Tuesday night at 10 p.m. Central Time, hundreds of pagans around the world settled down in front of makeshift altars to cast a spell on convicted Stanford rapist Brock Turner. “The Hexing of Brock Turner” was organized on Facebook and saw some 600 witches, mostly female, cast a deluge of bad vibes upon Turner, his father, and the California judge whose leniency has become a national outrage.
Erick Dupree, a self-described “feminist magic maker,” was one of the few men to participate in the hexing. Here’s how he described his personal ceremony: “I lit a seven-day candle, glued his picture to it, and wrapped it with cording. I meditated and offered blessings to the Goddess, specifically about [how] the lack of justice in his sentence caused harm to women. I then ‘hexed’ the harm onto the candle to be burned out.”
Others described slightly less sanitary proceedings. “Sourcing dog shit from a neighbour to throw the curse away with,” one hexer wrote. “His picture was given some nasty ointment, urine, spit and hex words,” wrote another. “Added my own urine and my feline familiars shit for good measure,” wrote the witch who posted this picture.
The purpose of the hex, Dupree explains, is to give pagans agency, “just like prayer does in other Wisdom traditions.” If Turner happens to feel some real physical pain as a result, that would be nice too. The suggested hex posted in the Facebook group included lines such as, “You will be impotent” and “You will know constant pain of pine needles in your guts.”
It’s unclear if those curses have befallen Turner, although it’s been reported that he’s being kept in protective custody to ward off beat downs from other inmates. The hex did include the line “You will meet justice,” so maybe that part is coming true.
But even if Turner isn’t left impotent with constant nightmares and insatiable hunger — and whether or not one believes in sorcery, the power of suggestion alone is a powerful force — it’s still a useful exercise, Dupree says. “People are talking about rape. You are talking to me. Hundreds of women and men, some survivors of assault, took action and made a choice to step towards justice and say ‘Rape and Rape Culture is Wrong.’”
While most of the witches targeting Turner were female, Dupree says there’s a role for men in all this as well. He participated himself “partly as a silent witness to the continued sexist assault on women and partly as a collaborator in a feminist revolution.”
He adds that the common perception that witches need to be female is ridiculously out of date. “Magic is done by everyone,” he says. “Language like ‘witch’ assigned to gender is antiquated. We’re all far too fluid for that. What’s not fluid is rape. Hence the hex!”