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Something Wicked in Wilkes-Barre
September 21, 2004 6:41 AM   Subscribe

"Witches are trying to kill me." Standing on his porch dressed in warm-up pants, a T-shirt and a sweat-stained army cap, Jake Jenkins explains Luzerne County is the location of the largest witches coven in the state .... "You have the witches that want to play at it, and then you have the real serious bastards, deadly," he said.
posted by grabbingsand (52 comments total)

 
No,no, no!
He means these witches!
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:59 AM on September 21, 2004


I'm not so much concerned about the silly beliefs of crackpots as I am about the fact that they seem to breed so much. Eight kids! I'm also mildly curious of a single subject this simp would be qualified to "home school". I picture a "civics" class centered around the Rush Limbaugh show.
posted by RavinDave at 7:04 AM on September 21, 2004


Jenkins, 51, and his wife spend much of their time hunkered down in their two-story home along with their eight children ranging in ages from 22 years to 1.

He said he home-schools his children.

"I'm no fool."



Wow, that guy sounds like a real piece of work. It would be nice to hear that the authorites, pending investigation into his credentials, get the kids back into school. Sounds like some time away from whacko dad would be a good thing.
posted by a3matrix at 7:09 AM on September 21, 2004


Here in Massachusetts, we used to have a big problem with witches. We killed a few, and now there aren't any.

There are pretenders, sure. But an enormous goth chick can't really turn you into a newt just because she hates her parents and owns a tarot deck.

There's one in particular nearby who drives a rotted-out subaru with a "Goddess Bless" bumper sticker. But I know she's a faker because I saw her dropping off dry cleaning (seriously) and I know that real witches are afraid of solvents. I asked the cop on my street to get all Giles Corey on her ass, just so that we wouldn't have so much pretentiousness 'round here. But I think he's afraid that she'd split open and make a mess once we started piling up the rocks.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:11 AM on September 21, 2004


Now he is worried he is being portrayed "like I'm crazy."
posted by geekyguy at 7:24 AM on September 21, 2004


"Yeah," Gene said with a grin. "I live with one," he added, nudging his wife.

time to add another stake to the ole stump.
posted by th3ph17 at 7:26 AM on September 21, 2004


California has a solution to messy sorts of social problems like this :


posted by troutfishing at 7:28 AM on September 21, 2004


From geekyguy's link: "As of Thursday afternoon, no one had asked the agency to investigate Jenkins, he said."

I am sure someone here could fix that.
posted by mischief at 7:30 AM on September 21, 2004


A man who spoke about his fear of witches says he's concerned his comments will prompt the county's child-welfare agency to conduct an unwarranted investigation of his family.

Runs to dictionary......unwarrantable, unwarrantably...here it is, unwarranted.

No, according to Webster (and any sane human being on the fucking planet), this would not be an unwarranted investigation.
posted by m@ at 7:31 AM on September 21, 2004


It could be witches
Some evil witches
Which is ridiculous 'cause witches they were
Persecuted Wicca good and love the earth and
Women power and
I'll be over here


I couldn't help it. . sorry
posted by Danf at 7:33 AM on September 21, 2004


It could be bunnies.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:36 AM on September 21, 2004


Or maybe midgets
posted by Danf at 7:36 AM on September 21, 2004


BEDEMIR: What makes you think she is a witch?
VILLAGER #3: Well, she turned me into a newt.
BEDEMIR: A newt?
VILLAGER #3: I got better.
VILLAGER #2: Burn her anyway!
CROWD: Burn! Burn her!
posted by caddis at 7:46 AM on September 21, 2004


Asked if Jenkins was registered with the district as a home-schooling parent, Namey said he didn't know but would check.

He said records of police responses to the South Wilkes-Barre street would be available today

Fire Chief Jacob Lisman said the individual in charge of the investigation was away vacation wednesday and more information might be available today


A very tiresome example of 21st century journalism: report on something without bothering to do any backround checks. Was it really necessary to publish this story today, or could it have waited a day for more information to be gathered? It hardly seems like Jake Jenkin's witch-phobias are time sensitive.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:05 AM on September 21, 2004


Now I'm going to be under investigation because the story makes me sound like a lunatic.

Dude, if the straightjacket fits ...
posted by moonbiter at 8:08 AM on September 21, 2004


Ahhhh Pennsylvania - Somehow, it escaped the pop-culture derision that places like Jersey, Florida, West Virginia and some of the deep-south states seem to inspire, but let me tell you, this guy is closer to the Keystone state norm than you might imagine.
posted by jalexei at 8:09 AM on September 21, 2004


Gravy, I prefer the story the way it is. The answers to those questions would just distract from the wackiness of his witch phobia.
posted by caddis at 8:09 AM on September 21, 2004


let me tell you, this guy is closer to the Keystone state norm than you might imagine

And you wonder why W is gaining in the Keystone state over Kerry. . .
posted by caddis at 8:10 AM on September 21, 2004


> "I'm no fool."

Of course not, sir. That is why I'm willing to give you a discount on witch insurance.


