A British witch who owns a store for occult supplies says she and her staff members have been facing a campaign of “sustained, continuous harassment” for nearly a decade. Toni Hunt, 61, told local media outlets there’s been a recent and frightening uptick in harassment and threats from people identifying themselves as members of local church groups. Most recently, police say, a group held a purported exorcism outside the shop and threatened to burn it down.
Hunt’s shop Spellbound is located in Gloucester, while Hunt herself is a longtime resident of nearby Forest of Dean and a former police officer. Her harassers, meanwhile, have too much time on their hands and an excess of hostility, she tells Metro UK. She says a group of people have hurled eggs at the store, handed out Bibles outside, and, most recently, threatened to burn the store down with the staff inside.
“It’s because we are Pagans and witches, and some people don’t understand what we believe,” she told the publication. “But instead of educating themselves, they hate and they bully.”
Police also released a photo of a woman wanted for questioning in connection with another bizarre incident that happened at the shop April 22, when they say an “oily substance” was smeared on Spellbound’s door handle. Police told Gloucestershire Live that several incidents of criminal damage and “anti-social behavior” against Spellbound are being investigated as hate crimes.
Hunt appealed for increased tolerance from the local community, and help finding the woman wanted for questioning. She also told Metro she’s most concerned about the threats against her staff: “They said my girls were the same as terrorists, and likened them to devil worshippers and even to ISIS,” she said, adding, “They even threatened to burn the place down. It was devastating to the girls who work here. I am very worried for them, they are only young.”
According to Gloucestershire Live, the Police Pagan Association, which is absolutely real, has also been called in to help. The PPA is a government agency which works on, in their words, “supporting Pagan Police Officers and Staff and improving the relationships between the Pagan community and the Police service.”