Other Witches of the 1950s and 60s

Following the repeal of the Witchcraft Laws in the early 1950s, Gardner was not the only one involved with promoting Witchcraft. On this page you will find some more information about some other self-proclaimed Witches who attracted the attention of both the media, and people looking for a different way of expressing their spirituality.

 

Charles Cardell (Rex Nemorensis) (1895 - 1977 )
 
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Charles Cardell set himself up as a psychologist specialising in helping people overcome bad experiences with the Occult. He also had his own Witchcraft tradition that he referred to as 'Wicca' or the 'Old Tradition'. This was significantly different from Gardner's.

 

Cardell's magickal activities hit the news in 1961 when a reporter was witness to 'Witchcraft in the Woods' on Cardell's estate. Many aspects of Cardell's Witchcraft appears to have been later enhanced and taught by Ray Howard who, in 1962, published a Coven of Atho correspondence course.

 

My new book, Here Be Magick: The People and Practices of the Coven of Atho, looks at the lives of Charles and Mary Cardell as well as Ray Howard and gives the much fuller and fascinating story behind the Coven of Atho. It includes their extant material and the practices of this now near-extinct form of modern Witchcraft.  Please click HERE for details.

  • Read my 2007 article about the Cardell's, Ray Howard and the Coven of Atho here. (I didn't get everything right here and my new book gives the latest information based on new research.)

  • You can find a bit more about Cardell here.

  • Read the 1961 article over allegations of Witchcraft that sparked the Cardell's rollercoaster ride with the Press here.

  • Read a County Post article (March 24th 1961) which elaborates further on the 'Witchcraft in the Woods' incident here.

  • Read a Newspaper Article from the Dorking Advertiser about some of Cardell's Craft activities here.

  • Read a Surrey Mirror and County Post article (26th October 1962) about Cardell here

  • Read a report from the Daily Mirror  (October 11th 1967) about the mysterious ritual in the woods here.

 

Mary Cardell (Beth/ Andraste) (1912 - 1984)
 
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Mary Cardell lived and worked alongside Charles Cardell and they claimed they were brother and sister. However, the reality appears to have been quite different with both of them having changing their name by deed poll to Cardell, likely at the same time. They lived together for over 30 years. In the 1960s. Mary took the part of the 'Witch Maiden' in the rites performed by the Cardells, along with others, at the 'Inner Grove' located to the rear of the Cardell's sizeable property at Charlwood, Surrey.

  • An article about Mary and her court battle from the Daily Mirror ( October 10th 1967) can be read here.

  • Read an article about Mary losing her court battle here.

 

 

Ray Howard, The Fish (Ramoh/Ramon) (1926 - 1992)
 
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Ray Howard was an acquaintance of the Cardell's who appears to have taken much of Cardell's Witchcraft and enhanced it with the production of a reputedly ancient, carved wooden head said to depict the God Atho. Howard claimed that the head and his magical knowledge came from a gypsy woman, Alicia Franch. More on Ray Howard can be found in my book, Here Be Magick: The People and Practices of the Coven of Atho. Please click HERE for more info.

  • Read an article from Eastern Evening News (Norwich) November 1st 1961which features Raymond Howard here.

  • Read an article from the Eastern Daily Press (March 6th 1967) about Howard and Atho here.

  • Read a 2021 article from the Eastern Daily Press about Ray Howard here.

 

 

Margaret Bruce (1926-2001)
 
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Whilst Margaret Bruce never identified with the word 'Witch' herself, she knew many of the witches from the 1950s and 60s through her magickal mail order business. This included Gerald Gardner and Charles Cardell.

Born Maurice Bruce, Margaret's life was both fascinating and challenging at the same time. However she forged herself in a truly authentic way, despite the problems she encountered. With her wife, Gretel, they went on to care for many animals on their farm in County Durham.

Margaret was a prolific writer and produced many articles which appeared in magazines such as New DimensionsLondon Life and Insight. These help to show that Margaret had genuine insight, magickal knowledge and was espcially gifted at making incense and passing on her herbal knowledge. Her writings are often memorable as she doesn't hold back!

  • Coming soon - My own article on Margaret Bruce and her fascinating life.

 

 

Cecil Williamson (d.1996)
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Cecil Williamson was the original owner of the Isle of Man Museum of Magic and Witchcraft. Gardner bought it from him, in 1954. Cecil then moved down to England and subsequently set up a new Witchcraft Musuem in Bourton-on-the-Water, in Gloucestershire. This closed down after a few years and Cecil took his museum to Boscastle in Cornwall where it still exists today, though now under new ownership.

  • Read a brief history of Cecil Williamson and the history of his various Witchcraft Musuem's here

  • In 1951 Cecil was planning a 'Witch jamboree' on the Isle Of Man, an article about this can be found here

  • Cecil can be seen making a Witches poppet in an article in The Illustrated from 1952. Read it here

  • Read an article from 1956 about one of several problems he encountered with the locals in Bourton on the Water after opening his new museum, here.

  • Watch an old BBC news story from 1962 featuring Cecil Williamson entitled 'How to summon a demon.' (thanks to Dylan Drummond for alerting me to this.)

  • A small piece about Cecil Williamson taken from 'The Witches Almanac' can be found here.

  • A piece about Cecil from the Cornish witchcraft website can be found here.

  • Watch a You-Tube online video interview with Cecil Williamson talking about West Country Witchcraft. Part 1 Part 2  (thanks to Brian Goldstar for the link!)

