NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — At a time when participation in traditional religions is declining among Americans, the practice of witchcraft is said to be on the rise.

CBS2’s Ali Bauman went inside the secret world of modern-day witches to explore why so many say they’re falling under its spell.

“I am the high priestess,” Lisa Stewart said.

“To be a witch is incredibly relevant in today’s society,” Anton Stewart explained.

Nestled in the heart of the Hudson Valley is the Church of the Eternal Circle, the only legally recognized Wiccan Church in the state of New York.

“We follow the tradition of the craft of the wise — witchcraft — and we are witches,” Stewart said.

For the first time, members invited CBS2 to attend their services.

“The time is right,” Lisa said.

Stewart and her husband Anton are the founders of the church.

“There are definitely more of us than you think,” she said.

It’s estimated that as many as a million people identify as being a witch in the U.S. with 20 percent of that population said to be in New York.

“We have professionals of all kinds,” Lisa said.

Including a librarian, a computer scientist, a nurse, and a homemaker or two.

“Very normal people are part of this religion,” Dr. Davis Sprague said.

In addition to practicing witchcraft, Dr. Davis Sprague — a former Methodist — is a practitioner of internal medicine.

Joe Laudati, a sculptor, converted from Catholicism.

“Keep an open mind,” he suggested.

Unlike its pop-culture portrayal, members say witchcraft is actually grounded in love and spirituality.

“The green skin came from the fact that women who claimed to be witches were abused and their faces were bruised,” Lisa said.

They say magic is simply the belief that you can make anything happen.

“It’s kind of like prayer,” Lisa explained.

There is no devil worship, only a love for the goddess of creation and inspiration along with the antlered god of all things wild and free they say.

But what about the broom?

“It’s for sweeping your circle, and clearing the energy,” Lisa said.

A somber celebration marked the start of winter. Known as the night of souls, it’s when witches honor their ancestors.

“When I tell people that I’m a witch, I’m met sometimes with abject horror,” Anton said.

They say it’s a misconception based on old myths that the modern day witches want to dispel.

“It’s really a beautiful way of life,” Lisa said.

With a strong belief in what goes around comes around, Wiccans say there’s never a need for black magic.


Comments (86)
  1. John Smith says:

    Religion? Witchcraft? There is NO difference. Both are for the stupid & foolish people.

    1. Why do you care? Sound like you are extremely invested in this issue.

    2. Ethan Wayne says:

      If the ones I saw in the video were burned at the stake, they wouldn’t stop burning for six months. You could heat the whole village!!

    3. Wide is the road to destruction the anti christ will have his way with these lost souls but let’s not forget those who believe in the magic mud theory

  2. mjazzguitar says:

    It’s a big waste of time. The hippies were into this stuff back in the 60s.

  3. Kurt Smith says:

    “When I tell people that I’m a witch, I’m met sometimes with abject horror,” But mostly I’m met with ridicule and laughter.

  4. Oh Lordy. He is going to smack us with one big asteroid. Thanks Bi$$$ches, oh I mean witches.

  5. They are seeking power. It is not related at all to God and is spiritually perilous, IMO.

  6. Leftists kooks worshiping Satan. Not surprising. I just pray they don’t end up on a shooting rampage like so many of their brethren have.

  7. Better get used to camp’re going to burn in hell…for eternity..upon dying a witch.

  8. The end times must be close at hand…

  9. Bill Frood says:

    Do they help cloth and feed the poor? Do they help build hospitals, schools and homes for the less fortunate? Do they preach charity and forgiveness in all things? Do they help the sick and indigent?

    1. Wicca is only one branch of Paganism. There are many, many more branches out there. Unfortunately, many practitioners do have a bone to pick when it comes to Christianity. Many of them have suffered extreme abuses under the guide of “Good Christians.” I have seen this as the reason for many of them to convert to Paganism. It is unfortunate but, there it is. As long as your not hurting yourself of others, you have my support.

      1. yah, and many of them come from broken and very dysfunctional homes where the parent (s) gave them no moral compass, leadership skills and so forth. Signs of the times and decay of morality.

  10. Hang them in the town squares.

  11. Matt Brooks says:

    The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 1 Timothy 4:1

    Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. Ecclesiastes 12:13

    3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

    15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

    3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:

    Also: Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9-10, John 3:16-17,

    When is it ever right to abandon faith in God?

    1. Wal Man says:

      Pagans know more about the Christian religion than the Christians do themselves. There is nothing new to Christianity. It was all stolen from the previous Polytheist religions they displaced with the help of Roman might. Where’s your Christmas tree come from? St Bridgid? All Saints Day? Even the Notre Dame Cathedral was built upon a Druid holy site AFTER they killed our priests. The Gods of the old religion were turned into the Demons of the new religion. Cernnunos, our horned God of fertility and wealth, the Father to the Earth Mother, was re-invented by the Christians as the “Devil”. There was no Devil. There IS no Devil.

      Christianity was all a con. It wasn’t a grass root religion. The Apostles converted the Roman aristocracy and it was THEY who forced Christianity upon the people and spread it by the sword. You’re no different than Islam.

      I love how Christians think. Christianity wasn’t here first, it’s not the worlds most popular religion by a long stretch but somehow YOURS is the way.

      And what is Exorcism, if not “Magick”?

      You read one book and you think you’re educated.

  12. Edmond Day says:

    “What difference does it make”?

  13. Unlike most of the posters here Ive actually read a couple of books on wiccan. Its a celebration of nature and the natural cycles of the season. It is not in opposition to Christianity and many wiccans consider themselves christians as well.

    1. Morey Ladini says:

      “many wiccans consider themselves christians as well.” ….yeah, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you….

  14. If you folks know which bathroom to use you can’t be all that bad.

  15. Free download online: Evelyn Underhill’s classic book: “Mysticism”. See Part One, Chapter Seven: “Mysticism and Magic”. Magic has always been a mistake.

  16. Joel O'Brien says:

    These ignorant assed comments make me proud to be a witch.

    1. Except that you’re a man. Hello??????

  17. Due to the staggering numbers of thurd worlders and non-whites coming into the country. Not open for debate.

  18. Liberals are finding that their God of government isn’t sufficient so they are turning to witchcraft….they should be careful to watch out for any of the Salem ancestors.

  19. You mean more liberals are turning to witchcraft, not Americans and it’s no surprise at all.

    1. Wal Man says:

      Dude, I voted for Trump. I also went to see him speak twice and bought everybody in my family a “Trump 2016” refrigerator magnet. You have one of those?

      Christianity is all about the money. If a church stops “performing”, they close it. They diddled all those kids for DECADES here in New England and if people are turning away from them, they have nobody but themselves to blame.

  20. Dale Warren says:

    Does this mean the ACLU will sue to prevent the public display of Halloween images and costumes of witches as an unlawful government endorsement of religion; or is the ACLU solely an anti-Christian organization which only objects to the public display of Christian imagery?

  21. Rotting in hell is all the rage…until they get there…forever

  22. the california fruits and nuts are headed east.

  23. James Cila says:

    again we see another false religion.. But the teaching really is this
    IF – you do X – something – some special incantation – some spell – something – some formula yu can have whatever you wish…
    This is exactly why God said dont do this..
    Each time some group does this it always ends up in perversion and or death..
    Why? because of our sinful nature..
    Just look at the mexican drug cartels – they practice this kind of stuff – and ask for protection from the police as they sell their drugs.. and they sacrifice people to invoke the spirits for help
    Demonic spirits
    God specifically does NOT reward formulas because opf our sinful lusts
    The bible specifically warns us about this
    James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts

    We all are guilty of this – me too
    God has to be in control and says yes or NO
    A lot of times its NO

    these false religions all claim the same thing
    do (X) and you can get whatever you want – sex – money – power – things
    and you see the results worldwide

    1. Enuf Alrdy says:

      All religions are cults. Witchcraft, Satanism, Christianity, Islam, etc are all the same crap.

      1. mjazzguitar says:

        Evolution is a myth.

