Cabot, Laurie

Cabot, Laurie

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

For two hundred years witches have tried to keep a low profile, especially in Salem, Massachusetts, scene of the famous Salem witch trials. But Laurie Cabot, known as the Official Witch of Salem, has chosen to deliberately defy tradition in an attempt to draw public awareness to the misunderstood religion of witchcraft known as Wicca.

She is an ordained high priestess of the craft and carries on the religious tradition practiced by her Celtic ancestors. Founder of the Cabot Tradition of the Science of Witchcraft and the Witches' League for Public Awareness, she has devoted her life to correcting public misconceptions about her religion through her books, public appearances, and teaching career.

The Religion Book: Places, Prophets, Saints, and Seers © 2004 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.

Cabot, Laurie (1933)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Termed "the official Witch of Salem (Massachusetts)," Laurie Cabot has been actively promoting Witchcraft in that community since 1986. She was born in Wewoka, Oklahoma, in 1933, while her family was en route from Boston to Anaheim, California. In 1947 she returned to Boston with her mother to finish high school. There she began a study of comparative religions and was encouraged to do research by a librarian who later revealed herself to be a Witch. This librarian later initiated Cabot.

Cabot became a dancer in Boston's Latin Quarter and had two marriages and two daughters, one by each husband. Following her second divorce, she decided to wear long black robes, outline her eyes with black make-up, and live her life "totally as a Witch." With a friend, she opened a store in Salem called The Witch Shop, but it was not successful and closed. A second store, Crowhaven Corner, has done well and is now run by one of her daughters.

Since the early 1970s, Cabot has sought recognition as the "Official Witch of Salem" and received a citation from the governor granting her that title in 1977.

In 1987 Cabot entered the mayoral race but later dropped out. She said that she wanted to "prove that Witches have civil rights." She did serve on the executive board of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, which she had joined in 1980.

In 1988 she established a Temple of Isis, a chapter of the National Alliance of Pantheists. Two years earlier she had founded the Witches League of Public Awareness, working towards ending bigotry and prejudice against Witches and Witchcraft. One of its major achievements was in exposing what was known as "File 18," an underground newsletter and hit list of occultists, compiled by a police officer. It named individual Witches and Witchcraft groups, falsely linking them to occult crimes. The League works with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.