and compiled by George Knowles
Mauricette Wilson (nee
Arnoux) was born in Haiphong,
North Vietnam in 1928. Her parents
were French, the father
being a French naval officer stationed there in the seaport.
She first met Gerald Gardner
as a child in Haiphong and came to know him as “Uncle Gerald”. At the time Gardner was working as a customs official
for the British government, a position that allowed him to travel widely in the
area and occasionally brought him into contact with her father.
Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939, Monique was witness to the unfortunate murder of her father by Communists in the streets of Hanoi, after which she and her mother joined many other refugees and fled to the relative safety of Hong Kong, there to wait out the war. Life was tough in Hong Kong during the war, more so after the British surrendered to the Japanese on the 25th December 1941. It remained tough until the end of the war and the British reoccupied the island following the surrender of Japan on the 14th August 1945.
After the war and while still living in
Hong Kong, Monique met her future husband a Scotsman called Campbell Wilson, or
“Scotty” to all who knew him. At
the time he was serving as a Flight
Lieutenant with the Bomber
Command of the Royal Air Force
and stationed in Hong Kong.
Within months of their meeting they got engaged and soon after were
married. After leaving the service
in 1954, they returned to the UK and settled in Perth, Scotland, where Scotty went
to work for the local gas board. Three
years later they were blessed with a daughter called Yvette.
While living in Perth,
Monique became interested in the Old Religion, inspired in part by a book called
Witchcraft Today (1954) and news media articles about the book’s author
“Gerald Gardner”, dubbed
by the press as “Britain’s Chief Witch”.
Gardner was gaining
popularity in the daily tabloids, though sometimes controversially, as the owner
of a “Museum
of Witchcraft and Magic” based on the Isle of Man.
Not knowing whom the
author actually was, Monique wrote to him seeking further information about the
craft, and was surprised to find that he was the same “Uncle Gerald” she had
known as a child in Haiphong many years earlier. After renewing their friendship Gardner initiated Monique
into the craft, and later in 1961 elevated her to High Priestess.
She was given the craft name of Lady Olwen, and her husband Scotty who
acted as her High Priest was named Loic. Their
daughter Yvette although still a young a child, was also initiated and given the
craft name of Morven.
and Gerald Gardner
Gardner’s aim at the
time was to proliferate and establish working covens across the UK and Scotland,
so Monique under his guidance formed her own coven in Perth, and Gardner became
a regular visitor. Gardner showed a
lot of affection for Monique (perhaps due to their earlier relationship in
Haiphong) and often referred to her as his niece, although there was no physical
blood tie between them. She also
became one of his main spokespersons on the craft, and attracted much media
publicity. Through her association
with Gardner, the popular press dubbed her the “Queen
of the Witches”, a claim she never refuted and indeed sometimes embellished.
‘skyclad’ performing a ritual
1963 at the bequest of Gardner,
Monique and Scotty initiated Raymond Buckland
and his wife Rosemary into the craft, a momentous event in the History of
contemporary Witchcraft on two counts, one, it would prove to be the last
initiation ceremony attended by Gardner himself, and two, it paved the way for the Buckland’s to introduce the Gardnerian
tradition of Witchcraft into the United States, the effect of which Gardner
would never see. After attending
the Buckland’s initiation (their first and only physical meeting), Gardner
left the UK to vacation the winter months in the Lebanon. On his return by ship aboard
The Scottish Prince, Gardner
suffered a fatal heart attack. He
died on the 12th February 1964 and was buried the following day in
In his will, Gardner
left an estate with an estimated value of £21.688, the bulk of which he left to
Monique Wilson. This included all
the contents and artefacts of the ‘Museum
of Witchcraft’ housed in the ‘Witches Mill’ located in Castletown on the
Isle of Man. He also left her his
cottage on Malew Street, which contained almost as many artefacts as in the
museum, including his collection of swords and daggers, his other magical
working tools and objects, plus numerous notebooks, papers and other important
documents. Because Gardner and his
wife Donna never had children, or any other living heirs, copyright to all his
writings also went to Monique.
