Archive for July, 2019


Para-annoying

It appears I’ve gotten attention from folks who are interested in stereotypical “paranormal” stories – ghost stories, stuff that fuels creepypastas, pretty garden-variety stuff.

I was contacted by an NPR head hunter (didn’t know NPR had those but, apparently, it is a thing). I have been contacted by NPR before for an interview that never got aired a few years back. However, that was by an NPR journalist. A headhunter, in entertainment, is someone that seeks people out for shows, usually reality shows. It’s never a compliment when they show up in your inbox, it’s because they think you’re weird/sensationalist enough you’ll bring in the clicks/views. This is why I was surprised to see NPR has one – my idea of NPR is that they’re the audio version of PBS: Informative but very dry, deafeningly White liberal in perspective (meaning, they think they’re forward thinking but they just have smarter-sounding excuses for their blatant racism), and very “we’re for the intellectual echelon”. Even when they try to be light-hearted and funny, it’s still with this tilt. Their target audience are yuppies with Birkenstocks (or Toms), and Enlightened White Savior complexes. Not exactly a heavy competitor for CreepyPasta at a glance. Nor TLC or VH1

This is the email I got:

I checked out both Spooked and Snap Judgement. Snap Judgement seems more NPR’s normal speed, they’re stories that tend to appeal to NPR’s usual listeners. Spooked just looks NPR is trying to break into the CreepyPasta crowd. While trying to garner the Slenderman fandom and beyond can certainly be profitable, it’s annoying for people like me.

Look, I get that I’m a Witch and that “Witches are Spooky”. Just like the person who wrote to me suspected, I’m probably teeming with all sort of “SpoooOOoooOOoOoOoky” experiences. Because that’s how witches are depicted – creepy women doing creepy things (unless it’s psuedo-feminist media, then it’s pretty/hot women doing creepy things – for “empowerment.”) I’m supposedly just a well of memories that can keep someone up late at night.

Yah, no. I’ve dealt with ghosts, entities and spirits – none of them tops actual, living, breathing humans in the horror department. Seriously, review case studies in abuse, view videos on predators and then just hang out on Reddit and you’ll meet absolute payloads of people who are pretty much walking advertisements for abortion. I mention such to the head-hunter:

 

Yeah, no. The “paranormal” stuff I run into is honestly less frightening than the “normal”. Like, I’ve dealt with a lost and angry/baffled confederate ghost before and a regular neo nazi incel before. The incel was way worse. 
– Black Witch

Here’s the thing about head-hunters: they’re persistent if they see something they want to exploit.

Hi Black Witch!

Thanks for getting back to me. I can honestly believe that “normal” experiences are way more far out than the paranormal stuff. Either way, I would love to hear more about those instances that you mentioned. A confederate ghost??? That’s super interesting. Are you available tomorrow for a brief phone call? If so, please let me know the best time and number to reach you.

See what I mean? Ignores the fact I initially said no and my reason why. It’s the “Confederate ghost story” that they want to put on the air. The experience was hardly terrifying for me, it really was just the lost and baffled ghost of a soldier that died right before the Union made a major turn during the Civil War. The ghost was surprised that A) Modern day Baltimore, Maryland looks really different from 1860’s B ) The only person really interacting with them is an annoyed Black kid that just want to go to the bookstore C) The South didn’t actually rise again, they got cruuuuuushed D) The president of the United States they see on a nearby newspaper is a super-educated Black man with a super-educated Black family. Aware of this, they wanted to be at a Confederate burial ground. The only reason I knew the dude was a ghost and I wasn’t getting summer heat exhaustion was because I fact-checked every little thing he said (You think old people around smartphones are awful, interact with someone from the 1800s). Because Confederate soldiers aren’t too golden in the civility department to PoC/minorities and this dude was no exception, I pretty much abandoned him. Not my problem, not my issue and I literally could not care less. I don’t run into ghosts much because I don’t want to and this is why. Dead people are annoying. Not really a scary story.

