Sybil Leek (née Fawcett; 22 February 1917 – 26 October 1982) was an English witch, astrologer, occult author and self-proclaimed psychic. She wrote many books on occult and esoteric subjects, and was dubbed "Britain's most famous witch" by the BBC.[1]

Sybil Leek
Born(1917-02-22)22 February 1917
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
Died26 October 1982(1982-10-26) (aged 65)
Melbourne, Florida, United States
Occupation(s)White witch, antiques dealer, author, television personality

Personal life edit

Sybil Leek was born on 22 February 1917 in the village of Normacot in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England to a comfortable, middle-class family. She claimed to have been descended from the historical Molly Leigh, who had been accused during the witch hunts. In her book The Complete Art of Witchcraft, pg 21, she calls this 800 year family beneficial relationship with 'our ancient Celtic form of Witchcraft' and occultism. At the age of 16 she married her music teacher, though he died two years later, whereupon Leek returned to live with her grandmother, quitting the Witchcraft research association. She later stayed with an acquaintance in Lyndhurst, in the New Forest, and claimed to have spent some of the following years living amongst the New Forest gypsies. When she was 20, Sybil returned to her family, who had now moved to the edge of the New Forest. She opened three antique shops; one in Ringwood, one in Somerset, and one in the New Forest village of Burley. She soon moved to Burley herself, into a house behind the shop Lawfords of Burley.

Her eccentric habits as a self-described witch soon resulted in problems. Media interest grew, and Sybil became tired of the attention from news reporters and tourists. Chris Packham, in a BBC article about her, quoted a contemporary saying, "people either thought she was a bit of a joke or a fraud." Although the village itself benefited from the extra tourism and visitors, some were unhappy with the extra traffic and noise. Her landlord eventually refused to renew her lease, prompting Leek to move away from the area and emigrate to the United States of America.[1]

United States edit

When Leek moved to America, she became an astrologer, describing astrology as her "first love".[2] In April 1964, an American publishing house wanted Sybil to speak about her new book A Shop in the High Street, and she was invited to appear on To Tell the Truth, a TV programme in the States; her appearance occurred on 13 April 1964.[3] She took the opportunity to go, and flew to New York City, where she gave many interviews. While in New York, she was contacted by Hans Holzer, a parapsychologist, who invited her to join him investigating hauntings and psychic phenomena. They went on to do numerous TV and radio programmes on the subject. She would later move to Los Angeles, where she met Israel Regardie, an authority on Kabbalah and ritual magic.

Contrasts with other witches edit

Sybil Leek was strong in the defence of her beliefs, and sometimes differed with, and even quarrelled with, other witches. She disapproved of nudity in rituals, which is a requirement in Gardnerian Wicca, and she was strongly against the use of drugs, and she contrasted with most other witches in that she did believe in cursing. She also claimed to have had an out-of-body experience.

Her student Christine Jones stated that Leek "mixed truths with untruths liberally, causing great harm as she went".[4]

Death edit

She died of cancer on 26 October 1982 at the Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida.

Books edit

Title Year Publisher Identifier
A Shop in the High Street (1st UK edition) 1962 Jarrolds
A Shop in the High Street (1st US edition) 1964 David McKay Company LCCN 64--15886
Diary of a Witch 1968 Prentice Hall LCCN 68--18514
The Sybil Leek Book of Fortune Telling 1969 The Macmillan Company
Numerology: The Magic of Numbers 1969 Macmillan
How To Be Your Own Astrologer 1970 Cowles Book Company
The Sybil Leek's Astrological Guide to Successful Everyday Living 1970 Prentice Hall ISBN 0-13-879882-6
Telepathy, The 'Respectable Phenomenon' 1971 The Macmillan Company - Book Club edition
The Complete Art of Witchcraft 1971 a Signet Book New American Library LCCN 70--15997
The Astrological Guide to Financial Success 1972 Grosset & Dunlap
My Life in Astrology 1972 Prentice Hall Book club edition
The Story of Faith Healing 1973 Macmillan Publishing Company
Sybil Leek's Book of Herbs 1973 Cornerstone Library, Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-346-12435-2
Tomorrow's Headlines Today 1974 Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Reincarnation: the Second Chance 1974 Stein and Day ISBN 0-8128-1693-5
Sybil Leek's Book of Curses 1975 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Book Club Edition
Star Speak, Your Body Language from the Stars 1975 Arbor House ISBN 0-87795-118-7
Sybil Leek's Book of the Curious and Occult 1976 Ballantine Nonfiction ISBN 0-345-25385-X
Dreams 1976 W. H. Allen
Sybil Leek on Exorcism. Driving Out The Devils 1976 W. H. Allen
Astrology And Love. Be a Better Lover 1977 Berkley Publishing Corp.
Moon Signs: Lunar Astrology 1977 W. H. Allen ISBN 0-491-02451-7

Magazines edit

Title Year Publisher
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 5 #3" March 1972 Twin World Publications
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 5 #4" April 1972 Twin World Publications
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 5 #5" May 1972 Twin World Publications
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 5 #6" June 1972 Twin World Publications
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 6 #2" August 1972 Twin World Publications
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 6 #3" September 1972 Twin World Publications
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 6 #5" November 1972 Twin World Publications
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 6 #6" December 1972 Twin World Publications
"Sybil Leek's Astrology Vol 7 #2" February 1973 Twin World Publications

References edit

  1. ^ a b "BBC Inside Out – Sybil Leek; White witch". BBC. 28 October 2002.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Judika Iles, p. 746
  3. ^ "The G-T Big 4: To Tell the Truth (CBS Nighttime)".
  4. ^ Jones 2010, p. 121.

Sources edit

  • Bramshaw, Vikki. Craft of the Wise: A Practical Guide to Paganism & Witchcraft. ISBN 1-84694-232-2.
  • Jones, Christine (2010). Sybil Leek: Out of the Shadows. ISBN 978-0-9827263-6-5.
  • The Raveness. Molly, Sybil and Crowley a popular poem from her book Lavinia : Volume one. (2006) ISBN 978-1-5023139-6-6.
  • Leek, Sybil, Diary of a Witch (Prentice-Hall, 1968).

External links edit