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harassed herself by a blackbird! Doreen’s parents had sent her to a convent school and must have been dismayed when she walked out at the age of fifteen and refused to return. Doreen wanted to work in a factory (again to the consternation of her parents) but she eventually settled to office work, her typing and language skills being most useful. There is no doubt that Doreen had a rebellious questioning nature and a powerful personality. Perhaps it was her nature, her personality and ability with languages that found her working in various places during the war, the matter is rather mysterious as Doreen remained tightlipped throughout her life about her work. She was certainly in South Wales in 1941, where she had a number of short-term jobs, possibly cover for her intelligence work. She also met and married Joanis Vlachopoulos, a merchant seaman of Greek descent in his thirties. The marriage did not last long as Joanis was lost at sea, presumed drowned, within six months. After October 1943 she was transferred to the intelligence service’s offices in Berkeley Street in the Mayfair area of London, where she was involved in message decryption, it was during this time she met Casimiro Valiente, marrying in 1944. After the war Doreen continued her interest in occult matters, describing herself as a “student of the Golden Dawn” but fate was to play an important hand when she read an article in Illustrated magazine from her local newsagent describing a museum of Magic on the Isle of Man. She wrote to the proprietor, Cecil Williamson, who passed her letter to fellow director of the museum and “resident witch”, Gerald Gardner. Doreen’s letter elicited a reply from Gerald and the two met in the autumn of 1952. It was to be a meeting of monumental importance for modern Paganism.

“AT SOME POINT DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR DOREEN WORKED AS A TRANSLATOR AT THE FAMOUS BLETCHLEY PARK CODE-BREAKING CENTRE.”

While a fresh wave of freedom and exploration of all things social, sexual and spiritual washed through the 1960’s Witchcraft and Paganism saw itself attracting more attention from the outside than ever before. Doreen, pragmatic as ever, managed to find honourable middle ground, never denying her Paganism or fearing to speak out in defence of the Craft. Doreen continued to represent Paganism and Witchcraft, having by now become a published author with her book “Where Witchcraft Lives” ostensibly about Sussex folklore but packed with additional information about the subject of great interest to anyone from anywhere. In 1972, Doreen’s husband, Casimiro, passed away. Doreen eventually felt ready to step

back into the limelight somewhat, she began writing in earnest and published “An ABC of Witchcraft” (1973), “Natural Magic” (1975) and “Witchcraft for Tomorrow” (1978) all of which are now considered authoritative standard works in the field. Doreen also found time to involve herself with establishing an organisation initially called “The Pagan Front” (which later transformed into The Pagan Federation) to fight prejudice against Pagans in both the media and society at large and this pioneering work is considered by many to be the basis of the modern acceptance of Paganism as having a dignified and valid place in society. During the 1980s Doreen embarked on some remarkable research into the roots of the modern Craft. While she had herself doubted many of Gerald Gardner’s claims she was a great supporter and admirer of him as a person and a leader and she uncovered the evidence that supported his claims to have been initiated into a tradition rather than the notion that had been going around for several years that he “made it all up”. Doreen’s discovery of the real identity of “Dorothy Clutterbuck” and her logically concluded reasons for Gerald maintaining the anonymity of his initiators silenced the critics. Doreen passed from the mortal world at 6.55am on 1st September 1999, aged 77 In 2013 Doreen made posthumous history by being the first witch to be awarded a blue plaque commemorating her life and achievements. The plaque, on a council tower block in Doreen’s chosen home-town of Brighton, reads ‘Doreen Valiente 1922-1999 poet, author and Mother of Modern Witchcraft lived here’. Appropriately Doreen’s unique collection of manuscripts, ritual objects and artefacts have been made publicly available in Brighton. These never-before-seen items are on display at Preston Manor, an Edwardian country house museum one-mile north of the city centre. The small exhibition, created by the Doreen Valiente Foundation and entitled ‘Folklore, Magic and Mysteries: Modern Witchcraft and Folk Culture in Britain’, runs until 30thSeptember 2016. “There was a young lady called Freeman Who had an affair with a demon She said that his cock was as cold as a rock Now, what in the Hell could it be, man?” “An Unsolved Problem of Psychic Research”, an example of Valiente’s poetry

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Haunted Magazine #16 - Women in Paranormal Special  

Women, women, women, you can't live with them but you can get them to write the features for Haunted Magazine Issue 16, and like a female ve...

Haunted Magazine #16 - Women in Paranormal Special  

Women, women, women, you can't live with them but you can get them to write the features for Haunted Magazine Issue 16, and like a female ve...