Decades ago when I first started awkwardly hanging around metaphysical conventions, I would often find myself, at some point, retreating to a quiet area in order to read the strange books and pamphlets I had acquired from the event’s participants. At those events, although filled with curiously thinking individuals, I seemed, as a teenage punk with blue hair and a jacket covered in spikes, to feel even stranger and more curious than those who were taking aura photographs, performing energy healings and retelling their encounters with spirits, angels and extraterrestrials.
At one of these conventions is where I first met Marion.
Though that first meeting’s conversation has been lost to the mists of time I remember her approaching me as I silently read a book on a hotel lobby couch. She looked like someone my mother would invite over for a Tupperware party. She sat down across from me, smiled, and said something to the effect of, “With all those spikes on your clothes you must not want anyone to come near you?” I’m fairly sure I rolled my eyes.
What I do remember about that conversation was a gradual breakdown of my self-created defenses. She laughed and made me laugh, told me the goofiest of ghost stories and jotted down a list of items I would need if I ever wanted to do to try some witchcraft.
I didn’t realize it then but I had just made friends with Michigan’s Good Green Witch… Gundella.
Marion Clark was born in Tawas, Michigan in 1930 and although I could never quite get the story straight she unwound a tale of her lineage descending from the Green Witches of Scotland. She often said she was initiated into a coven in Northern Michigan when she was a young girl. As far as I can remember she moved into the lower parts of Michigan around the age of 18. At some point she claimed the name “Gundella,” and from that point forward Michigan had a witch.
Marion was a schoolteacher, lecturer, and author who collected strange tales of Michigan and its allegedly ghostly residents. She appeared on radio and television and also wrote “witchy” columns for The Observer-Eccentric newspapers, The Detroit Free Press, and The Detroit News. Her articles and books explored the legends behind Michigan’s paranormal/supernatural history as well as recipes and magick spells. Her two books “The Werewolf of Grosse Pointe and Other Stories” and “Michigan Haunts and Hauntings” were filled with legends, old and new, told with Marion’s quick, bright and insightful charm. I have told people over the years that Marion was a great storyteller and a fabulous witch but a fairly poor researcher so if you do read those books be prepared for some factual mistakes.
As far as I can remember I only really had a half dozen interactions with Marion over the years but some of those memories are kookiest I have. One time she smeared green dye on my forehead and told me that my brain was now “attuned to the unseen world of the forests.” She was always generous to anyone who had a story to tell and never, at least while I was around, showed an ounce of hatred toward any living thing.
Marion died in 1993 at the age of 63. According to sources familiar with Marion’s final wishes she was to be cremated and then her ashes were to be put in an “old mayonnaise jar” and to tell people “it has a sentimental value”.
I met Marion in 1988, she told me strange tales of stranger worlds; five years later she made the journey into those realms where I’m sure she is still telling weird stories and perhaps laughing at the ones we might be telling about her.
Marion also released a record album containing spells for everyone.
but if you’d like a copy on vinyl then Modern Harmonic released a repressing which is available by clicking here.