in Wales in his autobiography
Rev Aubel has revealed witchcraft is thriving across rural parishes in Wales in his autobiography
A church minister has revealed witchcraft is very much alive and well in his Welsh rural parishes as he warns against becmoning involved in the occult.

Reverend Felix Aubel has spoken of how he as come across witches, the use of effigies and the 'evil eye' during his career in the Welsh countryside.

He has detailed a number of spine-tingling chilling tales after the latest figures in the 2011 census revealed 83 witches and 93 satanists are living in Wales.

Rev Aubel, who is the minister of five Congregational chapels in rural Carmarthenshire, even detailed how he had to call out an exorcist after a witch placed a curse on one of his parishioners.

He said: 'This is not a joke and I would warn people not to get involved in the occult.

'I have been told that a coven of witches still meet locally.
'There is also a witch living in a nearby village who advertises her services in the local paper.'

In his autobiography, Rev Aubel describes how a curse on a parishioner had to be lifted by an exorcist after a 'poppet' or 'effigy' was made of a chapel member of his.

He said: 'In folk-magic and witchcraft, a poppet is a doll made to represent a person, for casting spells on that person.

'A poppet or effigy would be used with very sharp needles stuck into its 'heart' as a way of doing evil to an enemy.
'It was this evil type of poppet that was used on a chapel member of mine in the Aberaeron area in 1994.
'It took an experienced Anglican exorcist to 'raise' this curse, which had been placed by a witch on the instruction of another former church member.

'The motivation behind this 'evil' was envy that had turned into jealousy.'

Rev Aubel wrote the book, called A Rebel's Story, to act as a warning to people not to get entangle in the occult.

Rev Aubel has detailed how he come across the use of effigies, the 'evil eye' and witches during his time as a church minister
Rev Aubel has detailed how he come across the use of effigies, the 'evil eye' and witches during his time as a church minister

The Carmarthenshire church minister, who has preached in West Wales for over 20 years, also said he had battled a case of the 'evil eye' which left a mother and her young child needing hospital treatment.

He said: 'This is an ancient belief in the existence of a malevolent power in the glance of some people, which is almost invariably provoked by envy or jealousy.

'In this instance, a lady who had given birth to a baby boy was apparently wished bad luck by the "evil glance" in the eye of a childless spinster neighbour.

The church minister has told of how he had to call out an exorcist, similar to the 1973 classic film, after a parishioner was cursed by a witch
The church minister has told of how he had to call out an exorcist, similar to the 1973 classic film, after a parishioner was cursed by a witch

'Both mother and child were subsequently taken ill due to acute breathlessness for no apparent medical reason and had to be hospitalised.

'The spinster even visited the mother and child in hospital while I was speaking to them.
'It became obvious to me that the spinster was praising the baby to its mother in a very false and patronising way.'

Rev Aubel has said he has come across witches during his time as a church minister in Wales
Rev Aubel said he had to call an exorcist after an effigy, or poppet, was made of a chapel member of his
Rev Aubel said he had come across witches during his time as a minister, while the exorcist had to be called after an effigy, or poppet, was made of a chapel member of his

This is one of the most noticeable characteristics of the utilisation of the "evil eye".
'Realising this, I asked the spinster to say "God bless you" to the baby, having just said what a beautiful child the mother had.

'After that the spinster immediately walked away without uttering another word.'
Rev Aubel said the mother later placed a horse shoe amulet in the porch of her home as a precautionary measure to protect her son and herself from the effects of the 'evil eye'.