It’s been well over 350 years since the death of the unlikable Matthew Hopkins, but should Britain ever get back into the business of hiring a Witchfinder-General (check out the 1968 movie of the same name, incidentally, for some beautifully filmed, if thoroughly nasty, Hallowe’en viewing), he will, if this Sunday Telegraph story is anything to go by, be considerably more sensitive than this psychotic predecessor:
It is Hallowe’en and the witching hour is drawing nearer, but don’t be alarmed – [British] police officers are on the case, having been issued with official guidance on how to deal with witches.
The advice is contained in a 300-page “diversity handbook” which gives officers a range of “dos and don’ts” when approaching followers of a range of religions and other beliefs, from atheism to Zoroastrianism.
Instructions include avoid touching a witch’s “Book of Shadows”, which contains their spells, or handling their ceremonial dagger.
The online handbook also advises officers not to jump to conclusions if they encounter a situation where a blindfolded, naked person is tied by their hands – they could merely have stumbled upon a pagan ritual, where such activities are normal practice.
And yes, there’s more. Please read the whole thing — and do have a very happy Hallowe’en, or, for that matter, Samhain.