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   by The Notorious Doctor Zoom Zoom

 MARGRET MURRAY (1863-1963)

    Egyptologist, Anthropologist, writer and "witch". In 1920 Margaret Murray departed from reality and wrote The Witch Cult in Western Europe. Even though the book was purported to be a legitimate book of research into the witch hunts of the Middle Ages, it is actually a spurious book full of deliberate mistranslations, falsehoods, and ridiculous theories. Murray claimed that the witch hunts were actually against a surviving sect of European Paganism, drawing inspiration from the Leland’s Aradia, forgery…a book that was already discredited and virtually forgotten even back then! 

    A few Years later, Murray penned God of The Witches (1933), implying that the Christian church had started a smear campaign, basically making the Greek god Pan into a the evil Devil (no doubt she had caught the “Pan fad” of the era that Professor Ronald Hutton has recorded in Triumph of The Moon). It would have been the biggest smear campaign in history if it was true, but it isn’t. While Leland was content to suggest witches might have been people who abandoned Christianity for ancient Pagan deities or Lucifer himself in some sort of a Gnostic rebellion, Murray was not content with this. Instead she said somehow Paganism survived in Europe into the 1700s and perhaps even beyond. The witch trials weren’t witch trials at all, claimed Murray, but were really an attempt by the Church to stamp out a rival Pagan religion...although she didn't explain why it waited so long to act against this perceived threat, some 1300 years into the game!  Murray  called her theoretical cult “Dianic witchcraft”.

      Murray’s books have been rightly criticized by several generations of scholars for their shoddy scholarship. Murray ignored much evidence, rationalized other evidence and even invented evidence on numerous topics. She disregarded a large amount of unpublished data she had access to, completely ignored, misquoted, and rationalized evidence of impossible things like witches flying on broomsticks for instance, so that her fictitious witch religion was universalthroughout Europe! This is just a fancy way of saying she lied. It’s nothing more or less than history revision! Early on Murray quit reading what critics wrote about her, and stubbornly refused to admit she was wrong.

        She also failed to explain why this Pagan remnant was unlike any known pagan system in pre-Christian Europe, such as the religion of the Anglo-Saxons/Celts. The Celts worshiped a triune god of Teutates, Esus, and Taranis, not a god/goddess (nor did they have a “triple goddess” as some later Neopagan writers have claimed). Or why, if the cult existed from the Stone Age, that  it worshiped Roman idols of Diana and Pan, which couldn’t have happened until the Romans conquered most of Europe, and then Britain.  

      Perhaps the most blatant falsification occurs in her Murray’s claims about Joan of Arc. Murray claims that Joan of Arc, executed for witchcraft, and was really was one of these “Dianic witches”. English documents leave little room for doubt as to the actual motive behind her trial. There are still in existence financial records proving that the English government paid and summoned the judges andassessors from people loyal to the King of England. Joan’s trial was an act of revenge by the English against the French, plain and simple. There is nothing in the trial records which indicate Joan of Arc was anything other than a devoted Roman Catholic.

    Murray consistently makes ridiculous statements founded on frivolous things such as Joan's name, stating "Joan" is a witch name. Joan was probably the most common female name during that time from the records that we have from that period, not just among accused "witches". It would be like saying a Mexican named "Jesus" must be the Christ returned based solely on his name, or everyone named “Adolph” must therefore be a Nazi.

        Perhaps the most laughable of all Murray’s claims are those of fairies. Yes, fairies. Murray claims that the legends of fairies, elves, and leprechauns are in reality based on a race of European Pagan dwarfs that practiced sorcery. She had probably been inspired by the Wright’s hoax. For having allegedly played such a crucial role in the political history of Europe (if we to believe Murray), it seems that these pygmy witches were remarkably successful at having escaped detection down to this day. Considering Hitler's Weirmacht and Lenin’s/Stalin's U.S.S.R. having conquered practically every square inch of Europe at some point or another, as well as all the conquests and wars that happened in Europe throughout the centuries before that, it seems unlikely they would have escaped detection up even into the present time. Had Murray lived until the 1970's, I suppose that if she would have seen a Lucky Charms cereal commercial on T.V., she would have heralded this as proof positive of their existence!