  24. they knew how to handle these types in Salem…

  25. This is as old as Nimrod and Babylon itself. You have God, and everything else. Whatever will lure the prey away from truth is the tool of Satan. The Bible, of course anticipates this in the Last days. Christians will be Raptured out, as Noah and family were in the Ark, and Tribulation will fall on everyone else. This is not new. Nimrod did it, Antiochus Epiphanies did it, Ceasar, and others did the same thing. Go with the fad of the day but avoid the Truth. Ignorance of the Bible is the problem and without qualified teachers, people are doomed. Even so called Christians are mostly ignorant of what the Bible teaches. That’s how churches are “evolving” into bastions of abortion and gay marriage with fornication and adultery mixed in. The Bible is clear on murder and sodomy. They called it the fires of Baal or Molech for abortion and of course Sodom never got an apology from Jesus after it was destroyed. God has made it plain He does not change. Saying it’s the 21st century carries no weight with Him. The spirit of Antichrist has been here since Adam and Eve. History repeats itself over and over, but one day, there will be no more chances. The choices we make will be eternal with no do over.

  26. These folks need to read Revelation in the Bible. Satan loses and the Lord wins, simple as that.

  27. Witchcraft does not provide for morality. It subscribes to the moral relativism of the flesh. If my memory serves me, the Nazis were into the Occult…it was a driving force behind the SS, especially Hitler’s Leibstandarte…his praetorian guard. The USA and prior, the United Colonies, has survived well being based upon Judeochristian ethics since the settlements at Jamestown.
    If you remove the morals that rise from the Ten Commandments and the reforms instituted by Christ, you will render this country chaotic.

    Look at the universities and those who were educated by them for the last four decades…they teach moral relativism which will invariably lead to more chaos. Many of our youth are drug addicted, unemployed, and psychiatrically “at the borders.” Anti-depressant and opiate use is at an all-time high. We need to bring back the witch trials…but not like before. Those who were tortured and killed at Salem were innocent; toxic on grain mold hallucinogens. Today’s witches are just stupid people leading our youth and their futures into an earthly Hell.

  28. Allen Clark says:

    If any of this is true, its ver concerning. I tend to think this article is just a stunt to pull in Paying members and it seems its not working. I can not believe that anybody would fall for this but then, MANSON had a following too and look where he ended up.

  29. Whoria AllFraud is definitely a witch.

  30. Yes is’t quite a problem, all my friends and their parents are turning to witch craft. Why i can’t even go to the mall without bumping into those tall pointy hat people. Oh my.

  31. Toby Arnold says:

    More mainstream media fake news bs to divide, conquer and create more hatred and division. More fuel for the fire…

  32. Tony Johnson says:

    Eternity in Heaven with Jesus or in hell with the lost and forgotten, damned to suffer in an eternal, unconsuming lake of fire. Jesus suffered so that many could live if only they call on His name in repentance, turn away from sin and accept His free gift of salvation. But so many refuse that free gift of salvation and instead they chase after their own lusts and wickedness. Life is short but eternity is for ever.

  33. Lulua Mahalo says:

    Thanks to Hollywood and the left’s liberal media.

    Hollywood used to be one of the biggest proponents of God, good and the American way.

    Unfortunately, for recent spoiled generations, it became too inconvenient to have morals and and religion at the same time.

  34. It is very simple. Either you belive in God or you don’t. if you do, there is the promise of heaven.

  35. 1 Samuel 15:23, Galatians 3:1, & Galatians 5:19-21

  36. Robert Dunn says:

    I imagine devil worship (via Earth Goddess worship) does carry some perks as I can’t imagine anyone doing this just for the Hell of it. (And ‘Hell’ does eventually come into play!) Apparently the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is not good enough for them although the afterlife will quickly show how essential it is.

  37. Teddy Coral says:

    While I appreciate organized religions for creating enough fear to prevent most people from acting on their most negative primitive instincts and allowing us to have some semblance of decency and peace within our societies, practicing some “religions” certainly makes you look a lot dumber than others lol.

    1. John Akridge says:

      Well teddy Jesus did speak of people like yourself ridiculing His followers. Hopefully you accept Him before you die, He loves you more than you can imagine.

  38. Dan Meyers says:

    With all the information available, it’s amazing that people don’t spend time actually investigating these spiritual issues. The book ‘A Case For Christ’ was originally researched by a passionately athiest journalist. After thoroughly researching all the history and facts regarding Jesus, he came to the easy to reach conclusion that Jesus is the Christ, that His words are true, and that He is the only way to salvation. To disregard Christ and trample on His sacrifice is unimaginably foolish. Here’s the bottom line: If you think you are knowledgeable and confident in your knowledge of heaven, hell and salvation yet don’t believe in Christ, you are wrong. You don’t even need faith to believe that Christ is the Lord. The facts are already there. If you disagree with me and yet refuse to read A Case For Christ, then you are a fool of great magnatude.

