By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Although the Warlock of Westborough, Ted Rabouin, passed away in 2004, he remains a rich part of the town's history. His home, a black cottage painted with flowers and mushrooms, which sat nestled in a wooded area on Bowman Street across from the reservoir has since been leveled and a new home has taken its place, but the stories of what went on there will be etched in the minds of many forever.
Ted grew up in Worcester with his parents and his siblings: brother, Kenny, and his sisters, Charlotte, Shirley and Polly. Unfortunately, his parents both passed away when he was just eighteen, forcing him to drop out of school to take care of his siblings. Because the responsibility of raising his family fell on Ted, he had no choice but to get a job and put his own life on hold.
When Ted was very young he was extremely religious. He even set up a Catholic altar on the dresser in his bedroom. He idolized Archbishop Fulton Sheen, and wanted to become a Catholic priest himself. But because he was homosexual, he was denied membership to the church. According to his sister Charlotte, Ted was crushed by this and turned to the Church of Wicca to practice his beliefs.
In about 1974, Ted moved to Westborough, to the little cottage on Bowman Street. An animal lover, he filled his home with many pets – his “familiars.” At one point he had more than twenty cats and two Chihuahuas. In the cottage there were cabinets full of pewter and antiques, which had been in the family for generations. Ted was creative, once painting his house to look like gingerbread. He would also paint his windows.
Tony Paravano is Ted's nephew and Charlotte's son.
“I remember looking up to see what looked to be antique-looking lace curtains on the windows, but when I got up close I could see that they were just painted on,” Tony said. “It was pretty neat.”
Paravano recalled visiting Ted every weekend when he was a child.
“My sister, Mother and I would take a ride out to Westborough to visit him and to see the animals. We loved to go over his house and play around in the woods and down by the reservoir. It was also fun to play with the cats and kittens. Ted was always my favorite uncle. Every time my sister and I would visit his house we would go home mystified.”
Paravano described his uncle as “caring, kindhearted, generous, talented and creative.” Ted was also known to have a very active and vivid imagination. He would go to great lengths to amuse his nieces and nephews. On weekend visits, Ted would take the kids into the woods across from his house to “search for the fairies of the woods.” He would tell them that if they were lucky and looked in just the right places – under fallen tree stumps or inside brush piles – they just might be able to see where the fairies lived. After running through the woods and looking under upturned stumps and beneath piles of branches, the children would look in just the right spot and discover amazing surprises.
“One time we looked under a stump and what we saw was unbelievable,” Paravano said. “There was an elaborate setup, just as if something small was living there. A tiny coffee table, little chairs and a sofa, and all sorts of other little things were all set up to look like fairies were living there. To a kid, seeing something like that was amazing. I will never forget the memory. Ted would do all of this just to get us kids to smile.”
While Ted's nieces and nephews were delighted by their eccentric uncle, many of the neighborhood children were less enchanted. David Breshnahan, in an article written in 1999 for WorldNetDaily.com, wrote about his experience growing up as a child in Westborough in the late 70's: “My friends and I used to hold our breath as we rode our bikes past the witch's house to our favorite fishing spot. We were genuinely scared to death. My friends grew older and braver. As teens they would visit the witch on a Saturday night. He entertained the local kids with seances, tarot card readings and stories.”
Despite the apprehension of neighborhood parents, the children who visited Ted's home were entertained by his colorful, intricate stories. He loved kids, and the kids who knew him, loved him as well. According to Paravano, Ted had a dizzying wit and his stories were mesmerizing.
“You could be in the room talking to him,” Paravano said, “and he could convince you that you weren's in the room talking to him.”
Ted was a colorful character who was not only entertaining but became famous as a high priest of the Church of Wicca. He became known as the Warlock of Westborough. The story of his rise to fame and subsequent fall, rival any story he told in his little cottage by the woods.
Did you know Ted Rabouin or of him? Share your stories about this very interesting man with our readers! Part 2 of this story will be published at a future date.