     The books of Margaret Murray are very far from being accurate scholarly research. As we have just seen they are, in fact, the doctored works, misquoted documents, and outright falsehoods of someone with a personal agenda; a grown woman who wanted to "play Witch". They read more like something from an author of U.F.O. or “Black Helicopter” books might write, rather than a legitimate anthropologist. It's hard to believe Murray had a degree in anthropology if the only thing people knew about her was just her books.

     Murray focused on a horned deity, 'Cernnunos', even though it only seemed to be a minor idol. Likewise she tries to link Pan to this “horned god” of witches, but as stated Pan was a minor Greek idol worshiped by goat herders and no connection to witchcraft. There was no connection between Cernnunos and Pan. She also claimed that the “horned god” was the deity pictured in Stone Age paintings...which are now interpreted by anthropologists as simply a picture of a hunter disguising himself with an animal skin...just as African Bushmen hunters still do to this very day [ref?]! The famous Lascaux painting is not a deity (nor is it a painting of a Shaman, as some Wiccan apologists have said). Even though these claims were disproved almost as soon as Murray's book came out, there are still books and websites on Wicca that feature pictures of this cave painting claiming it is a Wiccan priest!

  Murray's ridiculous books became widely read among occultists. There was apparently at least one proto-Wicca cult by the 1920's , and there may have even been a few more no one knows about. Murray lived to be 100 and was initiated into Gardner’s Wicca coven. No doubt claiming to be a witch must have fulfilled some kind of life long fantasy for the old gal. It certainly must have been a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction, because she finally felt her “Dianic witch cult” hypothesis validated!

     But Murray was simply the victim of her own “witch-ful” thinking. Gardner had fabricated his cult inspired by her writings, rather than being part of an actual caveman sorcerer cult that made it into the 20th century. Her hogwash had come full circle, and Wicca had become sort of like a “self fulfilling prophecy”. It’s not unlike people who publish books titled Necronomicon, claiming them to be the same (fictional, and non-existent) spell book written about by H.P. Lovecraft in his short fictional horror stories(which we’ll read about later). But at least Lovecraft never wanted people to really believe such a fictitious book actually existed (he said it didn’t, which is even documented numerous times!), no matter how manyletters he got from enquirers wanting to know where to get there copy. Even if Murray had known about the rites of Freemasonry, Crowley, and The Golden Dawn, and would have realized these rituals of Gardner’s coven were cribbed from these sources, she probably wouldn’t have cared anyway. She was just happy to “play witch”.

  Among scholars, the Murray thesis completely fell apart in the 1970's, when better methods of investigating the witch trials were used. Ronald Hutton states "During the past two decades a score of detailed local studies of the Great Witch Hunt, spanning Europe, have demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that its victims were not practitioners of the Old Religion."  He then lists no less than half a page of references of items written by scholars during the years 1969 to 1989 to support his statement! But even in spite of all this, many Wiccans still continue to cite Murray as a credible source, or if nothing else, continue to more or less uphold what she believed in.

     Even before Gardner’s initiation into Wicca, Murray had dabbled in black magic prior to her initiation into Gardner’s spurious coven. Colleagues claimed that she often threw hexes on people who criticized her work, even though she had supposedly gone on record in a newspaper article saying she didn’t actually believe in magic! One such hex took place in the presence of two colleagues with the intent of hexing someone who got a promotion which made her very jealous. Supposedly, the man actually did become ill later and had to resign, which the two witnesses chalked up to coincidence since his health had apparently not been too good before he got the promotion. Murray was a woman of contradictions, not always truthful, not above forging data, and hardly a warm and cuddly person! Deep down inside Murray may have wanted to become a witch for a reason many people get into it, namely, power.  

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