The leg­end of an En­glee witch

Northern Pen - - Editorial - BY THOM BARKER SPE­CIAL TO THE NORTH­ERN PEN

Was there a witch of En­glee? Maude Cull-Saun­ders from En­glee, who is now a res­i­dent of Shirley’s Haven in St. An­thony, says there was a witch in En­glee back in the 1940s.

“My grand­mother had two calves, well, her cow had two calves, and this old lady came down, the witch they called her, she came down and she said, ‘Give me one of them, Aunt Jessie (Can­ning)’,” Maude told The North­ern Pen. “’No, I can’t give you me calves,’ (Jessie) said. So (the witch) went down and got the calf over by the fence to where she could reach it and she reached her hand down and touched the calf a cou­ple of times and the calf died. Not right away, but prob­a­bly that night or some­thing, it per­ished. That’s a true story.”

Cull-Saun­ders de­clined to say who the woman was say­ing she didn’t want to cause trou­ble, but that peo­ple were wary at the time.

She re­called an­other story involving her grand­mother.

“They say a witch won’t step over a broom,” Maude said. “So, my grand­mother saw her com­ing, the old lady what they called a witch, so she went out and buried a broom in the snow in front of the bridge.”

That didn’t seem to work, though.

“(Grand­mother) watched her come in and (the witch) says, ‘I saw your broom out there,’ she says at the door.”

Maude said peo­ple also thought the woman’s daugh­ter was a witch, re­count­ing a story about an­other woman in En­glee.

“Her grand­daugh­ter was sick and she blamed this woman for witch­ing (the grand­daugh­ter),” Maude said. “She said, ‘If my grand­daugh­ter dies, you’re in trou­ble.’ Any­way, (the witch) called it off and the girl got bet­ter.”

Th­ese days, Hal­loween is a time for sto­ries of witches and gob­lins and spooky leg­ends, but Maude grew up in a time be­fore Hal­loween re­ally took hold in New­found­land.

“We didn’t know what Hal­loween was,” she said. “It was a date on the cal­en­dar, but we didn’t know what it means.”

Later, when Maude had chil­dren of her own, they didn’t ob­serve Hal­loween.

“Our chil­dren weren’t al­lowed to do stuff like that,” she said. “That was a sin.”

She ex­plained that that was the teach­ing of the Apos­tolic Church, to which she be­longed.

Al­though Hal­loween has be­come a largely sec­u­lar hol­i­day, the Apos­tolic Church still warns Chris­tians away from cel­e­brat­ing it.

“Hal­loween to­day is per­formed usu­ally by ad­her­ents of witch­craft who use the night for their rit­u­als,” states a blog by PraiseHymn, a pub­lic re­la­tions firm as­so­ci­ated with the Apos­tolic faith. “Witches cel­e­brate Hal­loween as the “Feast of Samhain,” the first feast of the witch­craft year. Be­ing a fes­ti­val of the dead, Hal­loween is a time when witches at­tempt to com­mu­ni­cate with the dead through var­i­ous forms of div­ina­tion.”

The church rec­om­mends hold­ing a fall fun day in­stead, or to cel­e­brate Re­for­ma­tion Day—the Protes­tant com­mem­o­ra­tion of the on­set of re­form led by Martin Luther—which is also Oct. 31.

Maude did soften up on the ob­ser­vance of Hal­loween by the late 1970s, how­ever, re­call­ing one year when fam­ily came to visit.

“My daugh­ter-in-law, Glenda, comes to the door in a witch’s cap, all dressed up,” Maude said. “I said, ‘I’m not go­ing to let you in.”

But she did let her in. Of course, Glenda was a good witch. Or was it Glinda?

THOM BARKER — SPE­CIAL TO THE NORTH­ERN PEN

Maude Cull-Saun­ders, in her room at Shirley’s Haven, re­counts the story of an al­leged witch in the town of En­glee back in the 1940s.

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