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Witch School

When pagans, spellcasters, astrologers, psychics, and other New Agers want a steady source of income, they inevitably all set up their own schools with "courses" and classes. Witch School, and its founder Ed Hubbard, has been trying to go the whole nine yards: they're trying to become fully accredited (like that's going to happen); they've been putting out press releases at least once per week; they're looking into book deals – and there's even a lot of gossip about the Sci Fi Channel building a reality TV series around them. (I must admit, "reality TV" based on a pagan witch school is a lot more realistic than most of those other reality TV shows.) These efforts to gain attention did result in a backlash when Hubbard tried to open an actual real-life school in Hoopeston, Illinois. The citizens of the town didn't like the idea of a non-Christian pagan "school," though, and they began signing petitions in opposition to the school and lobbying the City Council to try to stop it. This didn't stop the Witch School from opening; however, the brick-and-mortar campus didn't last long. The actual building shut down in early 2007, though the Web site continues to function.

From the beginning, the school has been at the center of pagan insider politics, backstabbing, flames, gossip, and money changing hands since the beginning. Paganism may be about the spirit, the Goddess, and purity, but this organization has been about money.

And all of a sudden in early 2007, Witch School's founder put it up for sale. With little advance warning, he put the entire school, complete with Internet domain names, up for sale on eBay and asked for a price of $100,000. This caused a furor in pagan circles. The Wild Hunt blog has been covering the ongoing scandal, and it's worth looking at for those who enjoy sniping, snarking, and whining amongst the pagans.

The school itself does its best to look professional and scholarly. Students can sign up for classes in First Degree, Second Degree, and Third Degree "Correllian Wicca," which is what Hubbard and his associates call their version of the faith. As part of the required school supplies, they sell a sizable selections of Power Wands. Their library (accessible only to paid students) offers a number of e-books to download, with titles ranging from Aleister Crowley to Houdini…to Ed Hubbard. They also offer a Spell of the Day and a board of "Energy Requests" for students and faculty to focus healing energies.

(What's more, Ed Hubbard is apparently related to L. Ron Hubbard. This has sparked some fruitcake outcries from some conspiracy-oriented pagans that the Witch School is actually a front for Scientology.)