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Is TikTok turning your daughter into a child-sacrificing, sexual-abusing, self-mutilating leftist witch? The Federalist thinks so

Parents, watch out! The video-based social media app TikTok isn’t just entertaining your young daughters with amateur videos featuring dancing and lip-sync and humor that will make anyone older than 25 feel very ancient indeed; it’s also, the Federalist warns, enabling kids to “‘dabble in the occult from their phones.”

In an article on the Federalist earlier this week, concerned citizen Taylor J. Anderson describes the rise of #WitchTok,a popular TikTok hashtag that has had something in the area of 20 billion views, which to be honest does sound like a lot.

Taking his cues from a recent Washington Post article about a “spellcasting … podcasting” teen witch, Anderson reports glumly that

One can find thousands of videos on potions, tea leaf and tarot card readings, pendulum boards, astral projection, magic charms, wands, crystals, automatic writing, channeling, and spellcasting. These occultic practices, which would have been much more fringe and less accessible in previous generations, are now highly accessible and even trending for Gen Z, thanks in part to the rise of postmodernism.

I’m not sure it takes “postmodernism” or TikTok to get teenagers interested in the Occult; the Ouija board, a party game disguised as a portal to the underworld, dates back to the 1890s. But it is clear that witchcraft is having a bit of a moment. As Anderson notes,

Wicca, one of the more organized of the neopagan traditions, has seen its number of adherents multiply by more than 40 times just from 1990 to 2008.

The teen witch craze has created a massive market for witchy accoutrements, among them, Anderson notes, “an abundance of crystals, pendulums, tarot cards, hoodoo oil, and even witch starter kits.” And TikTok, he argues,

is becoming the most effective virtual platform for converting young religiously frustrated individuals into liberated neopagan consumers.

Online witchcraft practitioners and the consumer sector are both paying close attention to this radical development. Parents should too.

Anderson is hardly the first commenter to point out the growing appeal of both witchcraft and #WitchTok; Wired was writing about the trend more than a year ago.

And this isn’t even the first time that The Federalist has noticed #WitchTok either: in a post earlier this month, inspired by the same WaPo teen witch profile that caught Anderson’s eye, Federalist Executive Editor Joy Pullmann tracked what she sees as “the Demonic energy behind the left’s culture war.”

Pullmann — who, you may recall, wrote a recent Federalist post seriously arguing that dying of COVID is good, actually — warns that TikTok-enabled witchcraft propaganda is helping to provide a sort of dark energy to the left’s battles for abortion and trans rights.

The WaPo article also claims that contemporary witches, mediums, and other would-be consorters with false gods and demons strongly support leftist politics. The most prominently mentioned are no surprise to anyone paying attention: child sacrifice, child mutilation, ritual self-mutilation, and sexual abuse. Or, in other words, abortion and LGBT activism. …

It’s not really a surprise that a self-described witch supports child sacrifice, although it is a bit surprising that the Post and the witch are so open about this. Why that is, let’s leave open for speculation.

Could it be … SATAN?

In one of many digressions from her overall argument, Pullmann suggests that

the use of plural pronouns for a single individual is eerie considered in light of one of the Bible’s depictions of Christ casting out demons. When addressed, that possessed man also spoke of himself in the plural: “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

Pullmann’s solution to all these “eerie” problems? We don’t have to speculate, because she says it directly: Jesus Christ.

She doesn’t mean the “meek shall inherit the earth” Jesus, but rather the “I came not to bring peace, but a sword” guy.

The left’s culture war is in fact a religious war. Among other things, that means our politics and culture are only going to get weirder and more clarifying, folks. Best get your armor on and your spiritual swords sharpened.

The debate will certainly get weirder as long as Pullmann keeps writing these unhinged rants.

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72 replies on “Is TikTok turning your daughter into a child-sacrificing, sexual-abusing, self-mutilating leftist witch? The Federalist thinks so”

I must only be imagining how all the teen girls in the 70s were into tarot and the like. Because surely many people writing for the Federalist are old enough to remember that. If not, their parents and grandparents probably wrote splenetic articles back then.

And of course Church Lady there was from the late 80s, even, based on the same sort whom Dana Carvey (b. 1955) remembered from his youth in the 60s-70s.

So it’s only taken more than my entire lifetime for the Federalist to find out about postmodernism. Not surprised.

