The Bushranger and the Witches

A quirky story has been filtering out of Australia in bits and pieces.

First came the discovery of the headless skeleton of Ned Kelly (1854–1880), the country’s most infamous bushranger (outlaw) of the 19th century, which involved DNA matching and other modern techniques.

Then his descendents appealed for whoever had the skull to bring it back.

Then comes a “self-proclaimed” (a term used to avoid libel suits) witch from New Zealand who says that she has it — “given” to her by a security guard (under what circumstances?).

This woman, Anna Hoffman, was supposedly a friend of Australia’s most famous pre-Wiccan witch and trance-artist, Rosaleen Norton of Melbourne. An Australian writer on occultism, Nevill Drury, has devoted quite a lot of time to writing about Norton. including a recent article in The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, titled “The Magical Cosmology of Rosaleen Norton.

Which is why I am blogging about Ned Kelly.