For Immediate Release
All Zones
October 15, 2000
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Office of Marketing and Communications
Dancing Out of the Broom Closet Dispels Myths 
On Paganism and Halloween Ritual

A service for most misunderstood Pagan holiday, Samhain, also known as Halloween, will take place at Indiana University Northwest on Wednesday, October 25 at 1 p.m. in the university's Library Conference Center. Two local Pagans, will present Dancing Out of the Broom Closet, and will discuss the religion, rituals and holidays on modern Pagans, as well as conduct a service for Samhain while explaining the meaning and purpose of the ceremony. They will also briefly describe other major holidays and day-to-day religious practice.  

Both from the region, Nancy Machin and Pat Riley have come “out of the broom closet,” and have conducted religious services on Pagan holidays for the last five years. They say that Paganism is quickly growing in the United States and the kind of public education they are doing concerning their religion is necessary due to myths and misconceptions. Estimates of the number of practicing Pagans range from 200,000 to 1.5 million. There are at least 300 Pagans in Lake and Porter counties. The numbers, say Machin and Riley, are probably low as many Pagans are afraid to tell anyone about their religious practices     

“Ignorance breeds ignorance and ridicule,” says Dr. Tanice Foltz, sociologist and director of the Women’s Study Center at IU Northwest. “This presentation should help dispel much of the ignorance people hold toward Paganism.”

The Dancing Out of the Broom Closet presentation will be in the campus Library Conference Center and is open to the community free of charge. A part of IU Northwest’s yearlong Diversity Programming sponsored by the Chancellor’s Office, more information is with Dr. Foltz at 219-980-6786.

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