@Lumipuna: the Sami are definitely still carrying on their shamanic stuff; my brother’s been to ceremonies in Samiland where you have to know someone very well and know the stuff to get in, then be sworn to secrecy. Not touristy at all. I’m sure all traditional religions that weren’t 100% wiped out are carrying on quietly. The Native Americans are busy reclaiming every bit of theirs they can.

@MexicanHotChocolate: (mmmm!) For some reason that passeth all understanding, I somehow got a free subscription to the dead-tree edition of “Town and Country”. My husband brought it in from the mailbox with an extremely quizzical look and said “Town and Country?” which I overlapped by proclaming “The rich bastards who’ll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.”

I much preferred the time I got a few months of Food Network magazine free; I found a couple of good recipes, and it didn’t have those damn perfume inserts.

@Lizzie: wonderful article.

You miss my point slightly. A person being cautious can get covid. That is true. But one person being cautious in a sea of people being risky will not lower the overall risk.

We get through this by putting social pressure on others to get vaccinated. Don’t go to gatherings with unvaccinated people.
We get through this by staying masked indoors at all times.
We ensure that indoor spaces are properly ventilated and have good air filtration systems.

With these precautions your risk goes down. And for the vaccinated, the risk of serious illness is very low. But it’s something we must do collectively. Right now cases are going up because people are pretending covid is gone instead of treating it as something that must be continuously managed.

And as for the flu, healthy adults can still get seriously ill from the flu. It’s maybe not as common, but it happens. And the flu is very dangerous to children, but children seem to get through covid much better than adults. So I wouldn’t necessarily say that the flu is entirely without risk.

And finally all illnesses have the possibility of having long haul symptoms. It’s just that prior to covid patients weren’t really believed.


how about this. you personally do something to cure my fertility problems and once I have a baby, we can deal with your covid fears. sound fair right? you have that power right?

I must only be imagining how all the teen girls in the 70s were into tarot and the like.

I was a seriously witchy kid in the 70s. At the age of ten, I had a box under my bed holding all my witch stuff, which included ten-cent ‘purse book’ purchased from the grocery store called Everday Witchcraft. (The 70s, man.) Back then, except for crystal balls, crystals weren’t a part of it–they were a New Age thing that crept in during, I think, the 90s. Witchcraft back then had a lot of elements of folk magic (such as making dolls called poppets) and bits of Theosophy (thought forms).

I did get in a little trouble over it–I’d written down a bunch of stuff that I’d gleaned about witchcraft, and my 4th-grade teacher was disturbed when she found my notes while was nosing around in my desk. She demanded to know where I’d learned such things. I replied, “The library.” She went quiet and never said another word about it.

@Surplus to Requirements and anyone concerned about the future of covid:

I’m really not sure there is much to be done, at this point, at least on the individual level.

During the 1918 Influenza pandemic, there were people who were very much “it’s just the damn flu, you can’t stop me from living my life because freeeedom!” It was a very different world back then, though. No internet, so there was no social or political unity; anyone taking that view stood alone, and could not easily influence others to believe the same. The police, who were even more “protect the status quo, particularly for the wealthy and powerful” than they are now, were rather unsympathetic to that view… particularly since said wealthy and powerful had less ability to protect themselves than they do now. Even with more favorable conditions to ending it, the pandemic continued well into 1919. And given that the virus was particularly deadly to young adults, idiots often didn’t survive long enough to breed (or older idiots who insisted on infecting their families had fewer/no grandchildren), making this truly darwinistic.

This situation is… not that. This is a situation where, in some countries, resisting the “tyranny” of disease prevention is considered by some to be a moral imperative. This is a situation where being reckless, and then getting a good roll of the dice, grants you a long term social and economic advantage – but if you get a bad roll, welp, the other reckless folks barely care. Those who are cautious disadvantage themselves in the long run favor of the idiots who aren’t cautious but survive, in exchange for a greater chance of their families and friends surviving. And some people don’t even have the privilege of being able to be truly cautious. It’s very much a situation of fortune favors the bold – if you ignore all the bold who fail and aren’t in any position to make that failure known, generally because they’re corpses.

There has also been a creeping divide in many countries where an increasingly liberal populace has roughly equal power and/or representation with a shrinking conservative minority, and given the typical political orientation of the reckless idiots this has only been deepening the situation. Or rather, this isn’t really true, so much as the Center has slowly been moving forward while the Right has been stuck in the early 1980s and in some respects even earlier, giving an illusion of an increasingly liberal populace. But regardless, most of the Right is now so far removed from the Center that they’re a minority with far too much power, and shrinking in number due to increased death rates, desperate to cling to power… and mostly succeeding because the Center practically allows them to do so in the name of misguided “fairness”. As I’ve said in the past, this is an unstable situation which will eventually break – either the Right will collapse, screaming “tyranny” and inflicting a lot of damage as they go, or achieve near-total domination, at least for a time. The eventual results may vary in different parts of the world.

