Pagans in Epping Forest, an area in south-east England, are denying claims that they intend to capture someone next week for use in human sacrifice ritual, a claim they call “ridiculous”.
On Monday, a mysterious collection of fliers was anonymously stuffed into mailboxes around Effing High Street, prompting some local alarm. The leaflets warned of local pagans’ sinister “plan to abduct a male member of the public for use as part of their rituals” on Lammas Day, a holiday that celebrates the point between summer solstice and autumn equinox. The paper also listed various other concerns such as “public nudity and unauthorized fires”.
Wiccan High Priest and rep for the Pagan Federation, 42 year old Mani Navasothy told the Guardian that the claims were completely unfounded and that most of the time, their rituals were simply walks through the woods.
“That’s just ridiculous. Nobody is going to catch a man and abduct him. I have got a degree in physics, so I’m not an idiot. Practising Pagans just don’t do that sort of thing…We don’t do animal sacrifices and definitely not people. That would be criminal.”
Upon hearing the rumors herself, one London, England witch wrote that, “anyone sneaking into Epping Forest in the hope of spotting naked witches cavorting in the woods is likely to be very disappointed.”
These kinds of panic are nothing new for the community around Epping, as the forest has been steeped in rumors of strange ceremonies under the cover darkness for decades. It’s been mentioned as a popular site for dirty deeds in over half a dozen cases of satanic ritual abuse (all of them dismissed), and according to experts, the wooded area has been the site of pagan worship since the Neolithic period.