A sticky situation?

I admit it, I’m an addict of odd news stories. I just love reading things that are slightly outside the norm. It probably started when I got the oh-so-fun assignment of researching stupid crook stories for one of the magazines I used to work for. And yes, Snopes is one of my favorite bookmarks.

A brief of the news story:

LEBANON, Ind. (AP) – A woman accidentally stabbed herself in the foot with a 3-foot-long sword while performing a Wiccan good luck ritual at a central Indiana cemetery.

Katherine Gunther, 36, of Lebanon, pierced her left foot with the sword while performing the rite at Oak Hill Cemetery, police said.

Gunther said she was performing the ceremony to give thanks for a recent run of good luck. The ceremony involves the use of candles, incense and driving swords into the ground during the full moon.

Gunther said she was aiming to put the sword in the ground, but hit her foot instead.

“It wasn’t the first time I performed the ritual, but it was the first time I put a sword through my foot,” she said.

Gunther immediately pulled the sword out of her foot, and her companions took her to Witham Memorial Hospital, where she was kept a couple days for treatment, suffering a compound fracture.

No charges were filed, police said. The Wiccans were warned that being in the cemetery in the city about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis after posted visiting hours constitutes trespassing.

Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons.

Now, ummm… well. Wow. The moment I read this I knew I had to post on it… But my brain went in so many different directions!

First, I started searching for more details on the incident. Guess what I found? Several Christian sites quoting the event and wondering if perhaps the devil was trying to tell the hapless witch something. Nice. Yeah. Well, perhaps god was trying to tell something to that pastor who decided to use a dirt bike to illustrate his sermon and then drove it off the platform, breaking his wrist?

Or perhaps we should stop trying to ascribe deeper spiritual significance to things that are simply part of the human condition – like screwing up your aim with a three foot long blade, or having a complete and utter brainless moment thinking that riding a dirt bike around on an indoor platform sounds cool.

Meanwhile, a part of me wondered, “hmmm, if this had happened during something other than a Wiccan ritual, it wouldn’t have even been news…” And I spent quite a bit of time trying to come up with a reasonable analogy. Let’s see, if this were a Christian event, and in the process of doing an illustrated sermon on the armor of god, they managed to… And the more I thought about it, the sillier it became. While I could easily imagine any number of non-Pagan groups doing incredibly silly things and the resulting injuries, I finally realized that the issue here wasn’t necessarily the slip up and the injury itself. Like real estate, it’s all about location, location, location.

Had our intrepid heroine been celebrating her good fortune in her back yard, or on the beach, or the mountains, or any other outdoorsy kind of place, this probably would never have made the news. It was the fact that this group of celebrants was in a cemetery, after hours no less, that made it newsworthy. The fact that the celebration is practiced during the full moon just makes it even more attractive, but again, had this happened in a more mundane location, I doubt anyone would have thought much of it, and darling Katherine could have lived out the rest of her life without this particular 15 minutes of fame.