Wilson, Monique

Wilson, Monique

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Gerald Gardner had a number of different High Priestesses over the years. The last one he had before he died was Monique Wilson, whose Craft name was Lady Olwen. Monique was born in Haiphong, North Vietnam (then French Indochina), in 1928. Her father was a French naval officer stationed there. She first met Gardner while in Haiphong as a child and came to know him as "Uncle Gerald," although there was no actual blood relationship.

Monique saw her father murdered by Communists in the streets of Hanoi. For safety she and her mother then moved to Hong Kong, where she once again briefly encountered Uncle Gerald. Also there, on a blind date, Monique met Campbell "Scotty" Wilson, who was serving in the Bomber Command of the Royal Air Force. Within four months they were engaged and soon after were married. They moved to Britain in 1954, and three years later they had a daughter, Yvette.

Some years later, while married and living in Scotland, Monique met Gardner again. At that time she had become interested in the Old Religion. The goddess worship equated with her own upbringing with reverence to Kuan Yin. She wrote to the author of Witchcraft Today seeking further information. She knew that author as the "Grand Old Man of Witchcraft" but was surprised to find that he was none other than the same Uncle Gerald she had known as a child. A renewed friendship developed and she was taken into the Craft. Monique came to be the High Priestess Lady Olwen and Scotty was her High Priest Loic. As a child, their daughter Yvette was initiated as Morven.

Olwen became a Witch Queen, with a number of covens in Perth, Scotland, where Gardner was a regular visitor (she initiated this author there in 1963). In February of 1964, Gardner died and left the bulk of his estate to Olwen. This included his museum on the Isle of Man, with all the contents, and his cottage on Malew Street, in Castletown. The cottage contained almost as many artifacts and magical documents as there were in the museum. Much animosity arose in the Wiccan world in Britain (perhaps partly due to jealousy) when Gardner left so much of his material to Olwen, although he had made some bequests to others. The Wilsons moved to the Isle of Man and took up residence in Gardner's old cottage.

The financial lifeblood of the Isle of Man museum was the restaurant, the Witches Kitchen. This Gardner had left to his biographer, Jack Bracelin, for Bracelin's lifetime. Eventually, however, Olwen and Loic purchased it from Bracelin, and with that their financial interest in the venture stabilized. They received a great deal of press coverage, most of it positive. However, as a result of an article in the News of the World, neighbors of the Wilsons started a rumor that their young daughter was abused in the Circle, and as a result, Morven was placed under the supervision of a probation official for three years. Unfortunately by this time Olwen began to drink heavily. The combination of these events caused Loic to urge Olwen to sell the museum. She did not want to, so Loic himself negotiated its sale to Ripley's ("Believe It or Not") in the United States. He and Olwen, with Morven, then retired to Torremolinos, in Andalucia, Spain, which was at the time a quiet little village. Both Olwen and Loic passed to the Summerland in the mid-1980s, Loic as the result of an auto accident.

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