Seriously, I dont know whats worse, this new-age witch crap or Xtians who see it as a threat.
posted by skallas at 8:19 AM on September 21, 2004


As someone who was homeschooled for a few years, I'll vouch for the fact that most states impose mandatory testing to make sure the kids are up to snuff. So if Jenkins is actually doing an OK job learnin' his young'uns, the test scores will show it.
posted by Happydaz at 8:23 AM on September 21, 2004


Seriously, I dont know whats worse, this new-age witch crap or Xtians who see it as a threat.

The new-age witch crap is worse because it's pretentious. The christians are at least funny.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:26 AM on September 21, 2004


It hardly seems like Jake Jenkin's witch-phobias are time sensitive.

I dunno. I used to live upstairs from a guy who would periodically burst out shouting (really loud) "I AM THE WAY! I AM THE WAY AND THE LIGHT! EAT ME!"

He kept all his windows covered with black plastic. The management company maintenance guys were afraid to knock on his door (and *those* were some tough looking hombres). When the building inspector finally made them, they found a huge pile of un-opened newspapers against the wall, "big enough to hide a body under." "And the smell..."

He was an EMT who worked third shift, and drove a big old Crown Vic (nice big trunks...). Except, well, he wasn't working, for a long time, and he would still go out at about 1:30 and come back around 6 or 7 in the morning. The girl who lived across the hall from him said she used to hear him come in late at night with another guy, saying "really lewd, disgusting stuff". (She lived below me on the other side -- I had a big apartment -- and from what I used to hear through the floor, I think her standards for "lewd and disgusting" were probably pretty stiff. Nice person, though...)

I counted the days 'til I got out of there. And checked the headlines every day for a solid month to see if he'd cracked?

Time sensitive? Maybe not.
posted by lodurr at 8:29 AM on September 21, 2004


Ahhhh Pennsylvania - Somehow, it escaped the pop-culture derision that places like Jersey, Florida, West Virginia and some of the deep-south states seem to inspire, but let me tell you, this guy is closer to the Keystone state norm than you might imagine.

I think it was James Carville (I could be wrong), but somewhere I saw someone refer to Pennsylvania as "Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama stuffed between them."
posted by stifford at 8:30 AM on September 21, 2004


The quote appears in Slate's most recent installment in its swing state series, which I bet is where you saw it. That author attributes it to Carville.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:50 AM on September 21, 2004


Isn't this area (the northeast corner of Pennsylvania) the creepy woods where M. Night Shymalan built and filmed The Village? Apropos of absolutely nothing but a pop culture linkage, of course...
posted by JollyWanker at 8:54 AM on September 21, 2004


I think I had actually saw Carville bust that line out on TV a while back (but thanks for the Slate link...).
posted by stifford at 9:00 AM on September 21, 2004


I used to live in a lovely old apartment building in Montreal. My apartment was next door to that of a mysterious old lady. She was rarely seen, but when she did appear she would always be dressed entirely in black: black crepe old-fashioned dress, black shoes, black hat. Stark white make-up. She looked to be in her mid-eighties. We of course called her "The Witch".

One day I arrived home to find some movers carrying old furniture out the front door, and discovered the stairwell to be ankle deep in small pieces of paper. I picked a few up and found that they mostly seemed to date from the thirties and forties, and several of the ones I saw were invitations to society balls, back when Montreal must have had these things. I guess the witch used to be somebody.

The superindentant was standing by her door looking very excited when I reached my apartment at the top of the stairs. I asked him what was going on. He said he had been called into the apartment the day before for some trivial matter, and discovered that it was pitch black inside and he couldn't turn on the lights because all the bulbs had been unscrewed. He went to fetch a flashlight and when he returned (this is better in my bad French Canadian accent but anyway), "I go inside den I turn on da' flashlight. Da' wall, it's black, then it's white."

It turned out the walls were swarming with cockroaches, who were fleeing the first light they'd probably seen in their entire roach lives. The witch lady had put aluminum foil over all the windows, as well as unscrewing all the light bulbs to give her little pets the comfort they deserved. She had set up little mating chambers, including food, to enhance their breeding. The super said he'd never seen anything so disgusting and creepy.

My apartment, by the way, had always had a severe cockroach problem: they would fumigate and the roaches would return immediately. Mystery solved on that front, I guess. But let that be a lesson to you MeFi smarty pants naysayers who think witches are harmless.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:07 AM on September 21, 2004 [1 favorite]


This stuff about witches sounds like bunk. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's almost time for Festival and I must bow to the will of Landru...
posted by alumshubby at 9:39 AM on September 21, 2004


I hope the homeschooling verification test includes Witch-Burning 101, How to Tell If You've Been Cursed, and Which Witch is Which?
posted by GaelFC at 9:40 AM on September 21, 2004


Cthulhu kicks witch ass.
posted by troutfishing at 9:52 AM on September 21, 2004


I think it was James Carville

I'd heard Stephanopoulos, so I googled various permutations. Here is one which is attributed variously to Carville, Tim Russert, some Senator, a Gore campaign staffer, and some guy's brother:

"Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh on one end, Philadelphia on the other, and Alabama in between," or similar.
posted by callmejay at 10:05 AM on September 21, 2004


"Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh on one end, Philadelphia on the other, and Alabama in between"

I first heard that when I was at Penn State in the late 70s.
It's true, too.
posted by mischief at 10:18 AM on September 21, 2004


But I know she's a faker because I saw her dropping off dry cleaning (seriously) and I know that real witches are afraid of solvents.

