By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
This is part 2 of the story, the Warlock of Westborough. Part 1 can be found here –
Westborough – “In a little black cottage out of? “Hansel and Gretel” on Bowman Street near a quiet reservoir and many pine trees lives 41-year-old Ted Rabouin, high priest of New England witchcraft. He publicly announced himself 10 years ago in order to dispel the countless myths about witches throughout history.” (Beaver County Times, Jan.13, 1975)
Ted Rabouin, the Warlock of Westborough and former high priest of the Church of Wicca, gained fame on a 1970s episode of “Bewitched” when the sitcom witch, Samantha Stephens, visited Salem for a series of episodes. Rabouin appeared alongside Laurie Cabot, an American Witchcraft high priestess and the “unofficial” witch of Salem. At one point during filming Cabot said, “Ah yes, Teddy, my favorite Warlock!” bringing him instant fame.
In 1970 Rabouin wrote a cookbook titled, “Witchery in the Kitchen.” It had all sorts of recipes including ones for Devil Dogs and Love Potions; only 500 cookbooks were published. Rabouin also opened a small shop in town aptly named Witch Way, which sold all sorts of witch paraphernalia.
Throughout the 70's Rabouin purportedly practiced as a dark witch, a Warlock, diving into the sinister side of witchcraft. According to his sister, Charlotte, he would go to the woods across from his house on Bowman Street with the members of his coven and hold séances. He made a great deal of money during this time, telling fortunes and reading palms. It was not unusual to see cars lined up outside of his house and down the street.
According to Rabouin's nephew, Tony Paravano, “Sometimes he would have so many people waiting outside his house, that he would go outside and pick up certain rocks and stones along his walkway and he would “bless” them individually for each person and their specific problem.? Then, he would give him the stone, tell him what to do with it, and send them on their way.”
“Rabouin (has) exorcised two ghosts from a haunted house in Hopkinton, nearby, among others.” (Beaver County Times, Jan.13, 1975)
Rabouin was a much sought-after and interesting public speaker and a psychic who was booked for months ahead. The predictions he would make for people allegedly would come true, catapulting him to fame. During the peek of his popularity, Rabouin appeared on many radio shows and television shows including Merv Griffin, the David Frost show and the Johnny Carson show. During Halloween he would go on local radio stations and tell stories and take questions from callers.?He was a national celebrity.
As a famed clairvoyant, Rabouin was called in to help solve the Prouty-Hammond murder mystery that took place in the town of Spencer in 1899. The book “Deliver Us From Evil,?Spencer's Hidden Secret,” published in 1997, is an account of the six mysterious deaths, which took place in Spencer in 1899 and it revealed that Rabouin was called in to see if he had any “insight” into the case. The book claimed that through his “powers,” he found a gun hidden in the walls.
At the height of Rabouin's fame, in the late 70's, he began to drink heavily. One night he allegedly had an experience with the devil, which scared him so much that he stopped practicing black magic and “turned to good.”
Paravano described the incident: “One night Ted called out to Satan and denounced any doings or ties that he had to the dark arts. He told me he was sitting on his couch while he was doing this and all of a sudden, the room got very dark around him.?He told me it was in the evening so there was still a bit of light so that he could see outside the window, but from inside?the room it was as dark as midnight. He heard whispering and voices all around him, and he could hear footsteps outside of the house that sounded more like hooves than a person's feet.?The room started to fill with a dark smoke. He said that he yelled out that he was done with the Dark Arts. It was at this time that the door ignited and flew off the hinges and he saw a large dark figure through the smoke and fire. It called out to him in an unknown dialect and spoke some words. Then it was gone.?He said that was all he remembered of that night and he woke up on the floor having passed out. When he woke up he saw footprints in the dirt?that circled his entire house, but not human footprints … the hoof prints of what resembled a large goat.”
At this time, it is believed that Rabouin realized that he had chosen the wrong path and gave up his “dark” ways. Rabouin, or, as he called himself, the “White Witch,” was supposed to have started practicing good magic and helping people through fortune telling and spiritual guiding.?He even had?his house turned into the first Church of Wicca, which was noted by the commonwealth of Massachusetts.?The plaque that?he was?issued was imbedded?in a granite tombstone on his doorstep which visitors would literally have to step on to enter his house.
When Rabouin “reformed” himself and no longer practiced “dark witchcraft,” his public persona lost its allure and he encountered hard times, even losing some of his properties and most of his money. Still, he continued to read palms and tell fortunes. He did a couple of odd jobs as well, working as a janitor and at both a local grocery store and a hospital.
Rabouin passed away at home in 2004 from complications related to diabetes. He was 70 years old. His home has since been sold and torn down and a new house sits on the site.
(Photos/Courtesy of Tony Paravano)