News Pope Francis appears to have been captured on video performing an exorcism in St Peter’s Square

The diocese in Italy is training priests to meet increasing demand for exorcisms

Great and good

Books: How Pan cast his spell on the suburbs

Nice people, nutty ideas: Robert Irwin uncovers the roots of modern witchcraft in fiction and fantasy

Letter: The limits of protest

Sir: Did Yasmin Alibhai-Brown really mean to write, "Those people who burnt The Satanic Verses in Bradford were accused of censorship when what they were doing was expressing their rage at their own lack of any power in this country" ("Sex, politics and censorship", 9 September)?

Obituary: Doreen Valiente

DOREEN VALIENTE had the odd position of having to defend herself against the charge of starting a new religion. It has been alleged that the contemporary cult of Witchcraft, known to its practitioners as "Wicca", had been invented by her in the 1950s. She flatly denied this, though she was an important figure in the revival, and did admit to having amended and augmented the "Book of Shadows", as the Witches' sacred text is called.

Satanists are in the army now

A GROUP of American conservative religious organisations is demanding that Christians boycott the US Army and all of its works until the military ends support for its latest denominations: witches and satanists.

Historical Notes: Witches go on-line, off-broomstick

IN 1937 a retired civil servant called Gerald Gardner, having recently moved to the New Forest, met a wealthy spinster with the rather wonderful name of Dorothy Clutterbuck. After they had got to know each other, she confessed a secret: she belonged to a nearby coven of witches, which had existed in hiding for nearly 2,000 years. Their rituals were not concerned with the traditional broomsticks and potions, but with the worship of an ancient nature-goddess called Aradia.
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