  • Watch a late 1960s. You-Tube video about Boscastle Witchcraft museum and Cecil Williamson here

 

Robert Cochrane/Roy Bowers (1931 - 1966)
 
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Robert Cochrane claimed to be a hereditary Witch and was forming his own Coven (Clan of Tubal Cain) at around the same time as Gerald Gardner. Doreen Valiente joined Cochrane for a while, but later became disillusioned. Robert was a gifted poet and his cryptic riddles and writings display depth of thinking. His Witchcraft tradition found its way to the USA via Joe Wilson, where it is usually referred to as the '1734 Tradition'.

  • Some of the writings of Robert Cochrane can be found here.

  • Read an article written by George Knowles, about Robert Cochrane here.

  • For more on Robert Cochrane check out the books and writings of the maid of the Clan of Tubal Cain  Shani Oates

 

 

Sybil Leek (1917 - 1982)
 
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In the early 1960s, Sybil Leek started to appear frequently in the press. This flamboyant lady attended the rituals of the 'Horsa Coven' which was based in the New Forest. Sybil, along with Doreen Valiente and others, was also involved in the creation of the 'Witchcraft Research Association'. In 1964, she moved to the USA where she spent time with Israel Regardie and together they practised Golden Dawn rituals.

  • Sybil wrote over 60 books, many of which are listed here , alongside a biography.

  • A rather good biography  written by C. Ravin Esq can be found here.

  • Read an article from 1963 about a Witch school that Sybil Leek wanted to establish here.

  • Read an article about Sybil which appeared in the Daily Herald (September 16th 1963) here.

  • Sybil attempted to start a 'Witches Union'. Read this article from the Daily Herald (19th February 1964) here.

  • In 1964, Sybil turned up to a debate at University College, London, about Witches. Read about it here.

  • Read a USA article from Flash News, June 1964 here.

  • In July 1964 Sybil quite the Witches Research Association  - read why here.

  • Read an article entitled 'I am a Witch' about Sybil Leek, from Search (November 1969) here.

  • Read an article about Sybil from 1969 here.

 

Rosaleen Norton (1917 - 1979)
 
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Rosaleen Norton was born in New Zealand in 1917 and moved to Australia at the age of 7. She was often referred to as 'The Witch of Kings Cross' (archived version of National Geographic webpage) because she spent many years living in that part of Sydney. The 1960s saw her courting media attention due to her occult activities but she is probably best known for her visionary art which depicts striking, haunting imagery, somewhat reminiscent of Austin Osman Spare. She passed away in 1979.

  • Neville Drury's thesis 'Rosaleen Norton's Contribution to the Western Esoteric Tradition can be found here 

  • There is also a book about Rosaleen by Inez Baranay called Pagan

  • There used to be a succinct article about her life but that website has now gone. I have captured it here

  • You can find an article about Rosaleen from the Australian Post, October 6th 1955 here

  • You can find an article about Rosaleen from the Australian Post, December 20th 1956 here

  • Rosaleen Norton was a fantastic artist. There is an online art gallery here 

  • Here is a brief biography of Rosaleen and you can find another one, here

  • Watch a video on YouTube from 1964, featuring Rosaleen Norton here (Thanks to Tof for the link)

 

Anton Miles (Mahinda) (1911 - 1992)
 
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Anton Miles, originally a Buddhist Monk, was initiated into the Bricket Wood Coven in 1959. He subsequently moved to Australia and had a mail correspondence with Gardner and Charles Clark who appears to have given him some long distance training tips. Anton's Coven seemed to have more of a bias towards the male God Pan and Diana was their Goddess. Prior to meeting the Wica, it appears that he was connected with a Siam cult of Witchcraft.

  • You can find a People (February 15th 1961) article featuring Anton here

  • There is a brief biography about Anton Miles (full name Leonard Anthony Miles? or Laurence Amos Miles) as the 23rd Adiguru (chief guru) of the Adinathas here

Charles Pace (1919 - ?)
 
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Born in Glasgow, Charles Pace bought a darker edge to Witchcraft and often appeared in news articles which would refer to him as being not only a witch, but also a 'satanist'. He crossed paths with several other Craft figures from the time, including Eleanor Bone, Cecil Williamson, Charles Cardell and Alex Sanders. It would seem he fancied himself as a bit of an Aleister Crowley type and amusingly, would often sign off his letters using phrases like 'Yours SINcerely'.

  • Read a News of The World article (March 2nd 1969) about Charles Pace here.

  • Read a News of The World article (March 29th 1970) written by Charles Pace about Witchcraft here.

  • Read a News of The World article (September 30th 1973) about Charles Pace here.

  • Read a News of The World article (September 19th 1976) about Charles Pace here.

 
Ruth Wynn Owen (1915 - 1992)
 
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An actress and occultist from Watford of Welsh descent she once acted as a drama advisor to Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard of Star Trek fame). Ruth became the head of the 'Y Plant Bran' a branch of Welsh hereditary Witchcraft and also worked with The Regency. She significantly influenced Joe Wilson who went on to form the '1734 Tradition' of Witchcraft inspired by Ruth's teachings as well as those of Robert Cochrane and others.

  • Read a small biography about her on the 1734 website here.

  • Read a small biography about her acting career at IMDB here.

  • A few more photo's of Ruth can be found here (thanks to MBW)

  • Wach a 1972 film featuring Ruth Wynn Owen, Stewart Farrar and several other witches of the time: