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Why Salem? March 16, 2009

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Why Salem?

Salem, Mass. has the unique characteristic of being a town that is at once deeply bound in Christian Roots, as many of the churches will tell you, and at the same time, have one of the most famous aspects of Christian intolerance in the world. The Salem Witch Trials were such an atrocity that they continue to resonate to this day. By the scale of atrocities, it should have been a insignificant footnote in history, but the truth is that Christians kept it going as an example of inherent threat (we kill Witches) as well as what can happen when religion triumphs over the law. Today, this has become an important legacy in Salem, and as such it has helped to breed a Witch community in Salem. Sounds nutty to many people, but it is based on the theory lightning never strikes the same place twice.  In this case the lightning is that the Salem government will never again persecute people as Witches, even if they are self-identified and confessed as Witches. This grants the most amount of protection to Witches, Wiccans, and Pagans of any city anywhere in the world. This gives a foundation unlike any other to Salem, self-proclaimed Witch City.

 

This foundation of Witchery has been built up as a Halloween Festival, as well as Spring to Summer Tourism business. This does not inherently have anything directly to do with Witchcraft and magic but it seems those elements have blended deeply to create a “The Halloween Capital of the World”. This has allowed local Witches to take a liability and a stereotype, and rework it into a position of strength, to earn income form the world’s fascination with the Witch Story. It has allowed a local community to form and provide more for their own. They have created a stable Pagan community, focused around Witch power.

So this means that people who are open and out of the closet are able to function on a much higher level here than in other places in the world. They can find they can do business without general fear of being rejected as a Witch. Witches are in fact good people to business with in Salem. This means Pagan Businesses such as Witch School could find staff and help desperately needed for it’s growth.

Currently, I am heart sick that I cannot complete moving most of my operations to Salem at this time. The fact is, that we have seen a heavy downturn in membership fees, and can not risk a all out do-or-die project. Without sufficient backing, we are having a difficult time seeing our ability to expand, or move to Salem. We can not risk losing our core, reaching for a natural dream. This is a thorn in me, and one that I will continue to work to complete.

Why do I want Salem for Witch School?

Access to Personnel, the ability to hire people that can actually work for you and not have to hide the fact you work for Witch School. With Salem State College, and 18 miles to Boston, we have access to young and experienced talent for computers, websites, and other aspects of the business. This would help in so many different ways, and the most important is site growth and integration.

Access to Talent, Magick TV is ready to go on the air seven days a week. We have the understanding of using webcasting to better effect, and we have shows we want to develop. Having a stable studio with a deep talent pool of actors, actresses, journalists, and similar skills would allow us to expand on our growing site. Doing more online classes, live lectures, and having virtually every Pagan leader pass through would be a huge boon to the community and to us personally. I want Pagan Nightly News back.

Access to Product Manufacturers, by being in Salem we will have direct access to the market place, and product creation for the Pagan community. We can tap into talent and sales people from across the board. This will allows us to share with the community more products, and through an integrated program, sell these products year round through our participating merchants program and through our site. We want to expand our “Witches Home Shopping Cauldron Show” with live interviews with all types of manufacturers, sales people, and others who want their product seen globally.

Access to a Market, by being in Salem we can be part of a local market place that is global, and of course, we are already going global as a matter of mission. This allows us to market test products to people most likely willing to buy them. The concept of lifestyle products (from makeup, personal hygiene, scents, clothing as examples) has a distinct possibility of working within the Salem market. It works in both products coming into Salem as well as products moving out of Salem. There is no question that Salem could be the hub city of a Pagan World Market. With our contacts with Europe and South Africa, we could actually organize towards a higher and more profitable marketplace within the Pagan community.

Access to Space, is one of the local primary concerns in Salem. There is not a lot of rental space for conferences and classes, and this has limited growth locally. By us opening a center we would give access to local and national groups. Already I have offers for conferences from The Witches and Wizards Festival in July, The Correllian Lustration in April, The World Congress of Tarot in 2010, and dozens more have said they are interested. I can get them to sign agreements and sell tickets once I get clear on the space, and I have had a difficult time committing to the space without more signed agreements. I love circular problems because everyone loves to offer advice that feeds even further in to circular problem.

