Witchcraft is sweeping Britain and must be outlawed

  DATELINE: LONDON (AP)   April 15, 1988
  Witchcraft  is  sweeping Britain and must be outlawed so British children
don't  fall  into  the  "sordid,  sexual and diabolical grasp" of those who
practice it, a lawmaker told the House of Commons.
   Geoffrey Dickens, of the governing Conservative Party, asserted Thursday
that  many  people convicted of child abuse had been involved in witchcraft
initiation ceremonies.
    "People  laughed  when  I  spoke nine years ago about child abuse. Most
people  are  listening  now,"  said  Dickens,  asking  for  a debate on the
subject. "I now warn the House witchcraft is sweeping the country."
    His  comments were met with laughter from other lawmakers. House leader
John Wakeham rejected the call for a debate but urged Dickens to pursue the
subjects he thought important. 

    Later,  Dickens  said  he  would  urge  the introduction of legislation
banning witchcraft, with prison sentences for offenders.
    "These  are  extremely  devious,  evil  people," he said. "If we are to
protect  children  from  their  sordid, sexual and diabolical grasp we must
bring in new laws to wipe witches off the face of the earth."
    He  said  he had evidence that a vicar in northern England had surveyed
300  14-year-old  pupils,  and  87 percent had said they had dabbled in the
    "I  have not gone mad," he said. "This is a serious and growing problem
which must be exorcised."
    The  crime  of  witchcraft was abolished in 1951 with the repeal of the
1735 Witchcraft Act.