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Browse photos and graphics from the WITCH hexes of the 1960's.

WITCH was more of an idea-in-action than an organization. Founded in 1968 by a group of radical women in New York City who wanted to do guerilla theater, covens rose and fell around the country as opportunities to do zap actions presented themselves.
The first action was a hex of Wall Street on Halloween, the annual religious festival of the druidic witches. Spooked, the stock market promptly dropped. The day after Valentine's Day in 1969 WITCH swooped down on Bridal Fairs held simultaneously in New York City and San Francisco. "Confront the Whoremakers" they told prospective brides and their mothers. WITCH leaflets said "marriage is a dehumanizing institution--legal whoredom for women... A woman is taught from infancy that her only real goal in life is to fulfill the role of wife and mother of male heirs. She is allowed an identity only as an appendage to a man.... The wedding ceremony is the symbolic ritual of our legal transference from father's property to husband's property." At the shows WITCHes chanted "Here come the slaves. Off to their graves." White mice were released at the New York show.
Because WITCH actions could be done with a small group and were both fun and political, they quickly spread around the country. Boston women hexed bars. DC women hexed the Presidential inauguration. Chicago women zapped everything. On January 16, 1969, eight undergraduate women at the University of Chicago hexed the chairman of the Sociology Department, which had recently fired a popular woman professor. Dressed in black with their faces painted white, they told him to "beware of the curse, the witch's curse."
Another coven soon hexed the Chicago Transit Authority at its headquarters in the Merchandise Mart to protest a fare hike. They danced around a caldron while chanting:

Witches round the circle go
to hex the causes of our woe,
We the witches now conspire
To burn CTA in freedoms' fire.

Bankers gall, politicians guile,
Daley's jowl, lackey's smile,
Trustee's toe, bondholder's liar
These we cast into our fire.

Meetings held, messages sealed
When the fare hike is revealed
We, the people, are the prey
Of the demon, CTA....

Then they were gone, before the police could drive them out.
The following Halloween (1969) the target was the trial of New Left leaders, arrested for conspiracy after protests disrupted the 1968 Democratic Convention.
Slowly, solemnly, the Witches filed around the Federal Building in Chicago's Loop, faces painted white, staring straight ahead, flowing black capes swirling around them. "Our sister justice lies chained and tied," they chanted. "We curse the ground on which she died."
The acronym came before the name, which varied with the demonstration. On Mother's Day it became Women Interested in Toppling Consumer Holidays. An action against the telephone company was organized by Women Incensed at Telephone Company Harrassment.
WITCH spurred a lot of rhymes. Women's Independent Taxpayers, Consumers and Homemakers chanted

Double, bubble, war and rubble,
When you mess with women, you'll be in trouble.
We're convicted of murder if abortion is planned.
Convicted of conspiracy if we fight for our rights.
And burned at the stake when we stand up to fight.

Like its zap actions, WITCH did not hang around. By 1970, it was gone.

Photos and Graphics of the WITCH hexes.

Please click on thumbnails to view the complete image.

WITCHes at the University of Chicago prepare for a hex.


UC W.I.T.C.H.   UC W.I.T.C.H.
UC W.I.T.C.H.   UC W.I.T.C.H.

Leaflet from the New York Bridal Fair Hex

Bridal Fair


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