Cenus revealed rise in the number of 'witches' living in Mansfield and Ashfield

Fifty people in Mansfield and Ashfied identified as witches in the last census. Photo: Other
Fifty people in Mansfield and Ashfied identified as witches in the last census. Photo: Other

As we celebrate Halloween, a look at the most recent census figures shows there are a surprising number of folks who identify as witches, pagans, and even Satanists across England and Wales.

In Ashfield, 27 people selected Wicca as their religion, while 23 did in Mansfield.

The religion developed in England during the first half of the 20th century with its name deriving from the Old English 'wicca' and 'wicce', the masculine and feminine term for witch.

The number of people in Ashfield identifying as wiccan is up from 24 in the 2011 census and up from 16 in Mansfield.

Across England and Wales, over 12,800 people opted for Wicca as their religion – a slight jump from 11,800 in 2011.

Separately, the number of people selecting Witchcraft as their religion has fallen from nearly 1,300 in 2011 to under 1,100 in the recent census.

READ MORE: Hundreds flock to Mansfield’s ‘creepy carnival’ for Halloween fun

The figures show three people in Ashfield and two in Mansfield selected Witchcraft as their religion in 2021.

While the witch population has not soared, there has been a 30 per cent rise in pagans - from 56,600 people in 2011 to over 73,700 two years ago.

In Ashfield, 239 people said they were pagan, while in Mansfield the number was 161.

Halloween, which has roots in paganism, originated from the Celtic celebration of Samhain that marked the end of summer and the beginning of the winter.

Celts believed the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on this night.

Celtic priests would build bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

Eventually, the influence of Christianity spread into Celtic lands and All Soul's Day and All Saint's Day – or All-Hallows – was created.

The census figures show Satanism is also on the rise across the nations.

Nearly 5,100 people identified as Satanists in the recent census – more than doubling from 1,900 a decade prior.

Despite the name, not all Satanists believe in a literal Lucifer.

Instead, it is often a metaphor for questioning authority and rejecting mainstream religion.

In Ashfield, 15 people said they were Satanists, while 12 in Mansfield said they were.