How To Tell If Your Next-Door Neighbour is a Witch
By Andie Gilmour
Fifty sure-fire ways to detect paganism without having to resort to a dunking stool or wart-inspection.
1) Never puts any rubbish out on refuse-collection day. I mean, re-cycling and composting is fine, but you can take it too far.
2) You casually ask what phase the moon is in, and she tells you down to the exact number of days, hour and minute of rising, position on horizon, and current angle of declination.
3) All the stray cats in the neighbourhood tend to congregate in her garden (and use your own as their litter).
4) A screech owl has chosen the lamp-post outside her house as its favorite calling-post. That's just when it's getting warm at night and you like to sleep with the window open.
5) Doesn't cut down the weeds in her garden; in fact it looks more like she's cultivating them. Needless to say, you get the seeds wafting over onto your pristine lawn.
6) Most of her clothes on the washing line are black.
7) The local kids talk in whispers as they go past her house, then start running at the last moment.
8) Nobody trick-or-treats her house; not after the incident when the kids' costumes were less scary than hers when she opened the door to them. (She was embracing the Crone that year no doubt!)
9) Footprints on the roof. And the trees in her flight-path have been pruned down. I swear it's true!
10) She can't even make a simple sandwich without adding fresh herbs to it. And don't ask her for a cup of tea unless you want something yellow coloured and smelling of flowers.
11) She hardly ever gets junk mail. You ask her what her secret is and she confides that she returns it to sender after writing something on in strange curly writing.
12) When you pop next door for a chat, the kettle is always already on.
13) The Jehovah's Witnesses never call (not anymore; not after the last time! :-).
14) Keeps the local scented-candle shop solvent.
15) Has a pond full of frogs (and you haven't seen that bothersome double-glazing salesman around for a while).
16) She's always smiling, darn her!
17) She goes dressed as normal to a Hallowe'en fancy dress party; and wins first prize.
18) Her house always smells of incense.
19) Has named her four cats Beelzebub, Kali, Diana, and Moonbeam. (Or her rats Devon and Cornwall)
20) Her bumper sticker reads "I brake for toads".
21) Frequently gets raided by the drug squad who confiscate large amounts of dried green leaves; they always return them with apologies after analysis.
22) At Christmas, it seems like half the garden has been moved into the house.
23) You sometimes hear the sound of singing and dancing through the wall. If you look out of the window, it is usually a full moon.
24) She was given a bodhram drum for her birthday. And she plays it at midnight in the fields. And she's got a blasted tamborine.
25) You discover that her realistic resin skull ornament in her living room, actually is real.
26) You catch her washing a crystal ball along with the dishes.
27) She wears a lot of silver jewelry, even when doing the gardening. And bat ear-rings for goodness-sake.
28) You knock on her door and she answers it naked except for a toweling robe. You apologize for disturbing her in the bath, but notice that her hair isn't wet.
29) Irritating tendency to hum a lot. What's she got to be so happy about, huh?
30) She has a tame robin that will eat from her hand in the garden. That can't be natural.
31) Never catches a cold, even though she walks barefoot most of the time. In the snow as well.
32) Doesn't kill spiders. Not even big hairy long-legged ones that suddenly appear from the waste-pipe whilst you're having a bath.
33) She listens to what you are saying like she really cares.
34) She has lots of female friends who come round every few months. When you ask what they get up to, she tells you that they just have cakes and ale and a good natter.
35) You catch her hugging a tree.
36) Her dinner-set is decorated with Celtic patterns.
37) She has a mail-order account with a semi-precious gem wholesaler.
38) You notice that the parish priest crosses himself whenever he walks past her house.
39) She never watches television. And she has shelves full of books with black spines and silver-lettered titles.
40) To your certain knowledge she has never set foot in the local church. In fact, you have heard rumours that she has been barred from it.
41) She makes jars of quince and mandrake relish for the Women's Institute coffee morning jumble sale.
42) You ask to borrow a pack of cards for an impromptu bridge evening, and there are 78 in the pack.
43) You have never known her to visit her GP.
44) When you talk with her, she maintains eye contact all the time.
45) Expectant mothers are forever visiting her. Also women who become expectant mothers a month after visiting her.
46) You ask her for suggestions for nice walks in the area, and they all go by way of stone circles and strange earth mounds.
47) She only buys organic. And you just bet that she's a vegetarian as well. (Well, maybe not stricly vegetarian....)
48) When you ask her about her vacation plans, she tells you she will be camping in a tee-pee in the Brecon Beacons.
49) There aren't any mirrors in her house. Or clocks.
50) She tells you that she is coming out of the broom closet, joins Witches' Voice, and erects a stained-glass pentacle window in her front door . Ooo what a give-away!