Here’s what Spooked looks like:

Every tale reads like they’re telling ghost stories by a campfire. This means my story would just get twisted and contorted to sound like a bone-chilling tale of a Confederate soldier visiting a Black person to ease their restless, chattering soul. You can almost hear the chains of antebellum rattling in the background. It’s literally the point of every story there. That’s agitates me. And I said so:

No way. Sounds like the broadcast will make the story sound way more ominous than it actually was. 
– Black Witch

Emails like these are not much different from when random people would visit Pagan events because Halloween couldn’t come early enough. They would think everything, even the sodas in the fridge, had something to do with the occult and witchcraft. Never thought RC Cola would have anything to do with magick outside of chaos magick (those folks use any and everything), buuuuuut never underestimate an overactive imagination fed with a steady diet of crappy shows, campy movies and sensationalist internet articles. They’re having a “paranormal experience”, I’m experiencing disrespectful douchebags looking for a thrill. They think they’re doing something spooky when really, they’re just being disruptive and disrespectful. I don’t go to churches and start jumping on Bibles going, “So is Jesus gonna get me yet? Hey, Jesus! I got a cup of water, turn it into a fizzy blue raspberry soda! And I want bread! Gimme breadsticks! The garlic butter kind. And not the cheap stuff, either, the good variety. Make a dead person show up! Or the walls bleed! Man, y’all ‘Jesus’ guy is boring af. Make him do somethin’, I want an experience.”

Here is the thing: it’s fine that people like scary stories. I’m goth, I’m the last person on the planet to be surprised by that. But there’s a difference between just wanting to read something spooky on the internet and using random people lived experiences like it’s a horror movie extended feature.

Somehow can’t read

I have gotten two or three questions recently that basically boiled down to the same thing: “wanna do magick, plz tell me everything that you know”. I just say “I have a search bar and suggested books on my site, try that” because, frankly, I’m not going to repeat a near decade of info since someone is too lazy or incompetent to look for themselves.

Here’s the thing, I do expect people to exercise some basic form of thinking when traversing this site for info. Maybe it is because witchcraft doesn’t have any “oooOOoOOOOooo spooky!” glossy-gleam for me but it really is not that hard to find anything – at least not basic stuff. Though this site talks about occultism, I hide extremely little – because A ) it’s not really worth hiding and B ) if people are this stupid, hiding is pointless. I guess there’s the idea of going to a witch to ask for a personal how-to but, c’mon, it’s best to just search the site first and then bother me with questions. At least there is a chance the question will be one worth answering.

When it comes to magick of any tradition, you’re going to have to do some heavy reading, substantial research and critical thinking. Individual critical thinking. This means you have to think for yourself and make choices yourself for the most part. Given the amount of people that pop up in my inbox, a lot just want to be told what to do – and then somehow feel empowered because of it. That’s just being a lemming with a misplaced ego. Not a good fit for magick. That’s how you get cults.

Magick can be hard. Depending on what you want to do, very hard. Takes practice, takes diligence. If you don’t want to do the very basics by yourself, if you have to be personally spoon-fed information, magick is not for you. Trust, it isn’t. There are different traditions in magick, countless traditions, I won’t know every single last one of them. But a library might. Though scant, Google might. If it isn’t worth looking up and doing the basics, then it is best not to do it at all.

Granted, some people don’t know how to research, either as a result of being a sucky student or being stuck in a paltry education system. However, it still does not mean I have to spoon feed someone because they seem to be daft at using the search bar on my website. Or they think I practice the Left Hand Path because they can’t read: I never talk about LHP stuff (because I don’t practice it) and I have a lot of posts about being a Black person, including a “race” category. That should make it glaringly obvious why I call myself “Black Witch”. If you can’t figure out something as plain-stated as that, then magick is seriously not for you. There’s already enough racist dumb people in Paganism, we don’t need more. It just appears to me that folks think there’s a “101 EZ Witchcraft 4 U” guide I provide. I don’t.

Long story short: If you can’t use the search bar, the various categories or anything that requires independent thought, then just stick to the Harry Potter, Charmed, and D&D. It’s a better choice than asking me information I already provided time and time again on an accessible site.

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