Many Christian parents are understandably cautious about “Hocus Pocus 2,” the Halloween-themed sequel to the popular 1993 film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. That’s understandable, considering the occultic themes prevalent throughout the film. But a recent Religion News Service article about the handling of witchcraft in the movie might add even more angst to the mix. The original “Hocus Pocus” emerged in 1993 amid the so-called “Satanic panic,” a timeframe during which allegations of satanic ritual abuse and other elements ran rampant in culture. RNS reporter Heather Greene noted the original film reflected negative cultural views on witchcraft but that the new movie takes a different approach. According to Greene, in the sequel, “Witchcraft is no longer evil.” Here’s how she summarizes the changes:
“Flash-forward 29 years. Satanic panic is ancient history and modern witchcraft has fully emerged from the proverbial broom closet, legally recognized and accepted as a spiritual path and religion. Pentacles appear on gravestones even in veterans cemeteries. Prison chaplains host Wiccan circles and satanists fight openly for religious equality. Occult practices, such as tarot, are now openly practiced by teens from all walks of life and all faiths.”
Thus, “Hocus Pocus 2” purportedly changed its tone to meet the current cultural acceptance of witchcraft. Despite these disturbing facts, the reasoning here might not be too far off. In fact, Springtide Research Institute conducted a survey last year and found 51% of 13 to 25-year-olds were engaging in fortune-telling or tarot cards. And as Faithwire has reported, even big brands like McDonald’s are diving into these sorts of practices.
Earlier this year in America, in an unfortunate infusion of occultism, customers using the McDonald’s app were able to buy a medium order of fries were given a free McDouble or McChicken and the chance to snag a tarot card reading. McDonald’s reportedly partnered with Madam Adam, a tarot card reader with expertise in astrology, to offer readings to select customers. To “win,” customers reportedly needed to go to Madam Adam’s Instagram or TikTok posts to share their Zodiac sign and name. With all this in mind, it’s really no surprise the latest “Hocus Pocus” takes a more friendly view of witchcraft, infusing it with “friendly” witches, crystals, and other flavours of the day. It’s even less surprising when we consider there’s at least one satanic-themed cartoon today.
While many use unfounded claims from the satanic panic era to dismiss worries about evil and the occult, the Bible is clear that these practices – witchcraft, tarot, fortune-telling – are very real and are to be avoided at all costs. A pleasant face is being placed on these practices today. Sadly, we’re also seeing reports of massive increases in requests for exorcism, and warnings from pastors about these practices.
“We’re stepping into this area right now. New Age practices are becoming a normal phenomenon,” Mike Signorelli, pastor of V1 Church in New York City, recently told “The Playing With Fire Podcast.” “Even secular companies are provoking people to step into the spiritual realm or to believe in the supernatural in a way that – it’s like we’re moving past atheism and we’re moving into ‘spiritual but not religious’ as a people.”
Ex-psychic Jenn Nizza is another person who has spoken out on these issues. Nizza spent years performing psychic readings and communicating with what she believed were the dead loved ones of her clients – until she had an encounter with Jesus that changed everything. “There is no good spirit talking to a psychic. They masquerade as your deceased loved ones,” Nizza said. “When it seemed like mom or dad or grandma, and you’re crying with your client … that seems good and comfortable.”
But the ex-psychic said mediums are actually convening with evil spirits.