That’s if nothing changes. The best hope so far to favorably breaking the situation is the achievement of a universal coronavirus vaccine, which medical researchers are working on, and there’s certainly a chance there. This would tip the scales more in favor of the cautious, allowing them to be less cautious while still lowering their risk. But if you’re not one of the people working on those projects, directly or indirectly? Not much you can do, other than wait and hope.

TL;DR Yes it’s unacceptable, but sometimes life means living with unacceptable things.

@ Surplus

So what are we going to do about it?

My hope is we’ll stop stoking end-of-the-world fears.

Of course we have to be careful and smart about things, but beyond that, I don’t understand who benefits from drawn-out descriptions of how the world is about to end and to avoid it we have to lynch the maskless or whatever.

I went from having been unemployed since before the pandemic started to suddenly getting a full-time job last autumn. I’d been sitting at home, wandering in the nearby blotch of forest and getting groceries every now and then, and suddenly I had to commute every day, work among people, and since part of my job has to do with kids, not everyone is even wearing a mask or has the sense to cover their mouths while coughing. It was a pretty harsh transition, and it wasn’t made easier by some people I know going on long rants about having to go to go to the corner store, where they might catch it, and how it’s irresponsible to be out at all. I’ve just had to cope with the fact that this is partially out of my hands.

I get that we’ve had an easier go of this here in Finland than in a lot of other places, but the stress is still ongoing with the mask mandates being eased off and general reopening of everything being followed by surges in case number over and over again, but I still have to go to work and the kids still cough without covering their mouths and all I can do is wear my mask and hope for the best.

@ Lumipuna

Then again, there was this administrative opinion that Wicca doesn’t have a coherent enough doctrine to teach.

I’ve been wondering about this, since in that one book I read, the coolest thing about Wicca seemed to be that it was personal or kind of crafted in the image of the group that was practicing it. In Finland, RE isn’t supposed to be denominational, so how would you teach it if there’s no holy books or such?

automatic writing

What’s he got against speech-to-text, then? First I heard of it being the Devil’s work!

@Alan Robertshaw:

“the use of plural pronouns for a single individual is eerie”

If they’re that up on The Bible then they should know about Elohim.

All I would say to the author of that theobabble is that if thou thinkest the English language hasn’t already been using plural pronouns for a single individual for at least the past several hundred years, then thou hast thy head firmly up thine own fundament.

We already use the second-person plural pronoun “you” almost universally in the singular as well as the plural. There’s no rational reason not to use the third-person plural pronoun “they” in the same way, if we choose.


We already use the second-person plural pronoun “you” almost universally in the singular as well as the plural.

Not always. Some dialects of English seem to be evolving in the direction of “you” being strictly singular and “y’all” being the second-person plural.

@Alan Robertshaw:

Non-binary mining prospector:

“There’s gold in them/their hills!”

Eh. Isn’t that usually LumiPUNa’s department?

@Big titty Demon
The “automatic writing” in question involves going into a trance and writing down alleged messages from a spirit world(/afterlife/extraterrestrial and/or extradimensional beings/the hollow Earth/etc.).

@BTD: Seriously, have you SEEN the output of the average speech to text program? All sorts of gibberish, some of which might turn out to be evil, I dunno, but it’s certainly annoying. OTOH, since demons seem to be very picky about their summoning requirements, maybe you’re safer that way or something… lost my train of thought.

All infections have the possibility of a long-haul version, but like @bumblebug said, nobody except those who had them believed in it till COVID.

@Kimstu: Yes, people who complain about singular “they” need to be forced to learn the correct usage of thee/thou/thy/thine and do that.

Some dialects are singular you, plural y’all and super-plural all y’all.

@LouCPurr: (name still checks out) I got a book about tarot, spells, etc. back then AT SCHOOL. Scholastic Book Club sold it to me. Would have given your teacher the vapors.

@GSS ex-noob:

All infections have the possibility of a long-haul version, but like @bumblebug said, nobody except those who had them believed in it till COVID.

