Hypocrisy: May 2006 Archives

May 24, 2006

Darwin's spellbook

England: An Oxford witch who claimed that a fire which damaged her flat, and several others in the same building, was caused by a spell going wrong failed to impress the jury. She was found guilty of arson and jailed for three years.

Patricia Swift, 50, said that she had been performing a ritual to ward off a man who had threatened to kill her. The ritual did not involve phoning the police, or seeking an injunction, but instead required her to place a number of items on the floor and set them on fire. When the fire went out of control, she tried urinating on it to put it out. Strangely, the incident occurred three days before Ms. Swift was due to be evicted, and her relationship with her neighbours was not good.

[Peter Coombe, prosecuting,] told the court: Rose Wallace, who lived above, described enduring a long history of abuse over a five-year period.

On the day of the fire, Miss Wallace heard the defendant making a lot of noise in her flat, throwing furniture around.

Shortly afterwards she smelled smoke and called 999. She went to the door and heard the defendant shouting, 'Fat cow, burn, fat cow, burn'.

Swift initially gave a another reason why she set the fires: I was burning my things because they are going to evict me. She made up the spell story later.

Spell for flaming disasterMetro, 22nd May 2006 (thanks, Norman).

May 6, 2006

What the papers won't say

United States: A love of Classical music led to a 16-year old girl brutally slaughtering her mother in a ritualistic killing, the Prattle can reveal. Neighbours thought Esmie Tseng was a kid any parent would be proud of, but her involvement in the "Classie" scene was slowly turning her from a talented honour student into a vicious murderer.

...she stabbed her mother to death with a knife in an incident that apparently took the mother and daughter through several rooms of their home.

The murder happened after Tseng's mother threatened to sell her piano, an instrument popular among Classies. Police are investigating whether Classical music's frequent use of occult and violent imagery, influenced Tseng. Such music has provoked violence in the past, such as the riot at the premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, a glorification of sexual pagan ritual.

Like many teenage Classies, Tseng kept an online journal in which she detailed her increasing hatred of her parents, along with her obsession with classical music. After the murder, neighbour Jacob Horwitz read through her site and was shocked at what he found there:

My God, Jacob Horwitz remembers thinking when he read her weblog, it's a shame that another parent didn't see this yesterday.

Of course, this tragic story wasn't covered in this mendacious manner, and reading the full details, it will become obvious that there is a lot more to it than has been written here. Had Tseng been a goth, or into rap music, the press coverage would have been somewhat different.

Killer daughter case ignites US debateBBC News, 3rd May 2006.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Hypocrisy category from May 2006.

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