Raymond Howard

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For Raymond Howard who disappeared in Arkansas in 1997, see Lela and Raymond Howard.

Raymond Howard was an English Witch and an early figure in the history of the neopagan religion of Wicca. Howard propagated the tradition focused around the Horned God known as Atho, which had originated with Charles Cardell.

Howard and his wife had initially been friends of Cardell, but Howard fell out with the Cardells, and soon divorced from his wife. He then moved to Field Dalling in Norfolk where he opened an antiques shop though he also had a second home in Cornwall.

Doreen Valiente's painting of the head of Atho.

He had in his possession a carved wooden head of the Horned God, which he called Atho. It was approximately 3 feet tall and was decorated with gold, silver and gemstones. He claimed that it had been given to him by an elderly Romany gypsy called Alicia Franch who had initiated him into the witch cult. It was proved a fake however, when, in July 2008, his son Peter confirmed to researcher Melissa Seims that he had witnessed his father producing the statue. An article in the Eastern Daily Press from March 6 1967, stated that laboratory examination had shown the statue to be carved of English Oak around 2200 years ago, and it also described it thus:

It is hollow and has many witchcraft symbols carved on it... When a small crucible of water with a lighted candle under it, is placed in the back of the head, the result is awe-inspiring. The red glass eyes of the head light up and steam emits from the tips of the horns... The late Donald Campbell, who used to visit Mr Howard, when he lived in Norwood Hill, Surrey, was interested in the occult and touched the wooden head for luck before his successful attempt on the world land speed record.

Only a month after the newspaper report, in April 1967, the head was stolen from Howard's shop, and was the only item taken in the robbery. It has never been recovered.

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