Access to Tourist Location, is very attractive as individuals will want to come to Witch School and other Wiccan based events and properties while offering a wider tourist vacation for family members who have less interest. Even if everyone is interested in Wiccan and Witch based events, by having access to a tourist-based community it expands the number of things to do exponentially. This makes it far more comfortable to attend events. The tourist business window is much larger than just October, and can be expanded to year round offerings. Certainly the natural April through October Window offers a lot of fun and enjoyment, while assuring a solid center for year round operation.

In closing, I believe Salem would make a perfect place to have Witch School International Headquarters. I also believe that Salem offers a lot to the Pagan community overall, not just in Salem but in their local community as well. Salem being a global name offers benefits to many groups, local, national, and internationally. That we would have the place to grow substantially in both quality and quantity of offerings on the web and off the web. We would get a lot better overall.

What keeps me is a simple gap of $25,000. It does not matter if it is a loan, line of credit, purchase of services, sales of memberships, etc. My gap is to have the rent, fees, and utilities through October 2009. It’s really simple, and if I had the account to draw on, I would do this in a heartbeat. I am working everyday to make up this gap, and get this done. I am open to discussing ways to accomplish this. I am even open in taking on direct partners on a Salem Campus project. Like I said, I have a gap of $25,000., which is the difference between success and assured failure.

I believe this still can be done, and will be done. It is a matter of when, and more if then I like. Certainly, Salem will continue to mature with or without Witch School. Witch School will also develop with or without Salem, The question is do they go together?

Blessings
Ed Hubbard
CEO, Witch School International

 

The Last Week: Stimulus, Food, and Salem February 5, 2009

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Hi everyone,

Can I say that I am surprised at the speed in which society is now moving? No, I am not surprised. I would be lying at some level as we always have known that this speed up was coming. The Wiccan faith has known this, as has the larger Pagan Movement, and even the New Age Community has spoken hard and long on this. So to say it was unexpected would be unfair, and one that shows we have not paid attention. That is something that has been part of my life, the waiting for this moment. The quickening of my own life, and others around me, and it has begun in earnest.

So I guess I find it surprising at the reaction I am getting about the three lines of communication I have had over the last few weeks. The first is the Salem Project, the second the need for a food ministry, and third, the $5. Pagan Stimulus Plan. They have been ideas in which real world consequences occur from our choices or lack of choices. In this case, We are a web of people tied together by gossamer strings. What those strings are made of is yet to be seen.

Here is what I am getting echoed back, and in direct conversation. Salem is a exciting possibility, something both needed and wanted, but a high level risk with potential costly downside. To answer this, a business plan is being created with a cash flow projection for the project, to explore it further.

The Food Ministry concept has struck a deep chord, and people are responding that the need is there. They desire to serve, to help, to prepare, is all there. So this is now a question of organization, and gaining a minimal level of structured activity that can allow us to follow to success. The need for something that Mother Earth should provide, and show a strong reason to everyone why we need to protect our living world. Food is essential and a lot of people are asking what is next, and next is organization. That is something to be explored and possibly established with the help of the Witch School Volunteer Guild.

The $5. Stimulus plan was a conceptual piece. So the response has been could this work, could this get jobs, and I answered them in theory that yes this will work. Now people are changing and asking me how it would work, and I have laid out that as well. The response has changed again, how and when do we get this to work? Let me say, I want to hear a few more opinions, but this will be implemented at Rossville in the next few days as a model. We will be developing this concept, and if you want to help me build this plan, email me.

Well that is a wrap up today. Big things are just around the corner.

Blessings
Ed

Advise Needed on Salem Campus Project January 29, 2009

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Hi Everyone,

Today I sent a letter to shareholders and the Board of Directors about a opportunity in Salem. I am also sharing it with you as well, for advise:

Dear Board of Directors and Shareholders,

As part of my continued desire to be open with Witch School, and to continue to work towards being the best community builders and educators we can, I am coming to ask advise more often. This has been my promise since I took Chairman and CEO position Jan. 1st, 2009. In that vein, I have a definite neeed of advise and potential support on a project called Salem Campus.

