EPPING FOREST: Pagans deny 'ridiculous' claims of Lammas Day abduction plan

First published in News by

PAGANS have dismissed ‘ridiculous’ claims they plan to kidnap a member of the public as part of festivities in Epping Forest next week.


An anonymous leaflet stuffed through letterboxes on Epping High Street on Monday (July 23) warns of a Pagan ‘plan to abduct a male member of the public for use as part of their rituals’.


Pagans traditionally celebrate Lammas Day, the wheat harvest festival, from July 31 to August 1 – the mid-point between summer solstice and autumn equinox.

Mani Navasothy is a Wiccan High Priest and representative of the Pagan Federation, which works with the Government to create guidelines on recognising Paganism.


The 42-year-old has led several Pagan camps at Debden campsite and staged his wedding on the edge of the forest.

He said: “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.


“I myself have led rituals in forests and I used to tell the police and council – we always do it very carefully and formerly. If anything we just go for walks in the wood.”

Contrary to the leaflet’s claim that next week’s celebrations will involve ‘public nudity, unauthorized fires, sacrifices and heightened risk of kidnapping’, Mr Navasothy said they were likely to entail a ‘drama’-like ritual, with worshippers in masks and costumes acting out the cutting of the first wheat.


“We don’t do animal sacrifices and definitely not people. That would be criminal.”


Simon Webb, the Loughton-based author of Unearthing London: The Ancient World Beneath the Metropolis , said Epping Forest had been used by worshippers of Pagan gods since the Neolithic period.


“The main road from the Neolithic flint mines in Norfolk to London passed straight through Epping Forest and straight through Waltham Abbey," said Mr Webb, 58.

"Travellers worshipped half-human, half-horned goats and took symbols of their religion with them.


“There are old roads leading through the forest made by Celts. They’re called ‘green lanes’, and they were used as old trackways.”

Mr Webb confirmed Epping Forest was still a draw for practising Pagans: “Not far from the Wake Arms roundabout, there’s a clearing with lots of symbols carved into the trees. You’ll also find traces of fires that have been burning there.

“I don’t doubt for a moment that on Lammas Day there will be people lighting fires and dancing round naked in Epping Forest,” he added.

For more information about the Pagan Federation, visit www.paganfed.org .

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Comments (7)

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12:04am Wed 25 Jul 12

Luthaneal says...

What a load of baloney!
Whomever printed up and circulated that flier is an absolute idiot!
What a load of baloney! Whomever printed up and circulated that flier is an absolute idiot! Luthaneal
  • Score: 0

9:18am Wed 25 Jul 12

Blake Black says...

Ok so, I saw this on twitter yesterday and have been doing my research the half man and half goat your reffering too in this artical is pretty errrr, well you decided google & wiki it: Bophomet.
Also, I don't know what there doing over there, but psychologically speaking, the response about human sacrifice "That would be criminal" is unaquitably the wrong cognitive response to have for regular person, as 90% of us would find human sacrifices completely repulsive.
But, hey the world been crazy from before we was all born anyway.
Ok so, I saw this on twitter yesterday and have been doing my research the half man and half goat your reffering too in this artical is pretty errrr, well you decided google & wiki it: Bophomet. Also, I don't know what there doing over there, but psychologically speaking, the response about human sacrifice "That would be criminal" is unaquitably the wrong cognitive response to have for regular person, as 90% of us would find human sacrifices completely repulsive. But, hey the world been crazy from before we was all born anyway. Blake Black
  • Score: 0

10:05am Wed 25 Jul 12

Ashling1971 says...

As a Pagan I would like to add that not only would anyone I know harm any human or animal but neither would we cause harm to the trees or the forest. The quoted author's remarks on tree carving and lighting of fires is alien to anything I am familiar with. We love the trees and the forest and most people I know are more likely to hug a tree. We are also ecologically aware and know that ground fires can harm tree roots therefore if a fire were to be lit it would be in a container. We take bags on our walks and often pick up other peoples litter leaving the forest cleaner than we found it. How many forest users do that? Most pagans I know are well educated responsible people who love and respect nature, our planet and all its inhabitants both plant and animal. Like Blake above I found the 'that would be criminal' remark a bit odd, perhaps the journalist can illuminate as to the context. I will say that the person quoted has English as a second language so this may explain the words used.
As a Pagan I would like to add that not only would anyone I know harm any human or animal but neither would we cause harm to the trees or the forest. The quoted author's remarks on tree carving and lighting of fires is alien to anything I am familiar with. We love the trees and the forest and most people I know are more likely to hug a tree. We are also ecologically aware and know that ground fires can harm tree roots therefore if a fire were to be lit it would be in a container. We take bags on our walks and often pick up other peoples litter leaving the forest cleaner than we found it. How many forest users do that? Most pagans I know are well educated responsible people who love and respect nature, our planet and all its inhabitants both plant and animal. Like Blake above I found the 'that would be criminal' remark a bit odd, perhaps the journalist can illuminate as to the context. I will say that the person quoted has English as a second language so this may explain the words used. Ashling1971
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Wed 25 Jul 12

Localimmigrant says...

This just sounds like someone or some group trying to stir up anti-pagan sentiment. Let those who would live and let live be.
This just sounds like someone or some group trying to stir up anti-pagan sentiment. Let those who would live and let live be. Localimmigrant
  • Score: 0

12:55pm Wed 25 Jul 12

andy_cook says...

@ Blake Black - you are more likely to get a better idea of the horned god if you google Pan, or Cernunnos
@ Blake Black - you are more likely to get a better idea of the horned god if you google Pan, or Cernunnos andy_cook
  • Score: 0

2:46pm Wed 25 Jul 12

Trevvy says...

An interesting article. May I ask if the reporter who wrote this got to see a copy of the offending leaflet? I just wondered if there was any indication as to who the author might have been.
An interesting article. May I ask if the reporter who wrote this got to see a copy of the offending leaflet? I just wondered if there was any indication as to who the author might have been. Trevvy
  • Score: 0

11:35am Fri 27 Jul 12

ogeoid says...

Most likely Christian evangelical zealots - I'll never trust a religion whose symbol of faith is a cruel form of execution.
Most likely Christian evangelical zealots - I'll never trust a religion whose symbol of faith is a cruel form of execution. ogeoid
  • Score: 0

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