Cottage on Malew Street in Castletown.
Initially in his will,
Gardner left the ‘Witches Mill’ and all its out buildings to William
Worrall, the museums manager/caretaker, but added
the stipulation that if he didn’t wish to take it, it should then revert to
Monique, and this is what happened.
Another beneficiary of his will was Jack
Bracelin his biographer,
he bequeathed the more
commercial part of the museum “the Witches Kitchen”, a small restaurant
attached to the museum together with a grant of a £1000.
Later when the Wilson’s moved in and took over the museum, they
purchased the Kitchen from Bracelin, making the museum a more viable financial
Witches Mill in Castletown.
Other beneficiaries of
his will, which is now preserved at Sumerset House in London, were Mrs Lois
Pearson of Carlyle Avenue in St Albans, to whom he left £1000 plus his shares
and interests in Ancient Crafts Ltd, a company he had formed with Dafo in 1947
to buy a piece of land adjacent to the naturist club he frequented near St
Albans. To Mrs Edith
Woodford-Grimes (other wise known as Dafo) of
Avenue Road, Highcliffe in Hants, he left £1500.
He also bequeathed lesser amounts to two of his past High Priestesses, Doreen
Valiente and Patricia Crowther.
death and the dispersion of his will, the Wilson’s left their home in Perth,
Scotland and moved to Castletown on the Isle of Man,
taking up residence in Gardner’s old stone cottage. There they took over the running of the Museum and set about
trying to continue his work. To
this end the Wilson’s continued to generate a deal of media coverage, most of it positive, but sadly their relationship
with other leaders of the Craft (perhaps out of jealousy, Gardner having left so
much of his estate to one person???) become quite strained. Eleanor Rae
Bone was particularly adamant in
her objection to Monique’s continued use of the press inspired title “Queen
of the Witches”, as she was equally apposed to Alex Sanders and his title
"King of the Witches".
While Monique did her
best to cultivate a positive image for the Craft in the media, the press at best
is a fickle friend, and a few years later in 1969 the “News of the World”
ran a sensationalised story about the Wilson’s daughter Yvette.
It appears that neighbours
started a rumour she had been abused as a child and forced to take part in Witchcraft
Rituals. As a result of these
allegations, Yvette was placed on a special supervision order and under the
protection of a probation officer for the next three years.
Under such pressure
and circumstances, what with the press on a rampage looking for her blood, and
when most other Elders in the craft were closing ranks against her, Monique’s
situation deteriorated. As a result
she started drinking seeking solace from a bottle.
Up until this time her husband Scotty had always played second fiddle to
his wife, and supported her in all her endeavours, but seeing the effect this
combination of events had caused upon his family, decisively stepped in and
urged Monique to sell the Museum. In
1973, Scotty himself took the
lead role and began to negotiate the sale of the Witchcraft Museum to the
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not” consortium in the United States.
After the sale of the
Museum in 1973, Scotty used the proceeds to move and relocate his family to Torremolinos,
Andalucia in Spain, at the time, still a quiet and sleepy little village.
There withdrawn from any further involvement in Witchcraft, they bought a
cafe and began to rebuild their lives. Both
Monique and Scotty are believed to have passed into Summerland, sometime in the
mid-1980’s, Scotty Wilson as a result of an auto accident???
The Wilson’s were
widely condemned by the English witch community for selling off the Witchcraft
Museum and all its artefacts outside the UK.
Many had considered Gardner’s collection of artefacts, his notebooks
and other important documents, as part of England’s National Heritage, and as
the custodian of such treasures, Monique was viewed as having “sold out”, of
abusing her position and responsibilities as one of Gardner’s last High
Priestesses. As a result of her
perceived treachery, the Wilson’s became outcasts with their name forever
Despite such treatment
by witches in the UK, the Wilson’s name is much better regarded in the United
States. There the Wilson’s legacy
to furthering the aims of Gerald Gardner continues on through the efforts of
their early initiates Raymond and Rosemary Buckland.