Basically, Salem Mass. is know as Witch City and is the highest level of Wiccans in the world. Also it is the Halloween capital of the world, and does tremendous business. We have been looking at a campus for Salem as a way to teach live classes, and also add live classes by Internet Television. Last year, The Board voted on allowing me to see if we can form a subsidiary. We found an exceptional space, but in the end, I decided to walk away from it, as the economy changed. I decided that we needed to focus on the school itself, and those efforts have been paying off.

Today, I received a offer for 209R Essex Street, Salem, Mass. that gives us three months upfront free rent, and then the regular discounted rent of $3,000 a month for several years to come. This is an old children’s museum that is already at Code of the highest level in Salem and cleared by building and fire inspectors as being in code, with some very minor changes for our use. It is in many ways the perfect space. It’s a extremely tempting offer, and would allow us to do more in the area of offering more live classes.

The second aspect is there is no permanent temple space in Salem, and this is a big issue. Thousands of Wiccans live in Salem, and also ten’s of thousand visit, and they have no dedicated space. They tend to use stores, apartments, or rent the old town hall space. While Maryann and I were there in October everyone complained about this, and we see this space as a solution for local groups, Correllian’s, and visiting people to experience a real working temple that would share this space. We could offer up our rituals (and even film and broadcast them) as well as offer rental space to others.

The third aspect is that this would give space to offer more crafts and products from across the community. We can host Pagan Expo’s during the year, and as we already are moving into manufacturing, distribution, and wholesaling products, this would give us a exceptional platform to show that to potential buyers from around the world that visit.

The fourth aspect is that I have talked with most of the major authors, writers and leaders that people want to see and meet, have stated a strong interest in visiting a Salem Campus. If this proves true then we can provide classes from them both live and online, and by filming make them available to all students for years to come. Lifetime means lifetime education, and this is just one more piece.

Now, Rev. Don Lewis and I have discussed this in some detail as to his role. He would most likely, if we decide to proceed, move to Salem for this year, and manage both the school and ritual aspects. He would teach several days a week, and also be able to complete his long term project of filming the lessons for people. From Salem, with it’s deep pool of talent, and great space, he could take Magick TV to the next level.

I do believe that Salem, The Witch City, could give us a exceptional position to provide services to our members and increase our cash flow so we can provide for a stronger future. As you can see we have done a good job of providing education (Today my own class I am teaching has gone up “How to get Better Press?”) and also our interviews and filming of events has gained us a lot more acceptance in the community. This would be a big bold move.

Okay, now that I have discussed all of why we should do this, let me offer the reason I was willing to walk away before this generous offer. First I did not want to have a two-three month buildup to summer and the tourist season, which would have cost money. Second, I cannot guarantee anything; I just can go by what has happened in the past. Third, do we really need a campus? Do we really need something in a more urban area and a area so highly identified with Witches? Fourth, If we don’t do this would someone else? And in the case of three and four, I have said it would be nice, but I am not sure it is best for our shareholders and members.

If we are wrong, then this would have a drag of approx. $4,000 a month drag on us, at a time when the economy is heading towards a deep recession. If I am right, and this matches several other businesses in the area we are looking at earning of above $300,000 a year, with half of that in October.

Last, in order to do this, I will need approx. $6,000 to provide a deposit, equipment, and first few months operating expenses. I would need to take a loan (probably private as banks are not lending), sell shares, or even sell direct investment into Salem Campus at a rate of $1,000. for 1% of the business. I certainly cannot divert funds from Witch school general funds easily right now, as our memberships do not allow for that. (One reason for the current change in memberships to $19.99 yearly and $99.99). If I could sell out the lustration we could also have the money (150 People). It could be a combination thereof. I am opening to finance plans for this.

So basically I am at a crossroads, and this is probably the single most important decision I have had to make since I began Witch School. To do this may be a risk but there is risk in not doing it. In this, I could use advise from you as you are part of the Witch School Community, and in fact, the owners and stakeholders thereof.

I look forward to hearing from you and thanks for listening.

Blessings
Ed Hubbard