Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three Credits 'Magick' with Prison Release

August 17, 2018
By: Christine Colby

Related To:

Damien Echols was convicted, at 18 years old, along with fellow teenagers Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, of the May 5, 1993, murders of eight-year-olds Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers in West Memphis, Arkansas. Echols served 18 years on Death Row. The three men were released on August 19, 2011, after taking an Alford Plea.

In the face of a complete lack of physical evidence linking the three teenagers to the crime, they were convicted, many believe wrongly, largely because of Echols’ interest in heavy metal music, black clothes, and alternative religions such as Wicca.

While being grilled about his faith and occult interests during his trial, he never attempted to downplay his religious studies and instead calmly explained to the jury what Wicca is. Echols freely admitted to being a Wiccan and to be interested in and researching witchcraft, but all three accused denied being members of a Satanic cult, and denied committing the murders.

That jury, perhaps taken in by the testimony of “occult expert” Dale Griffis and his insistence on the Satanic influence on the slaying of the boys, and unable or unwilling to differentiate nature religions and mysticism from black magick or Satanism, were taken in by the Satanic ritual theory of the crime.

Echols has always maintained his innocence of the murders, but at the same time, has continued his study of occult spiritual practices and magick. In fact, he credits these disciplines with keeping him sane and saving his life while incarcerated.

Since he’s been a free man, Echols has been taking his love of magick to the next level and creating art, video, blog posts, and classes about the subject. He maintains a Patreon, through which members can access videos of tarot readings, exclusive writings, art work, and personal phone calls from Echols.

In January 2018, Echols had an art opening at New York City’s Last Rites, where he exhibited paintings of talismans that he described as “divine batteries” that hold energy and prayers, and are charged with the energy of archangels. But in June 2018, Echols announced that he will no longer be making art, citing a lack of fulfillment with the art world.

Echols has written a guide to his magickal practice in book form, which is slated for release on October 30. In High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life On Death Row, Echols shares his meditation and energy-working methods that he learned and practiced in prison. “I spent my years in prison training to be a true magician. I used magick — the practice of reshaping reality through our intention and will — to stave off incredible pain, despair, and isolation,” he says.

He believes that by repeated meditations and rituals done with the goal of his release from prison, that he was able to change his situation and walk free. “The most amazing feat of all that practice and study was to manifest my freedom,” he writes.

He elaborates: “My wife and I began a particular practice to get me off Death Row. We each repeated a version of the following affirmation at least once every day:

May I be home, free from prison, living happily with my Lorri. May it come about in a way that brings harm to none and is for the good of all. And in no way let this reverse or bring upon me or my loved ones any curse.

“We concentrated on this outcome every single day, without fail. And within one year of starting this practice, I walked off of Death Row.”

While some of the book offers an introduction to the concept of high magick and some personal anecdotes and thoughts from Echols, the majority of the pages are filled with instructions for meditations and rituals. He covers breathing techniques, visualization, and protection spells. He also introduces “angel magick,” and claims that “angels are the easiest forms of entities to work with.” Specifically referring to archangels Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel, Echols explains that, “When I leave my house to walk down the streets of New York City, the first thing I do is evoke the Seraphim — angels of fire — and ask them to protect me. And I have absolute faith that they will do so.”

He has been teaching classes in ceremonial magick, and recently held one at Brooklyn Bowl on August 9 called “Introduction to High Magick,” with a $150 admission price. The class, “90 minutes of interactive dialogue about magick and basic practices in an intimate group setting,” was advertised to “help you manifest the life you want.”

Echols will soon be embarking on a book tour, during which he will be leaving consecrated ritual talismans in secrets spots around each city he visits.

He has also recently announced that he has begun working on his next book already, which will be entitled Angel Magick.

In addition to sharing his magickal knowledge, Echols has also created his own custom blend of coffee through Dead Sled Coffee. He named it Tzadkiel, after an archangel who represents freedom, benevelonce, and mercy.

For more on Damien Echols, watch the “West Memphis Three” episode of Investigation Discovery’s True Crime With Aphrodite Jones on ID GO now!

Watch Now:

Main photos: Damien Echols [Wikipedia]; High Magick cover art [Sounds True]

Next Up

How West Memphis Three Case, Damien Echols Inspired ‘Stranger Things’ Character

The show’s executive producer says exploring 1980s “satanic panic” led to the creation of “true nerd at heart” Eddie Munson.

The Twists And Turns Of The Infamous Susan Smith Case

On October 25, 1994, the 23-year-old South Carolina mother drowned her two young children.

Navajo Nation Girl Assaulted, Killed After Man Kidnapped Her While She Was Playing

Tom Begaye Jr. left the 11-year-old child to die in the desert after “repeatedly hitting her on the head and face with a tire iron.”

How The Abduction And Murder Of A 9-Year-Old Led To The AMBER Alert System

The AMBER alert system first debuted in 1996 as a collaboration between news media and police in Arlington, Texas. Named for Amber Hagerman, the alerts have helped find more than 1,000 abducted children.

True Crime News Roundup: Alabama Corrections Officer Vanishes With Her Inmate Boyfriend

Plus: Dead Louisiana woman found fused to sofa; JonBenét Ramsey’s father seeks governor’s help with DNA testing; Australian man incarcerated for killing gay American in 1988; and Pennsylvania mother shoots her two boys in the head.

5 Things to Know About The 1955 Murder Of Emmett Till

The Black teenager was murdered by two white men in Money, Mississippi, in August 1955 after a white woman accused him of making a pass at her in a grocery store.

More Than Half A Century After His Assassination, Dr. King’s Legacy Lives On

On April 4, 1968, James Earl Ray shot and killed the civil rights leader while he stood on the balcony of his Memphis motel room.

Inside The 27-Year Investigation Of JonBenét Ramsey’s Murder

On Dec. 26, 1996, the pageant princess was found strangled to death in her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado.

UPDATE: Fugitive Leticia Smith from ‘In Pursuit With John Walsh’ Captured In Mexico

Authorities confirm former fugitive, Leticia Smith was extradited from Mexico to California. Smith will face charges for allegedly killing her husband, Antione Smith.

Police Continue Search For Relisha Rudd, Who Was 8 When She Vanished In 2014

‘I have days when I think she's alive. I have days when I think she's no longer with us,’ says Henderson Long of D.C.’s Missing Voices.