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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - German Witches Demand Rites

German Witches Demand Rites

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Witches in the U.S. military have tried to keep a low profile,

but they've been coming out in the open in a fuss over their use of a troop recreation

center for their meetings.

It all began when the military paper Stars and Stripes quoted Air Force Staff Sgt.

Nathan Crisp, himself a wiccan-as witches prefer to call themselves-as saying harassment

is part of being a witch, so they generally keep to themselves.

The newspaper later published a letter complaining about a "pagan support group"

meeting at the U.S. military recreation center at the Vogelwen American housing area

in Kaiserslautern.

Since then, many soldier-witches have come forward to complain about that attitude.

"We do not conduct sacrifices-animal or human," Ivy Nelson, another witchcraft-practicing

American army member wrote in a letter to Stars and Stripes.

Nelson, a 34-year-old army specialist, told the Associated Press that about 30 Americans,

most of them in the U.S military, regularly attend wiccans meetings in Kaiserslautern

and that another 100 were on their mailing list.

The newspaper has received at least 15 letters from practicing pagans, says Cheri

Tellez of the letters to the editor department.

Senior Airman Melissa R. Ujczo-Kovachich, stationed at the Ramstein Air Base, said

the initial letter complaining about the group, by Melody Hull, "caused me so

much pain."

"I would love to talk to her and explain my beliefs to her. However, I'm afraid

she would be too busy stacking kindling around my feet," Ujczo-Kovachich wrote

in her letter to the editor.

U.S. Air Force Major Dave Turner, a spokesman for the Kaiserslautern military community,

says the wiccans have a right to meet and practice their beliefs.

"We've never had any problems with them, " he said.



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