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Sybil Leek

Sybil Leek
Born (1917-02-22)22 February 1917
Normacot, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Died 26 October 1982(1982-10-26) (aged 65)
Residence England, later United States
Nationality English
Occupation Witch, antiques dealer, author, television personality

Sybil Leek (22 February 1917 – 26 October 1982) was an English witch, astrologer, occult author and self-proclaimed psychic. She wrote many books on occult and esoteric subjects. She was dubbed "Britain's most famous witch" by the BBC.[citation needed]

Because she rose to media fame in the 1950s, after the repeal of the 1735 Witchcraft Act in 1951, she had an effect upon the formation of neopagan witchcraft, mainly the religion of Wicca.[citation needed][1]

Early life

Sybil Leek was born on 22 February 1917 in the village of Normacot in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England to a well-to-do family. Sybil claimed to have a long family history of witchcraft which she traced back to the 16th century and to her ancestor Molly Leigh, who had been accused during the witch hunts.

Sybil's family played host to some very scholarly characters. H. G. Wells, Sybil and her father used to take long walks discussing metaphysics. Sybil Leek claimed she knew Aleister Crowley, stating that he was a family friend and he had told her family that Leek would be his successor.

Marriage and France

Sybil met a prominent concert pianist who became her music teacher, and she married him when she was 16. He died two years later, and stricken with grief Sybil returned home to her grandmother's house. After a claimed sojourn in France, she returned to England. For a short while she stayed with an acquaintance in Lyndhurst, in the New Forest, but found the lifestyle there tiresome and decided to run away.


When she was 20, Sybil returned to her family, who had now moved to the edge of the New Forest. She then opened three antique shops; one in Ringwood, one in Somerset, and one in the heart of the New Forest in Burley. She then moved to Burley herself, into a house behind the shop Lawfords of Burley.

However, her open attitude about being a witch caused problems, too. Media interest grew, and Sybil found herself being pestered by news reporters and tourists, who travelled to Burley and would turn up on her doorstep, day and night. Although the village itself thrived on the extra tourism and visitors, some people were not so happy about the extra traffic and noise being caused. Her landlord eventually asked her to move out.

United States

When Leek moved to America, she became an astrologer, describing astrology as her "first love".[2] In April 1964, an American publishing house wanted Sybil to speak about her new book A Shop in the High Street, and she was invited to appear on "To Tell the Truth" a TV programme in the States. She took the opportunity to go, and flew to New York City, where she gave many interviews. While in New York, she was contacted by Hans Holzer, a parapsychologist, who invited her to join him investigating hauntings and psychic phenomena. They went on to do numerous TV and radio programmes on the subject.

She then moved to Los Angeles, where she met Dr. Israel Regardie, an authority on Kabbalah and ritual magic.


Strong in the defence of her beliefs, Sybil sometimes differed and even quarrelled with other witches. She disapproved of nudity in rituals, a requirement in some traditions, and was strongly against the use of drugs, but she was at odds with most other witches in that she did believe in cursing.

Her student Christine Jones admitted that Leek "mixed truths with untruths liberally, causing great harm as she went."[3]


She died at her Melbourne Beach, Florida home on 26 October 1982.


Leek, Sybil, Diary of a Witch (Prentice-Hall, 1968).

  1. Complete Art of Witchcraft (1 March 1973, New American Library
  2. Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Judika Iles, p746
  3. Jones 2010, p. 121.


External links

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