Mayor Curley: Ha!
posted by Hildago at 10:19 AM on September 21, 2004


My hometown! Yep, absolutely full of witches.

(Other facts about Wilkes-Barre: it has the highest ratio of funeral homes per capita in the US. Also near the Pocono Mountains, home of the cheesy heart-shaped hot tub and honeymoon capitol of the world!)
posted by onlyconnect at 10:20 AM on September 21, 2004


"Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama stuffed between them."

Time to trot out that Al Gore stump speech in Altoona from 2000 again. Excerpt:

"Every second I spend in this dark and evil state is sheer agony," he said. "A second feels like a week in the presence of you monstrous non-people. I would have left Pennsylvania long ago, but I wanted every last one of you grubby, ass-faced animals to realize exactly where you stand in the food chain. You are not a part of that chain. You exist outside of the human community, and when I am in the White House, I will make sure that the whole nation--indeed, the world--understands that fact with no ambiguity. I will not represent you. I will not defend you. I will allow and even invite any nation to invade and destroy this horrible graveyard of the soul. To hell with all of you, and good riddance."
posted by psmealey at 10:31 AM on September 21, 2004


I believe the term is Pennsyltucky...They filmed a lot of the village in southeastern pa near the delaware border. I know because all of the girls i know wanted to go see Joaquin Phoenix.
posted by Cool Alex at 10:50 AM on September 21, 2004


turtles all the way down that is both freaky and completely fascinating, and the image of you standing ankle deep in ancient dance cards is absolutely compelling. You have no idea how badly I want to steal that image and put it in a screenplay, wow. (Well, okay, I guess now you do. Thank you for sharing!)
posted by headspace at 10:55 AM on September 21, 2004


headspace: It's yours!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:09 AM on September 21, 2004


"One thing I never could stand about livin' in Santa Carla: All the god-damn vampires."
posted by lodurr at 11:35 AM on September 21, 2004


Pennsylvania has the lowest outmigration rate of any state in the union. That means it has the highest number of people live and die in the state where they were born.
posted by Faze at 11:39 AM on September 21, 2004


Cthulhu kicks witch ass

Eats, trout. Eats. Cthulhu eats witch ass. And witch toe, and witch lung, and delicious witch mind.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:43 AM on September 21, 2004


Pennsylvania has the lowest outmigration rate of any state in the union. That means it has the highest number of people live and die in the state where they were born.

See? They're all too stupid to find a way out!

(Raised in Pittsburgh, spent three years in Reading.)
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:56 AM on September 21, 2004


No-one else going to get picky about the appropriate use of the words Wicca and Wiccan?

Ah well ... me neither, then.
posted by devbrain at 12:04 PM on September 21, 2004


As much as I'm always up for a good round of mock the religious people, this doesn't really sound like a case of a fundamentalist Christian getting wacko about alternative religions -- it sounds like your basic delusion to me. He doesn't talk about religion, just that people (including his brother) are trying to get him. He's clearly paranoid and ill, and it's terribly sad that it's not only deeply affecting his own life, but those of his family as well. Not to be a spoilsport, but mocking the mentally ill is just not as much fun.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 12:07 PM on September 21, 2004


I'm just glad he's barracaded in his house instead of out in public somewhere.
posted by glenwood at 12:30 PM on September 21, 2004


See? They're all too stupid to find a way out!

No, they found the way out. Now they're just waiting for PennDOT to finish working on it.

(Raised in Altoona. Keystone pride, yinz Bitches.)
posted by eatitlive at 12:33 PM on September 21, 2004


...mocking the mentally ill is just not as much fun.

Says you!
posted by prodigalsun at 1:10 PM on September 21, 2004


But wouldn't it be freaky, in the Baron Munchausen kind of way, if it turned out he was telling the truth? What if there really are a bunch of witches trying to get him (ala Horror Hotel) and that crazy-ass stump in his front yard is the only thing keeping him safe?
posted by footballrabi at 2:28 PM on September 21, 2004


"mocking the mentally ill is just not as much fun"

That's ok; I don't mind. You may mock us all you want.
posted by mischief at 2:47 PM on September 21, 2004


Oh, I'll mock you mischief. You're special. ::kisses::
posted by LittleMissCranky at 3:56 PM on September 21, 2004


Aw, shucks!
posted by mischief at 4:31 PM on September 21, 2004


"I'm no fool". Disney code-words. Few remember the infamous Jiminy Cricket "I'm no fool" movies that indoctrinated an entire generation of elementary school children.

I'm no fool, no siree,
I'm gonna live to be a hundred and three,
I play safe for you and me,
'Cause I'm no fool.

posted by kablam at 8:57 PM on September 21, 2004


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