From the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, January 25th, 1976: WITCHES EMBROILED by Wes Hills, Dai

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From the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, January 25th, 1976: WITCHES EMBROILED by Wes Hills, Daily News Staff Writer The next time there's a meeting of witches and wizzards [sic] in the Dayton area, they will have armed guards on hand. One of the topics for discussion at the meeting will be public demonstra- tions against alleged harrassment by police. And if that doesn't get authorities to stop violating their civil rights, says Johnnie W. Todd, 26, local Grand Magnus [sic] of the Wicca Church, said his covens will resort to their ultimate weapon -- witchcraft. Todd, who operates the Witches Cauldron at 3140 N. Main St., said the Aquarian Anti-Defamation League, the church's legal arm, will assist in efforts to gain religious freedom for the pagan church's three million national members. Todd claims there are 5,000 members of the church in southwestern Ohio. TO BACK UP HIS claims of police harassment, Todd cited the one-day suspensions given to a pair of Dayton police officers last October after Todd file complaints against them in connection with a private collection business they operated. He also said his business has been subjected to two police searches, and his home has been broken into at least three times. He said he believes his problems with police stem, in part, from allegations made to police by a mentally disturbed and "phony" member of his occult group that the coven "has been hiding out runaways and having orgies with girls, with narcotics present, and even sacrificing girls in blood rituals." One of the police officers accused by Todd is Det. Robert R. Keen of the Dayton Police Department's juvenile unit. Todd alleges Keen searched his business last December without a warrant after being refused entrance into his occult store by an employe. Keen said, "The allegations are untrue, and I've contacted my attorney about them." SGT. T. A. TUNNEY, head of the Dayton Police Internal Affairs Unit, said his investigation found no basis for Todd's complaint against Keen. Tunney said the only active investigation into a complaint by Todd concerns an allegation that a patrolman failed to make a report of a break-in at Todd's home. Tunney said patrolmen A. F. Holley and J. B. Peterson received one-day suspensions after they were found in violation of Dayton civil service rules by operating a private collection business. Todd said he and his attorney met with Tunney's unit in an effort to have Peterson charged with extortion but was told they couldn't "take my word over that of a police officer." Todd, who goes by the name of Lance Collins, claimed that when Peterson attempted to collect on a bad check written by his common-law wife on their joint checking account, Peterson told his common-law wife, whom he declines to identify, that if she didn't pay him twice the amount of the check "for his time and effort," he would arrest her on a bad check charge. BOTH PETERSON and Holley deny Todd's allegations, but acknowledge that they operated a collection business before it was found in violation of civil service regulations. During one search of his business, Todd said, police told him they were looking for a runaway girl and drugs. Todd concedes that he was the subject of an FBI investigation regarding a runaway 17-year-old girl. He said the girl told him she had been beaten by her father and asked him to take her to Chicago. While in route [sic] to Chicago, Todd said he learned of an all-points kidnap bulletin put out by the FBI. He said he returned with the girl to Dayton and she turned herself in to authorities. "No charges were pressed against me," Todd said. FBI officials declined to comment. Police have no legitimate interest in investigating his occult activities, Todd said. He claimed that allegations of orgies, narcotics, blood rituals and Satan worship are untrue and are merely "Christian propaganda to dis- courage membership." THE FBI AND LOCAL police are harassing the Wicca church, Todd said, because many wizzards [sic] and witches hold sensitive military positions and other important jobs. Members, Todd said, are required to maintain secrecy vows, have "very liberal sex habits," and are opposed to polution, war and street crime. "Its major law is you can do anything you want as long as you don't harm anyone in any way," Todd added. He said until last year he was an ordained Pentacostal church minister, is a graduate of Duke University, and received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army's Special Forces. "People want something supernatural, and witchcraft gives supernatural power," Todd said. But Todd concedes that any public demonstration by the Dayton coven may not be very large. "Only three or four of our members can publicly say they practice witchcraft. If they admit they're into it, they'll lose their jobs." - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - From the San Francisco Chronicle, June 5th, 1978 (2-1/2 years later): GROUP THAT'S PREPARING FOR WITCH WAR Zionsville, Ind. (United Press) An evangelist has convinced some members of a fundamentalist Baptist church congregation they must prepare for a war against witches conspiring to conquer the world. Those members are stockpiling food, buying weapons and even considering purchase of property in Christian retreats, according to the Rev. H. Eugene Riker, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Zionsville, a community near Indianapolis. The moving force behind it all is evangelist John Todd, a self-styled "born again" Christian, who claims he once participated in the high decision-making councils of a group of witches called the Illuminati. Todd, 28, said he was born and raised in witchcraft, but six years ago was "saved" from the pagan religion. "John Todd has spurred folks to draw nearer the heart of God," explained Riker. "He's stirred people more than any speaker we've had." Riker said Todd has preached at his church on several occasions -- the last in late March -- and will return in September. He added Todd also has engagements at several other Indiana communities this fall. Todd preaches that the Illuminati has plans for creating a major crisis as early as 1980 through disruptive strikes of the food and transportation systems. The base for Illuminati in the United States is the Council of [sic] Foreign Relations, according to Todd. He charged the financial backing is from David Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Com. The evangelist says the strategy to combat the witches is to stockpile food for three months to a year, have firearms for self-defense and, if possible, purchase land and move to "almost impregnable Christian retreats."

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