LAYTON - Those who made it to the Black Hat Society Witches Tea, Bootique and Psychic Fair at the Courtyard Marriott in Layton on Friday may be luckier than they know.
"Mercury is in retrograde and Scorpio, so I'm surprised everyone actually made it here alive without getting into a fistfight or road rage on the way," said Angelique Collins, Head Mistress of the event.
Several psychics and tarot readers had tables set up at the event for readings. The Bootique featured everything from creepy Halloween sculptures by Arianne Moore and art by Chris Bodily to Tupperware and Scentsy displays.
Collins' event is unrelated to the Black Hat Society of Salt Lake City, which isn't unusual; there are a plethora of Black Hat Societies across the U.S. that are unrelated to each other. Collins, however, claims her family was the original Black Hat Society. She said her ancestors were responsible for bringing "the craft" to Salem, Mass., from Europe in the 1600s, and that the TV show "Dark Shadows" was based on her family.
"Several of us are actually named after characters, believe it or not," said Collins. "Those of us that were born after the '70s, obviously. So we're technically the original Black Hat Society. But this is just so people can come and be exposed to a little bit of metaphysical stuff without being offended. It's just fun."
Collins said her family has been holding psychic fairs, Bootiques and Black Hat Society Witches Teas for more than 20 years, but she recently decided to combine the three events in order to bring some of the fun and excitement of Gardner Village's Witches Night Out to Northern Utah.
"There's been such an overwhelming response to Witches Night Out in Southern Utah, but a lot of us in Northern Utah are overwhelmed at going there and having to walk a mile to get the most yummy fudge in Utah. So I decided that we would attempt to bring a part of it to Northern Utah, but with an authentic metaphysical flair," Collins explained. "We actually have some witches, some real ones and some not so real ones, here. So, it's just more fun."
Collins said she hopes that, by gently introducing people to metaphysical ideas and to paganism, people will abandon any stigmas they hold against her religion.
"I would say that we're pretty normal people," Collins said. "There are a lot of stigmas around people that are pagans. No, we don't sacrifice animals. If anything, most pagans are gearing toward veganism. We're accepting of every other religion and faith, too. But, we're just normal. We're just maybe a little more fun."
Christian Coleman, general manager of the Hive Gallery in Layton Hills Mall, was definitely having fun while dressed in a killer bee costume to represent his store.
When asked why he thought people should come to the event, Coleman said, "Because you'll be surrounded by witches and you'll meet the friendliest killer bee that you've ever met in your entire life. Plus, the Hive Gallery is here with Hat Robot by Chris Bodily which you can't beat."
Attendees may recognize psychic and medium Shiksa Yisrael, from the Ogden Farmers Market, which she has attended for the past eight years.
"I'm a tarot card reader, I'm a psychic, I'm a medium," said Yisrael. "I also do palms and pendulums, many different kinds of things. Cleansing healing, empathic healing, I try to help people work through their problems."
"I'm not actually a witch, I'm Jewish," Yisrael confided. "This is just a fun event to be a part of, and I enjoy the Halloween season. It's fun to be out and be among different cultures. It's a fun family event."
Yisreal said her own culture, Judaism, has a long history of female seers.
"Throughout Jewish history, women have traditionally been seers," Yisreal said. "Moses' sister was a seer, and the greatest judge of Israel was a woman named Deborah. So, in my religion, women can be seers, especially if they're widows, which I am. Also, Tarot is based on Hebrew. Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a corresponding card."
The Black Hat Society Witches Tea, Bootique and Psychic Fair continues until Sunday at 5 p.m. More information can be found on the event's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/184249408413714/