Doesn’t that tell you something, though? It must be so rare with other infections that it gets dismissed as malingering or similarly. It must be so common with COVID that there was no denying it was really happening. Ergo, the risk of it must be enormously higher with COVID — supporting my point that COVID is really, really to be avoided at all costs.

(The only other “long haul version” of an infection I’d previously heard of, though, was chronic Lyme. Seems that might be the one with the 2nd-highest likelihood, behind COVID and ahead of everything else. Makes you wonder, though, how many poorly-understood chronic conditions might be triggered by infections that they have not gotten associated with — chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, myasthenia gravis, …)

Years ago I got bidden by an adder. After I’d been sorted I said to the doctor that presumably I was now immune to snakebites. He said, oh no, if you get bitten again it’ll be really bad.

It’s weird what can linger in your body.

And 12 years later the bite mark still hasn’t healed up.

ETA: I’m going to leave that typo cause it makes it look like the adder said ‘Alan, come hither…’


Aids and HIV are still very much a pandemic and a problem despite them showing up in the us years ago. because people still don’t get themselves tested or wear condoms when they have sex.

now in the modern day, people travel and move with one another so much more. we are connected to each other and misinformation so much more. it’s so much easier to have casual sexual encounters because of hook up apps. No, I don’t find any of this strange at all. I find this a part to blame on modern life.

You’re scared, that’s understandable. I’m scared to. I’ve been so for a long time. I have chronic bronchitis. My lungs are a lot weaker then what they should be. I get infections easier and it’s harder to fight them off with my lungs. If I get covid, there is a good chance that it will kill me. That’s why I got my covid vacs, that’s why I’m getting my booster shot next Wednesday. That’s why I wear my mask and try to take care of myself as best as I can. My mother has a autoimmune disease that attacks her lungs and she will die if she gets covid. the woman can’t really even climb stairs anymore without having to pause halfway through for 5 minutes to breath. and I mean a normal flight of stairs, not those ones where you have to climb up like 50 flights of stairs to get to the top. Everyone that I interreact with right now is covid vaccinated and I take great care when teaching my kids because all but one right now are far to young to get vaccinated. I’m scared for them everyday because they are babies who have no protection from any of this.

Despite all of this, I still live my life. I spend time with my husband and our friends. We go to restaurants, we go shopping in stores. we go to movies. We keep our distant from others, wear our mask. do the things we should. We both have a slight risk of getting it even though we are vaccinated, but you can’t let fear stop you from living your life. I can’t stop driving or getting into a car just because I’m really afraid of getting into a car crash (seriously, people in Kansas don’t know how to fucking drive).

I don’t think covid is going to go away. Its going to mutate. there are going to be new strains over and over again. Living in a republican state I don’t think a lot of people are going to get their act together and get vaccinated. Half of my family aren’t and these are intelligent, educated people. I think this is something we will have to get boosters every year for and something always to think about but it’s something to think about like in terms similar to “oh I want to sleep with this person, I don’t really know them that well or their history of health problems. Better be smart and use a condom.” type of thing. It shouldn’t be handled as hiding inside your home, never interacting with another person and slowly turning into panic attacks at the mere thought of having to go outdoors. I’m really worried about you Surplus because to me, it seems you are slipping more and more into Agoraphobia and covid is convincing you that it is a rational fear to have.


Doesn’t that tell you something, though? It must be so rare with other infections that it gets dismissed as malingering or similarly. It must be so common with COVID that there was no denying it was really happening.

I’ve noticed you have a habit of expecting others (both people and machines) to work perfectly. The fact of the matter is that doctors are people with biases and are often far from perfect. They (as a whole) did not believe patients with long haul symptoms of other diseases, not because those long haul symptoms were vanishingly rare, but rather because there was no precedent for those symptoms.

One of the unique aspects of COVID these last few years is the sheer number of people who have become seriously ill. There are very few diseases where so many people get sick at the same time. That is what has made it impossible to ignore the long haul symptoms.

As an example, let’s say some generic illness shows 100 people infected and 30 of those showed long haul symptoms. Well, 30 people is not so many and they can be pretty easily ignored. Especially because no doctor is likely to see more than one person with these symptoms. And this illness has been around for quite a while and there’s nothing in the literature that implies that long haul symptoms should exist. Those people are probably just being overly dramatic.
Now, there’s a new disease and suddenly 20,000 people are infected and 6,000 people show long haul symptoms. That’s a lot of people. More people show long haul symptoms for this new disease than even got sick with the previous one. And they’re way sicker too. Plus this is a new disease and we don’t have any idea what the symptoms are. Maybe this is super common?