After receiving intensive training from Monique and Scotty in 1963, the
Buckland’s were initiated and raised to High Priest and Priestess.
Before they returned home to Long Island, Gardner himself presented them
with a copy of the Gardnerian “Book of Shadows”, with which they founded the
first Gardnerian coven in the United States.
and Rosemary Buckland
This was in the early
days of the 1960s, since when the spread of the Craft movement in the United
States has been both rapid and successful. Buckland’s introduction of Gardnerian witchcraft into the
US was an inspired move, for it coincided with many other radically developing
social and political movements and an increasing interest in alternative
spiritualities. All of this helped
to ensure the popularity, spread and survival of Gardnerian Witchcraft across
the United States.
Today, there are many
differing types and traditions of Witchcraft in the US, and nearly all of them
have been influenced to some extent by the work of Gerald Gardner and other
early pioneers from the 1950’s and 60’s, Alex Sanders and Robert
Cochrane among others. It
stands to reason therefore, that if not for the Wilson’s efforts and training,
the Gardnerian influence on the Craft in the United States may never have
happened, and Craft history today could have been very different.
After the sale of the Witchcraft museum to “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” consortium, Richard and Tamarra James, founders of the Wiccan Church of Canada based in Toronto, managed to buy back the bulk of Gardner's collection in 1987. Although the collection is still not back in the UK where many believe it should be, it is now back within the Craft and available for witches and pagans everywhere to view and visit.
Encyclopedia of Modern Witchcraft and Neo-paganism - By Shelley Rabinovitch
The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft - by Rosemary Ellen Guiley
Witch Book - The
Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism - By Raymond
The Triumph of the Moon - Ronald Hutton
and compiled on the 29th May 2007 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
Wicca & Witchcraft
Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek
Mythology) / Esbats &
Full Moons / Links
to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft
Resources / What's a spell? /
Circle Casting and
Sacred Space / Pentagram
- Pentacle / Marks
of a Witch / The Witches
Power / The Witches Hat
esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism
Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1
/ Part 2 / Part
3 / A
history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope
Innocent VIII /
papal Bull /
Malleus Maleficarum /
An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum
/ The letter of approbation
Nider’s Formicarius /
Heinrich Kramer /
/ Montague Summers /
/ The Albigenses
The Hussites / The
/ Shielding (Occult
and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Rituals:
Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder. Also see: The Willow Tree (Folk Music)
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin: / Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murder by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders and Elders)
Abramelin the Mage / Agrippa / Aidan A. Kelly / Albertus Magnus “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders "the King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Amber K / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Biddy Early / Bridget Cleary / Carl Llewellyn Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christina Oakley Harrington / Damh the Bard (Dave Smith) / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Dorothy Morrison / Doreen Valiente / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake and the Order of Woodcraft Chivalry / Fiona Horne / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gerald B. Gardner / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater "Horrible Herman" / Israel Regardie / James "Cunning" Murrell / Janet Farrar & Gavin Bone / Jessie Wicker Bell “Lady Sheba” / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave (the White Fox) / John Michael Greer / John Score / Johannes Junius the Burgomaster of Bamberg / Karl von Eckartshausen / Laurie Cabot "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Marie Laveau the " Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Matthew Hopkins “The Witch-Finder General” / Max Ehrmann and the Desiderata / Monique Wilson the “Queen of the Witches” / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellers / Mrs. Grieve "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Paracelsus / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Philip Emmons Isaac Bonewits / Philip Heselton / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and "The White Goddess" /Rudolf Steiner / Rosaleen Norton “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Ross Nichols and The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids / Sabrina - The Ink Witch / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather / Thomas Ady / Vera Chapman / Victor Henry Anderson / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest
Many of the above biographies are brief and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with aditional information, please cantact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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