LEEK - THE SOUTH'S WHITE WITCH
Leek - dubbed 'Britain’s most famous witch'- has an incredible
life story. Inside
Out presenter Chris Packham flew to Florida to discover more.
in 1923, Sybil Leek lived in Burley, Hampshire, in the late 1950s.
world's media flocked to her door when she announced she was a white
Witchcraft Act was only repealed in 1951 and few witches dared to
reveal their craft at this time.
village was besieged by tourists and many
residents were also uncomfortable having a white witch in their
resident Dionis MacNair says, "People either thought she was a bit
of a joke or a fraud."
Sybil's landlord refused to renew her lease she took it as a sign
to pack up her broomstick and move elsewhere.
|Sybil became a staple of the American chat shows|
flew to America to promote one of her books and fell in love with
presenter Annie England was one of the first people to interview
her in 1964. They became lifelong friends. Annie
"Everyone wanted her on their show. She rubbed shoulders with
all the celebrities of her time… Gypsy Rose Lee... Neil Diamond."
has many more tricks up her sleeve then some of the witches above.
of the most incredible claims about her is that she was recruited
by the British Government during the Second World War.
to the Second World War author Michael Salazar, her role
was to provide phony horoscopes for the Germans who believed in
apparently wrote a chart which convinced the Nazi Rudolf Hess
to fly to England, where he was
"World War II was a battle between good and evil and Sybil
was in the middle of it."
son Julian now lives in America|
son Julian is now building a research centre in Melbourne Beach,
will house a huge archive dedicated to his mum. By the time she
died in 1982, she had written over 60 books, given hundreds of interviews
and was a millionaire.
the best legacy for Sybil is the fact that witchcraft is thriving
in America and the UK.
of white witches in the New Forest are following in Sybil’s footsteps. High
Priestess Julie Forest says;
"She was a pioneer of her time and
she is an inspiration to modern day witches."
isn’t the only witch that has shot to public attention ..
Shipton was born in 1488 in a cave in Knaresborough, Yorkshire. Legend
has it that her powers included healing and spell-casting. She is also said to have made prophecies about modern times that have
apparently come true. Mother Shipton is said to have foretold the invasion and defeat of the
Spanish Armada in 1588 and the Great Fire of London in 1666. Mother
Shipton died in 1561. Her cave and well can still be visited in Knaresborough.
group of men and women were named the Berwick witches in Scotland in the
16th century. They
were accused of causing a deathly storm through witchcraft to drown King
James I. The
King survived and is said to have started the first great witch hunt.
He wanted vengeance on those who had tried to kill him. The Berwick witches were arrested, brought to trail, tortured and burnt. By
the early 17th century, witchcraft was in full swing, particularly in
ruins of the Old Kirk, where events surrounding the Berwick witches are
believed to have took place can still be seen in North Berwick, Scotland.
- Joan Wyttle
Wyttle was a Cornish woman also known by the name of Fighting Fairy Woman
of Bodmin. Born in 1775, legend has it that she was a clairvoyant and a healer. As
a result of a tooth abscess, she became ill-tempered and fiery. She got involved in a fight and harmed some people with her remarkable
was imprisoned as a result of the fight but died in prison in 1813 as
a result of poor conditions. Her
bones were displayed in the Museum of Witchcraft. But it is said that her spirit was haunting the museum and so her remains
were laid to rest at a proper burial. A
plaque accounting her story is now on display with her empty coffin at
of Sybil Leek (c) Copyright Julian Leek