The numbers I used are only slightly random in this example. There’s evidence to show that around 30% of covid patients will have long haul symptoms. I’m assuming that other illnesses behave similarly. And there were about 200 times more cases of covid in the past month than there was of the flu.

Basically what has happened is that so many people got sick with covid that it was impossible to ignore the long haul “rare” symptoms as people just being overly dramatic.

@GSS ex-noob

The original Lou C. Purr was my childhood pet, a black cat. He helped me win first place in a Halloween costume contest at my church one year: I was a witch and Louie was happy to accompany me on a leash. Yes, I even had a familiar when I was a child.

@Karalora – I didn’t mean to make fun of the idea! It’s just that the expression conjured up (ha, “conjured”) the kind of craft kits that I had when I was a kid, like how to make your own soap, tie-dye T-shirt, etc. And the idea of someone from the Federalist freaking out about this was funny.

Long haul problems? Doctors probably don’t have enough patients at any one time to personally identify a trend. But epidemiologists do – eventually. Just think about the 1918 flu. We still, even now, often have mutated versions of that flu strain being used in our annual flu shots.

More relevant to this discussion is Parkinson’s disease, Apparently, diagnoses of Parkinson’s rose by (I think) 30% during the 3 years following the “end” of the pandemic. We have no way of knowing – yet – whether Parkinson’s or any other known disease will show up as an anomaly in the longer term statistics. But we already have a pretty big call on our health and therapy and disabled accommodation resources just from what we know right now. I’m not willing to bet my house on there being some consequence like that, but I wouldn’t be inconvenienced by the price of a few lottery tickets.

And think about polio. We’d lived with polio for literally millennia, but we didn’t know about post polio syndrome until we had a large population of long-lived survivors of the disease. I doubt the consequences will snowball to avalanche level, but they could turn out to be a heavy ball and chain dragging on our economic as well as physical health for several decades.

Whoops! Significant omission.

For all those too young to have known anyone who suffered polio. Post polio syndrome doesn’t show up as a “long haul” chronic condition following the end of the actual illness. It’s a deferred consequence, not showing up for several decades. But it is chronic from then on.

@LouCPurr: Buying witchy books and having a cat who was leash-trained? Young you and young me would SO have been friends. My cat was black and white, though.

@Surplus: Pretty much anybody who knows anything (and even a lot of doctors LOL) has known for decades that chronic fatigue/ME is a viral long-haul, most often caused by mononucleosis, though other viruses are available. Really bad flu can long-haul; ever hear of Guillian-Barre? COVID is doing it. Chronic Lyme isn’t the same thing, though the symptoms overlap. Fibromyalgia has such an overlap with CFS/ME that they might be the same. (They were ignored because they mostly affect women, and… well, this site proves sexism). The article @bumblebug linked explains it pretty well. This stuff was known in the 1980s.

Herpes viruses are notorious for hanging around. Epstein-Barr (the mono virus) is really good at causing sequelae. The herpes you’re all thinking of stays in your system, as does chicken pox which comes back to give you shingles. And there are a LOT of them, like CMV, ones with numbers, and animal versions.

Post-polio is still a thing for a few 80+ people I know and love.

My husband and I both have the dreaded pre-existing conditions, but we go shopping. We go to movies (sometimes, they’re expensive!). We’ve been to restaurants. We get lots of takeout. We’re going to have Thanksgiving and Christmas just like we did last year — small immunized group. I’ve had a few immunized people over to the house and we ate takeout on the back porch. A notary came so we could sign for a refinance.

My best friend, who has chronic lung problems, went to freakin’ Disneyland for her birthday and was perfectly fine except for the wallet biopsy the Mouse House performed. Another friend has flown to other cities for rock concerts twice this year. Places where people come from all over and get up in each others’ face. But vaccines!

We wear masks, and wash our hands, and sanitize and social distance and get all the shots possible. We have specifically-chosen clothes for outside that aren’t worn around the house, on a shelf in the entry. They get washed in hot water.

The reasons you think COVID is worse are probably 4:

  1. you were unaware of all the decades of diseases/research on long-haul symptoms; those of us who were are pretty much “well, duh”.
  2. more communications are happening worldwide between doctors
  3. more people are surviving than would have even a few years ago
  4. we have social media now, which exists to scare everyone. Stop reading it, it’s bad for you, and get out of the house more

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