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'Meet a Witch' Plan Brews Up Parent Protest

July 10, 1986|Associated Press

SAN JOSE — The public library has invited a witch to speak to teen-agers about magic spells and other rituals of her religion, but some angry parents said Wednesday they will picket the "Meet a Real Witch" program.

"If they're going to ban prayers in schools . . . this witch in the libraries is just kind of rubbing salt in the wounds," said Alan Peters, associate minister at the Christian Community Center.

Paula Sillas, a church member, was appalled when her 13-year-old son came home with the flyer about Saturday's presentation by Berkeley witch Zsuzanna Budapest at the library.

"We all have different religions," she said. "But let's not get strange. The next thing we'll have is witches in Macy's and McDonald's, throwing spells on people."

Regional librarian Phyllis Clare said the presentation "is not . . . a religious service. It's more of a lecture, a historical perspective and what this person believes."

Budapest, 46, said witches are misunderstood because of Hollywood movies linking them to Satanism.

Witches do use incense, candle magic and sometimes spells, but they don't worship the devil, she said. "It simply means that I belong to a religious thought that preceded Christ. I am a pagan, the religion of the simple folk."

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