Network DirectorySearch
 Scottish News direct from Scotland

The Scotsman
Mon 30 Jun 2003
The popularity of Edinburgh's annual Beltane festival reveals an increasing interest in the occult
Picture: Paul Chappels
printer friendly printer friendly    email this article email article
Exorcist calls for crusade against occult


AN EXORCIST yesterday called for a ‘crusade from the pulpits’ against the growing power of the occult.

Father Jim McManus said paganism and witchcraft were intertwined with evil and needed to be stamped out.

The 62-year-old priest - the only Catholic clergyman to perform the service of "deliverance" regularly - said devil worship could only lead to tragedy.

The profile of paganism will get a boost next month with two festivals and an academic conference on the subject are held north of the Border.

Witchcraft has as its basis an evil source - devil worship
Fr Jim McManus
On Saturday, Scotland’s largest ever festival to celebrate followers of Wicca will be held in Glasgow, and next week Glasgow University is hosting a two-day conference to discuss the significance of the film The Wicker Man and the rise of the occult.

It coincides with the Wicker Man Festival in Galloway, which will culminate with the burning of a giant pagan wicker man, as in the film.

The Pagan Federation alone claims over 2,000 devotees in Scotland - rising by 20 per cent in the past six months.

Fr McManus said: "Witchcraft has as its basis an evil source - devil worship. In the end it only cons its devotees, it does them no good at all.

"People just stumble into this by accident. They are fascinated by it, it hooks them and then ruins their lives."

Fr McManus, who is a monk in the monastery of St Mary’s in Perthshire, added: "If people are looking for a sense of purpose and fulfilment in life, they are not going to find it at the end of that road."

We are no more encouraging paganism than a conference on Steven Spielberg’s Amistad would be promoting slavery
Dr Benjamin Franks
In the west of Scotland alone, membership of the Pagan Federation has boomed by a fifth to around 500 this year. About half its members are witches.

The 1973 film The Wicker Man - starring Edward Woodward as a god-fearing police sergeant who is burned to death by pagans, shot in Galloway - has built up a cult following.

Now Glasgow University has launched the first academic conference, under the title Rituals, Readings and Reactions.

Dr Benjamin Franks, a philosophy lecturer who is organising the conference, said: "The organisers are not promoting one theological view over another. We are no more encouraging paganism than a conference on Steven Spielberg’s Amistad would be promoting slavery."

Promoters of the Wicker Man Festival, at Dundrennan near Kirkcudbright, last night denied they were promoting paganism. This year it expects to sell 8,000 tickets over three days. It promises an alternative festival with attractions including extra-terrestrial artwork and a standing stone pyramid.

Throw goes on for bizarre game (15-Aug-03)
Warning for traffic cone sex pervert (12-Aug-03)
Balding bikini flasher hunted (12-Aug-03)
A sticky situation (09-Aug-03)
Walker vows ambition is to keep naked (08-Aug-03)
More More Articles
Fortean Times
Urban Legends Reference Pages (

Blair returns to work and crisis summit
Tourists told to Beatle off
The leader of Dr Kelly's religion, Barney Leith, explains its attraction
Fraudster falls ill on day she is due in court
Cronin back in jail after cheque scam
Silent presence on the bench tries to uncover the unspoken truth
Scientist's suicide ran against Baha'i beliefs, Hutton inquiry is told
Three British soldiers die, one hurt in Iraq ambush
Message that 'breast is best' has been around for centuries
Newlywed killed in lightning strike
Conman is bounced back to jail as latest scam fails
Boyfriend of dead girl allowed back to school
Sick Mick postpones Stones gig due to bug
Computer virus fears ease
Barrymore in city to discuss fall from grace
Page 1 of 5 next page

fringe failures
Forget the five-star Fringe Firsts, meet the one-star failures and know which shows to avoid.

festival listings

free news feeds
Add headlines to your site for any news category or topic with free RSS news feeds

festival photoblog
See the winning entries in the Nokia Orange festival photoblog competition

flash mob backlash
Flash mobbing: it's hip, it's trendy, it's hacking off people across the planet.

heroes and villains
Find out who's been this week's pillar of society and who's been, frankly, a berk.

online only reviews
Specifically designed to be read on the internet

tell us what you think
Did our festivals coverage leave you smiling, or did you end up wailing like a hungry baby?

photo gallery
Browse our award-winning photos and buy online.

XML feed of this page (RSS)
Back To Top