An Alberta (Canada) court heard the case of Matthew De Grood, who killed five young people attending a party in 2014. Mr. De Grood claims that at the time he believed the people he killed were werewolves, and his duty was to rid the world of them. Is he criminally responsible for their deaths? Or, at the time that he committed the crimes, did he suffer from a mental defect that should absolve him from responsibility? More here on the trial from the Washington Post.
Today (May 25, 2016), the judge found Mr. De Grood not criminally responsible for the deaths (National Post).
He will now be assessed and the authorities will make a decision concerning his treatment. More here from Global News.
Matthew De Grood's statement on his acts here, from the Calgary Sun.
Slate's' Ben Mathis-Lilley notes that the New York City Subway twitter account tweeted that "witch problems" caused problems on a line today. Of course it was "switch problems," but witch problems conjures up all kinds of wonderful images of black-clad denizens flitting about, casting spells on the metro. Nothing like a little otherworldly interference from those on broomsticks with official transportation. Does this give a new meaning to the phrase "Damn Yankees"?
According to the Independent, the magical caper film Now You See Me is getting not one but two sequels, both to be directed by Jon M. Chu. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine are all returning for the films. Lizzy Caplan is replacing Isla Fisher. The original film, released in 2013, was a box office hit, but received rather lukewarm reviews (I liked it, though!)
Recap: four magicians, played by Mr. Eisenberg, Mr. Harrrelson, Mr. Franco, and Ms. Fisher, are hired to carry out a number of amazing feats, including an amazing bank robbery. An FBI agent (Mr. Ruffalo) tries to crack the case with the assistance of an agent from INTERPOL (Melanie Laurent) and a magician who reveals other magicians' tricks (Mr. Freeman). The ending reveals the true reason for the magicians' motives and the real intent behind the agent's pursuit of the conjurors.
Now You See Me 2 is due in theaters June 10, 2016.
From the Guardian: news that a long-lost H. P. Lovecraft manuscript has surfaced. This one is of particular interest to magicians. It's a piece Harry Houdini asked Lovecraft to ghostwrite (a particularly appropriate term) for him; the subject is "The Cancer of Superstition." After Houdini died in 1926, Lovecraft abandoned the project because Houdini's widow Bess was no longer interested in pursuing it.
Ofcom, the UK regulatory broadcasting agency, has ruled that the Derren Brown program "Something Wicked This Way Comes," which aired on Sunday morning, December 6, 2015, breached two provisions of the Broadcasting Code. The program, based on Mr. Brown's 2006 stage show of the same name, breached Rule 1.13: “Dangerous behaviour, or the portrayal of dangerous behaviour, that is likely to be easily imitable by children in a manner that is harmful…must not be broadcast before the watershed…unless there is editorial justification” and Rule 1.14: “The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the Watershed." The agency received five complaints about the program.
Mr. Brown, a well-known illusionist and mentalist, used the "F" word several times during the program, at a time when children were likely to be watching. He also demonstrated several tricks which Ofcom deemed were likely to be dangerous if children imitated them. For example, he used a plastic bag to cover his head, and he walked on glass. He did show that these tricks did not harm him, but the Ofcom regulators found that because the program aired during the period when children were watching, and the network (UKTV) did not attempt to justify the airing of the program during that time period, the airing of the content with its explanatory material did not outweigh the danger to children. It did acknowledge that the network aired the program by error in the time period and that the network is putting safeguards in place to prevent such a mistake from happening again.
Allison Meier (Hyperallergic) discusses Matt Champion's new book Medieval Graffiti: The Lost Voices of England’s Churches (Ebury Press), and his discoveries of pre-Reformation marks and messages from the non-aristocracy on medieval church walls. These messages, says Dr. Champion, head of the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey, tell us a lot, both about medieval belief and about social interaction. He also notes that these carvings, previously assumed to be the work of non-mainstream worshippers like Wiccans, for example, are actually more likely to be examples of medieval understandings of the world around them. "'[T]he fact that such finds often lead to them being ascribed to modern Wiccans, devil worshippers or hoaxers is a sign of just how mentally remote we are today from the commonplace beliefs of the medieval church.'"
Joey Talley works with computers, but she's not your ordinary, everyday IT geek. Ms. Talley, or rather the Reverend Talley, is a practicing witch (Wiccan). She's available to assist you if your computer has problems that can't be solved with the usual sorts of intervention that the denizens of, say, Tech Support normally provide. The Rev. Talley notes that weirdness emanating from your basic PC or Apple could very well be the result of a virus, and she can assist by clearing it out. Or, she says, it might be demons. Regardless of the cause, she's willing to try to help out. How does she do that, you ask? She might use a direct approach with stones such as amethysts or jet (by setting them on the affected device), she might use the powers of her mind, or she might cleanse the area around the computer by burning herbs (sage). She notes that often her customers are a little skittish about approaching her, or about advertising the fact that they've consulted her. Completely understandable.
Does she get results? It's not clear to me from the interview she did here with Motherboard what her success rate is, exactly.
Interestingly, in this interview with SF Weekly, Rev. Talley discloses that she also provides assistance with "legal" matters. She can "cast spells" to "divert" the plaintiff or that person's attorney (only plaintiffs--are defendants immune--or does she only work with defense firms)? By the way, she charges $200 an hour.
I do have to say that given the odd behavior that I've seen sometimes in my own PCs, iPods, and other devices, sometimes I think that something unnatural has overtaken them. So, it could be actual little devils. Or it could be the little devils I live with. The felines could be resetting the operating systems while I'm at work (or stuffing fur in all the little slots). Maybe I should install a CatCam.
[Yes, I'm looking at you. What did you do with the mouse?]
MP Peter Dutton, who is Australian Minister for Immgration and Border Protection, needs some protection of his own from some "witches" in Melbourne. Dressed in pointy black hats and other traditional garb, they're demanding that he resign after he sent a text message to a female journalist in which he referred to her as a "mad f***g witch." Mr. Dutton has since apologized, and says that the reporter, Samantha Maiden, has accepted his apology. Ms. Maiden said in an interview that after she received the text, she responded, " 'Mate, you've sent the text to the mad witch'." Mr. Dutton acknowledged he had sent the text to the wrong person.