    1. Amen Dan! There is even a full version you tube on The Case For Christ

  39. Darren Davis says:

    It’s all biblical, the people always turn to worshiping Satan, they will sacrifice their babies to Baal, and God destroys them. It happens over and over. “narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”. Stay away from these sorcerers, their drugs, and their temples.

  40. harris9513 says:

    I wrote “Witches: The Most Recent Victimized Minority to Come Out of the Closet” and “New York State: America’s Witchcraft Capital” – I will be continuing to look at the decimating effects of the globalist controlled Interfaith movement, as well as the Catholic church’s role in creating a one world religion. Susan D Harris and a website by the exact same name. Anything interesting you want to share, please contact me.

  41. And here I thought all the “woke” liberals were atheists!

  42. The article above on this new acceptability of Witchcraft ought be very disturbing.
    The wise women (and occasional Druidic males) were found in very rural European society while the Christianization of more urban centers was underway.
    In fact the word “pagan” comes from Latin for “rustic” or “villager”. Christianity spread through the late Roman Empire mainly by conversion of the powerful. If your barbarian leader converted, you were suddenly expected to do so too.

    The persistence of pre-Christian beliefs in the countryside was “pagan”.
    Just as Judaeo-Christian beliefs, ethics, worldview etc drove out “wise folk” the collapse of 1000 years of western Christendom has created a vacuum into which the Old Ways are filling.
    Another very fatal sign of the time we are in.

  43. Thank Pope Francis, and other hypocrites, not to mention hollywood & the left!

  44. We need a national exorcism. No joke.

  45. Baloney. They’re only in it for the hats . . .

  46. Brent Taylor says:

    More hapless than helpful…

    The heart of man has not changed since the dawn of man. I know things like this break Christ’s heart. But I can’t imagine that He would’t be rolling His eyes too.

    1. Kathy Bee says:

      Your Christ is man made, dont judge others beliefs.

      1. Dirk Pearson says:

        Prove it!!!

        John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

        2 Chronicles 19:6 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.

      2. Rik Mik says:

        All of us are entitled our opinions. You have yours, denying Christ, I disagree.

        These witches are fools because they are playing with power they do not understand.

        Just as Christ is real, so is Satan. I have seen the power of Satan, and I have seen the power of Christ. They are both very real.

        Denying the Creator, and His Son, when the evidence in everything you see and every breath you take makes it obvious that a divine power brought our existence into being.

        Don’t be put off of God because of the failings of those who worship Him. I pray that you will look, with open eyes and heart into the reality of God.

      3. Ronald Payne says:

        My Christ is GOD made, He is Gods Son. He died on the cross and took your/my punishment because we ALL fall short of Gods Glory.

  47. Dirk Pearson says:

    Witchcraft is of the Devil and I believe like the Bible says we are currently in the falling away:

    Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. 14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

    If these people don’t repent of their sins (while there is still time), they will go to the lake of fire.

    1. Great comment. Absolutely right! We should not be tolerating witchcraft in our country, as doing so is disobedient to our Creator. No good will come of it.

    2. Mick James says:

      2 John 1:9-11 (ESV) Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

  48. Always wondered why my tribe converted en masse to Catholicism in 1620 . (micmac) So I decided to find out . My wife and I lived in a tent for three months in a Lakota medicine mans front yard . Nice folks too .
    The answer was that Jesus the Christ is WAY MORE POWERFUL than the spirits of nature . That also explained why Christianity spreads like a raging California wildfire wherever its introduced .
    Now my wife is a missionary and I see the bible as the ultimate authority in my life .
    These people turning to witchcraft will fold once reality bites them on the butt .

  49. Great. Now we can have a return to witch trials and witch burnings.

  50. So are these the same brand of witches who claim to be putting spells on Trump and his administration? Those witches don’t sound like your all is love kind. Anytime you start delving into the spiritual realm you are messing with matters that can go bad in a heartbeat.

    1. James Lawson says:

      You’d be surprised, there are people with Pagan beliefs that lean right on many issues

    2. Don’t confuse this with satanism. Two VERY different things.

      1. Dirk Pearson says:

        Actually they are connected. There are only 2 sides in this world FOR Christ or ANTI Christ.

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