News of the Past

October 2005
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Composer cracks Rosslyn’s musical code

A musical code hidden in mystical symbols carved into the stone ceiling of Rosslyn Chapel has been unravelled for the first time in more than 500 years. Scottish composer Stuart Mitchell took 20 years to crack a complex series of codes, which have mystified historians for generations. His feat was hailed by experts as a . . . → Read More: Composer cracks Rosslyn’s musical code

When Wales welcomed witches

As if by magick, witches have rarely received a good press. Much-maligned throughout history, brooomsticked dabblers in the black arts were, at various times, chased, ridiculed, ostracised and murdered.

Long before Harry Potter was a glint in J.K. Rowling’s eye, his wizardly contemporaries were subject to the great witch hunts which swept Europe in . . . → Read More: When Wales welcomed witches

Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos

By Rebecca M. Cuevas De Caissie

Halloween is not the ancient ritual celebrated by the ancient peoples of south and Central America. That is Dia De Los Muetros or The Day of The Dead. The ritual, Dia De Los Muertos, dates back thousands of years and has since been accommodated by the Catholic Church and . . . → Read More: Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos

Harry Potter Wannabes Line Up; Witches Get Tax Break

By Joana Quintanilha

Margarita Rongen, who teaches spells and potions to witches in the Dutch village of Appelscha, says a court ruling that gave her trainees a tax break brought in hundreds of potential new recruits.

Rongen, 56, who offers the Netherlands’ only program that certifies witches, is getting applications from as far off . . . → Read More: Harry Potter Wannabes Line Up; Witches Get Tax Break

Buffy draws children to witchcraft

Popular TV programmes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch encourage an interest in witchcraft among children, it is claimed. The Pagan Federation, which represents druids and witches, says it has been “swamped” with calls following teenage programmes featuring good witches.

Speaking to BBC News Online the Pagan Federation’s Steve Paine, . . . → Read More: Buffy draws children to witchcraft

Walker discovers 5,000-year-old log path on moor

For 5,000 years one of the world’s oldest ever footpaths has remained a hidden secret, locked deep beneath the earth in South Yorkshire. That was until walker Mick Oliver quite literally stumbled across it while one day traipsing across Hatfield Moor, near Doncaster, shortly after it was re-opened to walkers in October last year.

“I . . . → Read More: Walker discovers 5,000-year-old log path on moor

Wiccan Priestess Loses High Court Appeal

By Gina Holland

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal on Tuesday from a Wiccan priestess angry that local leaders would not let her open their sessions with a prayer. Instead, clergy from more traditional religions were invited to pray at governmental meetings in Chesterfield County, Va., a suburb of Richmond.

Lawyers for Cynthia Simpson had . . . → Read More: Wiccan Priestess Loses High Court Appeal

A Faith-Based Nomination

By Terry Eastland

Two hours before the Supreme Court heard its first case of the new term, that President Bush announced the nomination of Harriet Miers to succeed Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. That evening, James Dobson, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, a vast evangelical ministry based in Colorado Springs, came out . . . → Read More: A Faith-Based Nomination